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Don from the San Francisco Bay Area was kind enough to share his recent story of renting out his spare rooms.  He initially contacted me a few months ago about some questions or hesitations about renting out his spare rooms room.  After some advice from me, he took the plunge and rented out not one, but two rooms.  It’s been a few months since he took the plunge and he’s here today to share his story.


Here’s Don:

I’m a fairly hard worker, with hours ranging from 65-80 a week I was rarely ever home, and with 2 extra rooms unoccupied some valuable space was going untouched.  Fast forward 2 years when I found myself during the Holidays with family, the normal “how have you been” and “what have you been up to” conversations sparked up and the question finally popped up, “so what’re you doing with those 2 empty rooms?” One of my cousins brought up to me that those 2 unused rooms could be bringing me some income, I was very reluctant because not only did I not like strangers being in my house, but it was hard for me to trust others around my belongings, the belongings that I’ve worked so hard for.  The fact that I can have an added source of income appealed to me so I delved into this further, and to my amazement it’s something that would benefit me in the future. I stumbled on Mike’s blog and it really opened my eyes, I found a site where I can actually relate.  I decided to email Mike on a whim , not expecting to hear a response but maybe he could give me some insight on my situation. A few emails later and I decided that I would give it a try, worse comes to worse I can have one month’s mortgage paid for and I’ll have my space back if things don’t work out.


I decided to put a straight forward and honest listing up on craigslist, I was specifically looking for renters, not house/roommates.  I understand that some people want relationships and friendships, but with all of my outside obligations I didn’t see it possible for me to create any other social relationships when I was at home.  The phone calls came in hard and fast, being in the Bay Area, real estate is a valuable commodity.  I based my rent on the local listings and made it competitive. Little did I know that most of the renters out there were just supplying a “room” not a home. My house is a home, I’ve remodeled it to my liking and as comfortable as can be with many of the homely amenities. I went into the process with an open mind but also having some very strict requirements ( requirements that wouldn’t interfere with my professional or personal life), I know I had to find renters who were hard working, clean, respectful of personal space/belongings AND renters who I can trust with my GF (who is also living with me). I did the normal prescreening over the phone, thankfully my human resources background came into play to help me prescreen the prospective renters.


I narrowed it down to the 2 renters who I thought would mesh well with me and my

lifestyle, they were far from whom I had expected. One is a new resident to our country and was given the opportunity to become a citizen, the other is a hardworking senior making his way through life, 2 very far on the spectrum, but we all coexist fine. The renters are the closest thing to exactly what I’ve wanted , they’re clean, quiet, and hard working.  They pay rent on time and very much have their own lives.

This might possibly have been one of the best chances that I’ve taken, I was the last person to be comfortable with renting out a room, but at the same time I’m also the person who will fully immerse myself before making a decision, because you know what they say about assumptions… It’s been about 3 full months now and I couldn’t be happier, the changes I’ve made in my life have been very minimal but the financial tradeoff has been highly beneficial.


Thanks Don for sharing your story.  I hope that someone in his position can relate to his position and are inspired to be more assertive in renting out their spare room.  I’d like to point out that if you keep worst case scenarios as a constant reason why you shouldn’t rent out a room, you’re unlikely to keep yourself from renting out a room, thus possibly preventing you from realizing the other end of the spectrum.


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