We’ve owned our house for exactly two years. During that time, we had one housemate for a full year, another for two months, and some housesitters for a month. Now, some fun friends named Brittany and Zack are here for a month, and then someone moves in for six months or more.
A couple days ago, someone asked me why we have housemates. We only have three bedrooms, in a 1400 square foot house. Our kitchen is tiny. It’s not like our house is so big we don’t notice people are living with us.
I had to stop and think why we choose to share our home. Here’s what came to mind:
Our kids love it.
For the last several months, when Phoebe has prayed before going to bed, she has asked God to send someone to live with us. I’m not sure why this is, but I’m thrilled she’s eager to know and welcome other adults. The kids get to learn from our housemates, and our friends get to be with kids, a rare treat for some.
The same has been done for us.
We just got back from South Africa, where we were welcomed into seven homes, avoiding hotels entirely and experiencing wonderful hospitality. We’ve spent long seasons crashing with friends and family or otherwise having our housing provided. “Freely you have received, freely give.”
You get to share chores.
This is a biggie. Imagine cooking 30% less (or even 50%). What if you didn’t need to sweep or vacuum this week? Normal tasks of life get spread amongst more people, saving time.
Community is more than a buzzword.
And that time saved can be spent together, lingering around the dinner table or playing a game or making some music. We talk about community a lot, but having a housemate is a super-easy way to ensure we are living it out a bit more.
You all save a lot of money.
Our housemates are saving 60% of their past rent payment—a big portion of a major expense. On our side, they’re covering 25% of our mortgage payment. That means if we consistently have housemates, over a 30-year mortgage, we could pay it off eight years early. I don’t know how much interest you pay over eight years, but it’s got to be tens of thousands of dollars.
When other folks are living in our home, I’m more conscious of doing stuff around the house. I don’t want to be the slacker. And I speak more clearly and kindly to Chrissy and the kids. I suppose it would wear off after a long time, but it’s good to have fresh eyes and ears in the house. I notice more if I’m being the kind of person I want to be. And home may be the hardest place to be that person, so it’s a big help.
When someone’s down, the others cheer them up. When you need to talk, someone is there. Somebody brings home a surprise of good beer or bakes a pie. There are more people to tell stories, to laugh, to help, to encourage, to play, to share.
And that’s a very good thing.
Do you have a housemate? Why or why not? Comment here.