7 Reasons to Have Housemates

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.

20130808-214554.jpgA couple days ago, someone asked me why we have housemates. We only have three bedrooms, in a 1400 square foot house and a couch from Exquisite Living in the living room. 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.

Accountability increases.

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.

It’s fun.

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.

 

  • http://logicandimagination.com Melody Hanson

    The introverts cringe. But the part of me that always longs to “belong” really likes this. My friends Junko and Allen (now in Honolulu, formerly of Madison) have done this their whole married life. I do envy them for all the things you mentioned.

    • acjeske

      Thanks, Melody. Maybe try something short-term?

  • http://www.fadedprincessdreams.blogspot.com Anissa

    Thanks! We just had someone come to stay with us for a few weeks and another coming next week! We are newly married and are so happy to be in a place where we can say YES to letting people be with us! A lot of people have looked at us like we’re crazy, but we know there’s a lot of value in it and are so happy to live life WITH people.

    Thanks for the reminder that a) we aren’t crazy & b) there’s so much value in community.

    Consider me encouraged.

    • acjeske

      Anissa, I’m so glad you are encouraged!

  • Helyn

    this is the first time in our 11 years of marriage we haven’t had a housemate. it’s good we are taking a break, but it is a major adjustment. another good reason to have a housemate? it keeps your kitchen and other shared space cleaner :)

    • acjeske

      So true, Helyn! Bathrooms, too. I feel embarrassed if stuff gets too gross, of course, but we also tend to make a schedule for cleaning responsibilities and stick to it if we have housemates…

  • Pierre Queripel

    Someone once told me that many who marry fairly late in life after a period of living alone find it quite difficult to adjust to married life. The reason suggested was that when living on your own it is easy to get away with being self-absorbed. Living by yourself, you have more freedom to choose when to be a servant and when to be self-serving. I suggested to my small group, consisting mainly of single people, that having house mates can be a healthy thing from this perspective.

    • acjeske

      Fascinating, Pierre. I have seen people with difficulty in that adjustment, for sure.

  • http://www.samlimaarchitecture.blogspot.com Sam

    My wife and I bought a 3 bedroom house from the ’20s last summer and decided to share it with a friend that was looking for a place to live. It’s been a wonderful experience! Like any relationship where others get to see your dirty laundry (in this case, literally), it helps build character, patience, humility, good habits, and interpersonal skills. We’re going to be adding another housemate later this month, which is exciting! We have met a lot of great people through our housemate and enjoy having a house where people feel comfortable spending time.

    One of the funny consequences of having a housemate is the following conversation: Me at a random social event: “Nice to meet you, I’m Sam.” Other person: “Oh, you’re Sam! I was over at your house the other day!”

  • Marjon

    What I really like about sharing a house is that people bring in a new set of hobbies, likes, dislikes, interests, strengths. It gives food for thought and for interesting conversations. I like it especially when they have or do something that I absolutely love (like making music) but cannot do myself. My house mates do enrich my life.

    • acjeske

      Yes! Too bad we shared your home but not at the same time!

  • http://agapesantos.wordpress.com Laura

    We share our spare bedroom every chance we get. So far, two different students have inhabited that room for different periods of time. I envision converting our basement into a space that can easily be a little studio apartment when folks need it, or opened back up as a work/play space when we don’t have ‘mates’. I also envision hosting missionary couples and families who need time and space to recharge, or recover, from the very demanding emotional and spiritual challenges of missionary life. And maybe even to offer them more than a place, but a little extra grace in order to fully experience Father’s love and the ministry of the Holy Spirit.

  • Stacy Rafferty

    Love this!! Couldn’t agree more. We are getting ready to have three housemates and are so excited!

  • http://jessicafick.com Jess Fick

    good stuff! we’ve had students live with us over the years and it’s been great. The only awkward thing is when your cat nudges it’s way into the only bathroom to visit one of those housemates who thought they had some privacy. We’re hoping to have someone live with us here in CLE.

  • Emma

    My husband and I recently bought a house with a finished apartment in the basement. We invited a friend to move in, and then a few weeks ago my brother moved into one of the spare bedrooms upstairs. People have treated me like I’m crazy for sharing my home with others. Thanks for a very encouraging post!