We’ve all seen the headlines, and many of us are experiencing it directly: what many call a ‘jobless recovery’ is driving everyone from newly minted college graduates to seasoned career professionals to move in with family members to make ends meet. A recent Time Magazine survey found that as many as 85% of college grads are moving back in with Mom and Dad.
What these findings indicate is that though the economy is making a recovery, it’s not getting better quickly. It could be quite a while before things are as they were and people are back on their feet financially. One way to help save money is to consider renting a place with or from a family member. Doing so can cut back not only on the cost of rent, but, if you’re sharing a place, on the costs of food, utilities and entertainment as well. Though there are many benefits to renting with family, there are some downsides to consider as well before you take the plunge and agree to shack up with siblings, cousins or parents.
One of the main benefits to renting with or from family is that it can help save a lot of money on rent. If you don’t mind living in close quarters, it’s much more affordable to split a larger apartment with a family member than it is for each of you to rent your own, smaller places. If a family member is renting out a place that they own, they may also be willing to help out by offering the place at a reduced rate. Just remember not to go too far below the fair value for family as this can create a lot of strain on a relationship.
Another benefit of renting a place along with family members is that it can help save money on other expenses. Food can be shared and meals prepared together, which can allow people to buy food in bulk; something that can save quite a bit of money. Splitting the cost of utilities, especially when it comes to things like garbage or cable that have a flat rate, can also help save money. Family members that live together can save on entertainment by planning to do things together such as watching videos, playing games or staying in to enjoy each other’s company instead of going out and spending money.
But its not all fun and saving money when you’re living with family. In many cases, family members that lived together when they were kids could find the same issues rearing up again as adults. Make sure you have a plan for how to deal with conflicts when they arise. With a roommate, a bad conflict can lead to hurt feelings that will end the relationship permanently as soon as one or the other moves out. With family, you want to make sure you deal with issues early so that there is no resentment that damages such an important relationship.
If you’re leasing from a family member you’ll want to rely on all the same legal documentation that a non-family member would expect. Don’t play it by ear just because you’re renting to or from family; if there are problems that come up later, they could cause huge rifts between family members. Though it may feel strange to hold a family member to a legal document, the discomfort setting this up at the beginning is nothing compared to the trouble that can arise if legal matters need to be taken to into the courts.
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