Thursday, October 14, 2010

To Share or Not to Share?

Well, first of all, yesterday was my birthday.  HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO ME!  I am now a quarter of a century old (25 for those of you who are bad at math), which as my mom continues to remind me, makes me an antique (at least if I'm a car).  I have yet to remind her that she's 35 years older than I, so that must make her a relic.  :P  Just kidding, Mom.  You know I love you!

Anyway, while we we were all gathering together last night to go out for a birthday dinner, Hans got a call.  A few weeks ago, one of his friends / coworkers asked if we might rent out a room in our house to his girlfriend...someone we've never met.  I'm not exactly certain of the story, but if I'm not mistaken her roommate moved out and now she can't afford the rent (I could have that completely wrong, but that's the story I remember).  It came up a few weeks ago, but then we thought she had made arrangements with another coworker.  Turns out, that coworker already rented out her room.

So what do you think?  Should we rent out a room?  I've provided a list of pros and cons.

 1) Extra cash.  Money's a little tighter since I left WEE shop, and the extra cash couldn't hurt.  Maybe Hans and I could buy some decorations, or go out to dinner, or just put it into savings.

2) A reason and a person to keep at least 2 rooms a little cleaner.  We wouldn't have to worry about the guest room or the guest bathroom.

3) This one may never happen, but we could become fast friends and how cool would it be to have a buddy who lives with us?  Ok, so this is almost certainly out of the realm of possibility, but I still like to stay positive.

 1) It's another person in our house.  We wouldn't have nearly as much alone time, and we'd have to be a lot more understand of another person's needs.
2) Hans does work with her boyfriend.  What if we hated her?  How would that affect his friendship and working relationship?

3) She'd have to REALLY like dogs and cats.  Allergies aren't really something that would work well for someone coming to live with us.

4) I don't know anything about her?  Is she nice?  Shallow?  Hard working?  Lazy?  Considerate?  Selfish?  I have no idea!

Part of me is really tempted to say yes.  I think back to my college roommate, Jackie, and to how much I loved living with her.  But then, I also think as to how much life has changed in the past three years, and I'm pretty sure we'd end up killing each other now.  Although, I could be wrong.  Jackie and I were really good about communicating, and we're still good friends.  I think we've both just gotten used to having separate living arrangements.

Then, I also wonder how certain things would work out.  Would she get the big room or the small room?  Would we let her decide based on how much rent she wanted to pay?  Would we treat the room as "her room" and let her do whatever in that room (except smoke.  Smoking is not allowed anywhere on the property), or would we set stict ground rules?  How shared things work out?  Who has control over the thermostat?  How would the kitchen arrangement work out?  Would we all share meals, or would we prepare them separately?  If we prepare separately, that's more electricity and more space used in the fridge.  If we share meals, who buys the groceries?

I know, it should not be this complicated, but I'm trying to think of every little thing that could be a potential conflict.  I'd like to bring it up from the get go. 

Hans and I are still talking about it, and I wish we had chatted a bit more before he left for work this morning.  But, now I'm asking your opinion.  What do you think? 


  1. Go out to dinner with her and talk about it over food and wine! ;)

    Opening up your home to a relative-stranger would mean a huge change for awhile. And you're right about the animals. She would have to be 100% ok with that. You would be doing her a favor so the ball really is in your court. It would be in her best interest to be as accommodating to YOU as possible, so it would probably work out fine. And it's short-term, right? I think you guys really should sit down over a meal and talk openly about it. It's better to be up-front with your concerns right away than to bite your tongue and have to deal with the consequences later!

  2. I'd be sure to have well defined boundaries...what is her responsibility to clean, does she contribute to utitilies, what is shared space and what is not, etc.

    And I'd want to meet her ahead of time.

  3. Whatever you decide, put it all in writing. Do a credit check and get references. Interview her as you would a potential worker. I've had good and bad luck over the years with roommates I didn't know beforehand.

  4. I vote against the grain on this one. As tempting as the extra cash may be you guys haven't been in the house that long and it is your first one. I think you should enjoy it together without having to worry about a roommate. When she was coming and going, all the points you made above about groceries. What is she isn't as tidy as you would prefer. What if she loves animals but doesn't interact with them the same way you would.