Home-sharing trend brings recession relief to homeowners and renters alike


(BPT) - Many people dealing with today’s recession are taking steps to financial recovery that bring to mind the resourcefulness of their counterparts during the Great Depression. One of those is home-sharing, which is increasingly bringing together families, friends and even strangers in an effort to cut costs or make some extra money. Just as they did in the 1930s and 1940s, Americans today show a generosity of spirit that has become our trademark in tight times. In fact, more than 76 percent of homeowners or renters who were forced to move because of foreclosure have been welcomed into the homes of family or friends, according to a study by the National Coalition for the Homeless. And roommate listings are up 65 percent on Craigslist in the past year, says Susan MacTavish Best, spokesperson for the national online classified ad site. Temporarily renting a room can help someone save enough money to get back on one's feet. At the same time, by opening their doors to boarders, cash-strapped homeowners can generate a new-found source of income. Making Room for Housemates To make home sharing work, privacy is critical. As more homeowners open their homes, many will remodel for new housemates. Installing an additional bathroom makes home sharing a much more practical solution for the short-term. Just as importantly, a new bathroom provides a proven, long-term return on homeowner investment. A recession may not seem like the best time to invest in your home. But smart remodeling helps maintain your residence, while boosting its value -- better positioning you to capitalize when the market turns around. According to Remodeling Magazine’s 2008-2009 “Cost vs. Value” report, a bathroom addition recoups nearly 65 percent of the investment. Small wonder then that bathrooms are the second most popular residential remodeling job, according to the National Association of Home Builders. Keeping Your Bathroom Addition Low-cost If you’re ready to add a bathroom to your home, be aware that you can save time and money by using an above-floor, macerating plumbing system. This type of product eliminates the need for costly excavation to create below-floor drainage. The unique macerating technology offered by SFA Saniflo Inc. makes it inexpensive to put a new bathroom anywhere in your home -- including the basement. “Above-floor plumbing saves my customers an average of $1,000, and that’s on the low side,” says plumber Mike Sikorski of East Taunton, Mass. Sikorski recently installed Saniflo in a basement bath addition of a customer who needed to make room to accommodate a parent. Sikorski says installation of an above-floor plumbing system for half a bath or in a finished room typically takes just half a day. Full baths can take a day and a half. But either way, the savings are substantial. Because there’s no need to dig underground drainage lines, a macerating toilet can be positioned right on top of virtually any floor in a home. Placement options include the basement, which is typically situated below drainage lines to the sewer or septic tank. With Saniflo, waste and water are efficiently pumped upward into these lines. “I recommend above-floor for all my basement baths now,” Sikorski adds. “It’s a ‘cut-and-dry’ installation, and there are no surprises.” Opening Your Home is a Big Step Here are some additional tips to keep the transition a smooth one: * Rental Agreement: Even with family, it’s a good idea to have a formal agreement that spells out rent, house rules and chores. * Homeowner’s Insurance: Check with your insurance agency to determine if you need additional coverage. * IRS: You may be able to deduct all or part of your bathroom addition installation costs, but you may also need to report the rental income. Contact a tax adviser or visit www.irs.gov. * Rights and Responsibilities of Co-Owners: The National Association of Housing Cooperatives has posted a great deal of helpful information on cooperative home ownership. Visit the Web site: www.coophousing.org Learn more about low-cost, above-floor bathroom systems by visiting www.saniflo.com or calling (800) 571-8191. Courtesy of ARAcontent