Rural House

Home sharing

Tracey Columns

Dear Tracey,

Did you happen to see the piece on television recently, about older women buying real estate and moving in together for economic, care taking, and companionship reasons? (Sorry, I don’t know which program it was.) 

Isn’t this is a wonderful idea? My best friend and I are thinking of doing something like this. We have both been alone for many years, all of our children have moved away, and we both watch our finances. (We’re retired.) We have traveled together for years and just get along so well. 

We’re smart enough to know that mixing friendship with business can be problematic so we wonder if you can help us with a couple of things:

How do we set up something like this legally? The women in this piece were creating some kind of contract or agreement. What should we include in ours? 

How do we convince some of our children that this is a good idea? Two kids in particular are balking, saying it would be “weird” to come for visits and have another person living there. Frankly, we happen to think their attitude is a little ‘weird” because the kids have practically all grown up with each other over the years. You have to know that this sentiment is coming from our youngest children who seem to have flown the nest but we wonder if they still want a safety net of being able to move home if things get too tough?)  


Best Friends

Dear Readers,

While I didn’t see the particular television show you are referring to, I am very familiar with the concept you describe. It’s a brilliant solution for some people, if  they prepare well and enter into the agreement with their eyes wide open. You two seem well on your way to a successful endeavor.

Many older people are discovering the benefits of sharing a home with a friend. The companionship is provides is obvious but this kind of arrangement cuts down on expenses and divvies up the many household chores. People also report feeling much safer than when they were living alone.

You are smart to realize that a hammering out a legal agreement is the only way to go! In addition to a lawyer, you both need to confer with your accountants and/or financial planners. All of these professionals, and their objective perspectives, will help you identify what is necessary to protect both of you. 

Take your time with this process and don’t shy away from any detail, no matter how small or trivial it may feel. (These are often the exact things that begin to get under our skin!) The more you have things out in the open, the more successful you will be!

After you two have hashed out a workable plan, share as much as you want with your children. Gently remind them that this is your business and ultimately, it will make your later years easier on everyone in both families. Let them know that while you appreciate their interest, you are not asking for their opinions.

As for the kids who are rumbling? Sounds like they may still have a bit of maturing to do. Take the time to address their concerns directly. Let them know that you understand their concerns and you will certainly try to make their visits comfortable. Explain that you two need to take care of your own needs and that you are approaching this as mature, knowledgeable adults. If they persist in complaining, paste a smile on your face and tell them to “back off”!

However, their situation is something for you to consider. The number of young people who need to move back home is at an all time high. Realistically, how will you two handle this issue of one of your children needs this kind of assistance? 

Remember, the agreement you two develop needs to be very detailed. Please don’t leave anything up to chance to insure that both of you have a wonderfully positive experience. 

Please, keep me posted!

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