We might be dating ourselves but there was a show on TV in the early 70’s called “The Odd Couple.” It was based on a 1968 movie by the same name starring Walter Matthau and Jack Lemmon.  The premise behind both the movie and the show was how two people of quite disparate natures nevertheless found a way to get along quite well. This leads directly into our blog topic about opening your home to housemates – what kind of a roommate would you be, and what kind of roommate would you look for, if you were living in a shared housing arrangement?

You might recall that the character Felix was a “neat freak” both fastidious and uncompromising. On the other hand, Oscar was pretty much just a big slob. It’s probably safe to say that a senior, entering into any kind of shared living arrangement, is not going to want to find themselves in a similar situation. Finding like-minded folks to share space with is one of the most important contributors to the success of shared living arrangements. Chances are you’ll want to cohabitate with people who feel the same way you do about levels of cleanliness, noise, cooking arrangements, a policy on guests and even things like décor, plants and pets. That’s why today we’re looking at “Things to consider when you consider shared housing.”

Perhaps in your younger years you had a chance to attend university and live on campus. If you did, chances are you filled out some type of survey to help the school determine the best possible match for you in terms of potential roommates. Golden Girls Canada suggests you take this same approach to finding persons with whom to cohabitate. Start by asking both yourself and any potential “roomies” these types of questions.

“Things to consider when you consider shared housing.”

  • Am I comfortable sharing cooking time or should meals be prepared separately? Am I willing to have shared meals where you plan, prep and eat together?
  • Do I grocery shop for myself only or will we share grocery expenses and responsibilities?
  • Will there be shared living spaces like a living room or dining room or do I prefer a private “suite” within a shared home?
  • What level of clutter and what kind of clutter am I comfortable living with? For example – are piles of books and newspapers acceptable but piles of dirty dishes are not?
  • Will there be a TV in the shared living space?
  • When visitors come what are the rules?
  • Are guests allowed to sleepover?
  • Will there be rules around grandchildren visiting and/or staying?
  • Can we agree on mutual times for things like “quiet time,” “lights out in common areas,” or “early morning news programming?” Will those times change on weekends vs. weekdays?
  • Who cleans the toilets? (This is a big one!) Will you share household duties or hire someone to do them for you?
  • Will you share gardening, snow shoveling and outdoor responsibilities or hire someone?
  • How will you divide the household expenses – by predetermining a rental amount that covers all costs or by sharing the monthly bills as they come in?
  • What is the position of each housemate on pets? Are there allergies to take into consideration?

You get the idea. There is a lot to consider when you consider sharing a space with someone. These are just a few examples of the kinds of questions you might want to ask – of both yourself and any potential housemate. We’re certain you’ll likely think of many others. Even concerns such as parking should be discussed.  If two or more folks living in the home still drive a vehicle, you’ll have to discuss rules around who gets the driveway, the use of the garage (if you have one) and whether street parking is available and who parks where.

The Odd Couple made it work. Somehow, their differences were enough to actually complement one another and when they didn’t get along – it was great comedy. But this is real life and you’ll want to be sure that you and any future housemates have anticipated (and thereby, hopefully avoided) any potential for conflict. By being open, honest and transparent through the process of getting to know one another prior to agreeing to a shared housing arrangement, and by obtaining sound legal advice, you’ll decrease the odds that you will be “at odds” with one another! There are several books on the topic of shared housing listed here on our website Golden Girls Canada and we encourage you to find out more about the shared housing options that are available to you by registering with Golden Girls Canada today.


“Live life like it’s Golden!”

Golden Girls Canada is owned and operated by Golden HomeSharing Connections

Home-mate matching services for seniors by accredited seniors real estate specialist (SRES) Dorothy Mazeau!