Are you one of the 25m people in the country with one or more spare bedrooms?
I certainly was following my two boys leaving home after finishing University. For a (very) short while, I fantasised about leaving the rooms vacant to enable my friends and family living abroad to have a place to stay while visiting London. Sadly, that was shortlived when the reality of my financial situation hit home following my decision to transition my career and start a new business. Like many other homeowners my age (I’m 58), owning a home is wonderful while struggling to pay for it is not.
Choosing to host the rooms on Airbnb, I mostly enjoyed the motley crew of travellers that passed through my house for two years until the constant changing of sheets and towels became tiresome. It was then that I met a friend of a friend seeking long-term accommodation and within four weeks I found myself with a flat-mate.
The last time I’d live with someone outside of friends and family was back in my twenties and I certainly never imagined myself doing it in my fifties. Nearly two years since Ameet moved in, I have discovered the benefits of sharing my home are far more than the financial freedom which it partly provides me. My flatmate and I share similar interests, often cook meals for each other and are fast friends. The difference is that with age comes the ability for us both to be clear on our boundaries, to give each other space to enjoy our other personal relationships and respect our differences.
When my partner Bob wanted to move into London, I suggested he find a similar shared home in which to live. It was then I discovered the challenge of helping to find a 62-year-old man a new home. Websites created for flat sharers were universally aimed at much younger people and the places we saw were dismal and unaccommodating for an older man. Being a person who likes to find solutions to problems, I decided to create a website aimed at making it easier for older homeowners to find long-term home-mates and vice versa and Silver Sharers was born!
We launched in September and thanks to being featured in the Guardian recently and the Evening Standard, we’ve been inundated with offers of spare rooms and those seeking accommodation. I truly believe that sharing a home, when you’re older, is a blueprint for how many of us will live in the future, especially as it becomes nearly impossible for so many to jump on the housing ladder. Our service is simple – we send out a weekly newsletter featuring the latest rooms and prospective tenants get in touch, via me, to be matched for compatibility and put in touch with the homeowner. If you’re a Silversurfer who has a room to rent or are looking for a new home (or simply curious!), please sign up at silversharers.com.