How to have a happy house share
August 26, 2014
Rhiannon Birch, Storage, Household and Removal expert at Storage Boost Crewe, gives her tips on how to avoid a house-share from hell, after she joined the co-habiting craze.
With everyone feeling the pinch recently, a great deal of people have decided to rent out their spare room. Rhiannon Birch, Storage, Household and Removal expert at Storage Boost Crewe, gives her tips on how to avoid a house-share from hell, after she joined the co-habiting craze.
Step one – Make sure it is what you want.
Extra money is always handy but some people prefer their own company. It is a big commitment and if you really treasure your alone time it may not be for you. You will have to be prepared to compromise and expect to have less privacy. However, you may find the extra company a very welcoming perk. Don’t imagine you will both be best friends from day one, it will take time. It’s easy to see your house as being only yours as that’s what you’ve been used to. However if you do choose to let out the spare room things have to change and you have to remember that your new tenant has just as much right to lounge around your house as you. It may help you sleep easier knowing you’re not alone in the house at night anymore but will you still be sleeping easily if they blast heavy metal music in the dead of night? You should write a list of pros and cons and really think about whether you could adjust.
Step two – Consider your options
You like the sound of it but don’t want the commitment of having a permanent tenant? If you live in a city or in an area that attracts tourists you may be able to use your spare room as a hotel room. This can generate a bit of extra cash but it’s not a regular income. This gives you more flexibility and you could even rent out the whole house while you are on holiday. You can list your room on websites like https://www.airbnb.co.uk/ which allows you to build a profile for your room and people who stay with you can leave reviews. It may be worth looking at the other rooms in your area that are available for hire so you can make sure you are requesting a reasonable price.
Step three – Decide on a price.
Financially having a lodger can make your life a lot more comfortable for you and it’s also worth remembering that lodgers may split the bills with you. Decide whether you are going to ask for a set all inclusive rate, bills and rent, or if you’d like to have the rent and bills separate. If they pay an all-inclusive rate you can’t ask for more if you have a very large bill. However if the payments are based on the rent and bills separately, you can split it 50/50 but it would become a lot more confusing. They would have to alter the payments at the bank every month and this could take more time and cause additional agro. You must be realistic. Sit back and think how much you would pay for the room. Bear in mind you can be taxed on the rental income if it is over a certain amount. Decide whether you’d like to receive payment weekly, four-weekly or monthly and also decide on a method of payment. Cash is often favourable but setting up a direct debit can save you from having to awkwardly remind them when the payments are due. You also need to decide on how much the deposit should be. Deposits are usually the same as a month’s rent. It is definitely worth putting the money into a separate bank account as it could easily be forgotten and spent if it is put into your main current account.
Step four – Redecorate
Make the most out of your spare room by returning the décor to neutral. You rarely see houses on the market with bright coloured walls and in one sense you are trying to sell your home to prospective lodgers. People like to see a blank canvas that they feel they could make their own. You can make the process of redecorating so much easier by using one of our storage units to empty the room first. We only have a 7 day minimum period so you are not tied into anything long-term and it could make decorating easier. It also removes the risk of damaging anything. Try to make sure that all decorating is done perfectly as paint droplets on the carpet and wobbly lines around the ceiling aren’t very appealing.
Step five – Clear out
Although you may love the hand-made tapestry your Aunt Flo gave you, others however may not see the appeal. Personal items and photographs need to be removed, at least from the bedroom if not the whole house. Remember to pack everything really well because if things go well, your lodger may stay with you for years. We stock a range of packaging materials from bubble wrap to boxes at discounted prices. You’ll also need to de-clutter everywhere. If you have a bookcase why not clear a few shelves for the lodger? Same with the kitchen cupboards? It’s a welcoming gesture and allows them to feel more like one of the family. In the Crewe, Stafford and Chester branches of Storage Boost we have large locker units that are perfect for boxes and are only £5 per week.
Step six – A good advert
Don’t bother with classifieds, it costs money to list in newspapers and you should only use them as a last resort. Try websites like http://www.spareroom.co.uk/ and http://www.roombuddies.co.uk/ . Remember to include plenty of pictures and be very honest. Don’t say you’re letting out a bedroom with a super king sized bed, 50 inch 3D HD TV and a fully stocked beer fridge if it’s just a single bed and a standard TV. They will notice. Instead point out all the positives of the bedroom, north facing window? Beautiful views? Plenty of plug sockets? Point out all the positives of the location too, quiet village? Good transport links? Busy city centre? Near to local industrial estates? Near to local universities? Make sure everything that attracted you to the property when you bought it you repeat to them.
Step seven – Check that you click
Don’t copy Sheldon Cooper from The Big Bang Theory and turn away anyone who whistles. You need to be selective but open-minded. The best way to get a good idea on whether you could live with someone is by getting to know them. Invite them to your house for a coffee and see if you click. Ask lots of questions. Find out about their jobs and families. You’ll kick yourself for not asking earlier if you’re woken every morning at 5am as they return from their night shift or if you plan for a relaxing quiet Sunday afternoon only to find that it’s your lodger’s weekend to look after the kids.
Step eight – The little touches
What do flowers, candles and freshly baked bread have in common? They all help sell houses and the same applies with letting out a room. Fill your house with all the little things that make a big difference. It creates such a welcoming and homely feel. It’s worth investing in some nice scented candles to light before viewings. You only get one chance to make a first impression so make sure it is a good one.
Step nine – Trial month is a must!
So the room’s looking lovely, you’ve met someone you really gel with and the extra money is in your grasp, hold it! Don’t commit to anything yet, you need to test run it. You wouldn’t invite a partner to move in after a single coffee and this is a fairly similar situation. You need to let them know that for at least the first month there’s only a weeks’ notice period. It’s not just beneficial for you but also them. It’s always better to be safe than sorry.
Rhiannon Birch is the Assistant Manager at Storage Boost Crewe.