Author Topic: How much to charge for room & board?  (Read 4108 times)

LinLin

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How much to charge for room & board?
« on: November 27, 2017, 02:42:54 PM »
My first day here and I have TWO questions! Hope that's OK.

Over the past 20 years we've hosted around 20 foreign exchange students (summer, semester, and full year). We were thinking that as part of our mustachian journey, we would rent room and board in our home to an international university student starting with the spring 2018 semester.

I contacted the Office of International Services at NC State in Raleigh (the closest university to us), and they said they'r put out the word to their students, though they think one of their visiting scholars might be a better fit (older, no daily classes, probably own a car). They asked me to send them an email with all the details...including cost.

I'm really not sure what we should charge. All our experiences with hosting exchange students have been on a volunteer basis. Last year we hosted a male dancer for a few months and his family paid us $600 per month...but man could that kid eat, and he had some habits that were pretty expensive (like washing and drying his dance clothes every single day). Not sure we even broke even on that situation.

Here are some details, if it helps:

We have a guest room with a trundle bed, nice dresser and side table, large recliner, and good-sized closet. The renter would have access to a shared full bath and their own parking space. We would provide food/meals. (We don't cook every meal...sometimes, for example lunches, we just grab something out of the fridge.) We also supply heat, electricity, water, and WiFi. Common spaces like the living room, kitchen, dining room, and screened in porch are shared. The renter would pay their own entertainment, special food, clothing, and so on.

We live maybe 20 minutes from the university, in a small (1,800-sf or so) house that's very clean, bright, and sunny. We have an almost-9-year-old boy who gets along great with pretty much everyone, and three friendly indoor/outdoor cats. We live next door to a school playground that we're allowed to use when school is not in session, including the track. We're just a 10-minute (.5-mile) walk from downtown.

The renter would need to keep their room and bathroom clean, and I'd expect they would help out with keeping the rest of the house clean, too. (In other words, I'm not picking up after someone else's mess, and wouldn't mind a little help with light chores like emptying the dishwasher, vacuuming, etc.) The renter would do their own laundry, but I would wash their bed linens and towels with the rest of the family's. Also, we do travel overseas once or twice in the spring, and I'd be happy to reduce rent for those months if the renter took care of our cats whole we're away.

So, pretty much like a foreign exchange student situation, except it's not free. :) Is what I'm suggesting even a thing? Any suggestions on how much you would charge? My gut tells me $800 per month, but that's based on absolutely nothing. (All the posts I find online with this question are referring to charging an adult child rent...and I don't see any room and board offers on our local Craigslist for comparison.)

Thanks so much for any direction anyone can give me!
« Last Edit: November 27, 2017, 02:56:39 PM by LinLin »

Ann

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Re: How much to charge for room & board?
« Reply #1 on: November 27, 2017, 02:56:33 PM »
Can you look on Craigslist and university postings in your area for what others are charging in your city?  That might give you a baseline.  Sorry, beyond that I don't know.  If you want help with household chores I would be VERY specific.  Are they responsible for just their own dishes or expected to do the family's dishes once a week?  Mowing the yard?  How often?  Would they get a reprieve during finals?  But sounds like that part you are familiar with -- the dynamic would be different if you are charging people, though.

LinLin

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Re: How much to charge for room & board?
« Reply #2 on: November 27, 2017, 03:00:00 PM »
Thanks, Ann! I didn't see any room/board listings in our local Craigslist for comparison. You reminded me, though, I DID check how much that university charges for room and board. On-campus room and board is about 10,635 per year, and I'm assuming that would be for two semesters (around 10 months)...so around $1k per month. I guess I'd want to be competitive with that, so perhaps $8-900 per month is the way to go. I have the disadvantage of not being on campus...but the advantage of not being on campus. :)

You are so right about being very clear on expectations. I'd feel weird hashing this all out at the beginning, but it beats the heck out of being resentful later.

Thanks again!

stoaX

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Re: How much to charge for room & board?
« Reply #3 on: November 27, 2017, 03:22:16 PM »
Is the $800 - $900 amount you're thinking of competitive with studio or 1 bedroom apartments in the area?   That's another data point to inform your decision making.

LinLin

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Re: How much to charge for room & board?
« Reply #4 on: November 27, 2017, 04:55:19 PM »
Hi, stoaX! Yes, local apartments without board or utilities start at around $700. I set a price of $850 and explained my calculations, and asked the personal at the international services office to let me know if that seems reasonable. Thanks to you and Ann for your advice!

MayDay

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Re: How much to charge for room & board?
« Reply #5 on: November 27, 2017, 05:52:13 PM »
850 seems like a lot if an apartment is 700. The apartment is not shared space. Maybe if they didn't have to share a bathroom and drive 20 minutes to school, but honestly I doubt many students want to live 20 minutes from campus.


lhamo

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Re: How much to charge for room & board?
« Reply #6 on: November 27, 2017, 07:01:59 PM »
I think you may find that visiting scholars are eager for this type of setup.  I used to work on the sending side with many visiting scholars from China, and they often preferred a homestay because it gave them more opportunities to see real family life and improve their conversational English (most had good literary skills and listening comprehension, but speaking clearly and fluently was more of a challenge).

Good luck finding a good match!

11ducks

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Re: How much to charge for room & board?
« Reply #7 on: November 27, 2017, 11:41:29 PM »
Why don't you call the uni and ask if they can send you out the list of advertisements that they currently have? That way you can compare your amenities to others out there and see what others are charging?

frugaliknowit

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Re: How much to charge for room & board?
« Reply #8 on: November 28, 2017, 09:58:12 AM »
850 seems like a lot if an apartment is 700. The apartment is not shared space. Maybe if they didn't have to share a bathroom and drive 20 minutes to school, but honestly I doubt many students want to live 20 minutes from campus.

+1

You need to be more competitive.   $850 is A LOT for a student.  He/she can have privacy for $700...
20 minutes from campus!!! 
« Last Edit: November 28, 2017, 09:59:47 AM by frugaliknowit »

mcneally

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Re: How much to charge for room & board?
« Reply #9 on: November 28, 2017, 10:39:44 AM »
I'm not sure how to factor in food, but without that what you should be comparing to is the 'rooms/ shared' section of craigslist. If a one bedroom apartment goes for $700 + utilities, a room in a shared house would probably go for around $500 including utilities. 850 may not be too far off if you're providing most of their meals.

Agree that 20 minutes is a long way from campus for most students.

bmiles62

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Re: How much to charge for room & board?
« Reply #10 on: November 28, 2017, 10:45:01 AM »
I live in Greensboro, NC and host International High School students through a company called New Oasis. We have hosted two students for the past 4 years and get $1,100 a month for each student so $2200 per month in total for 10 months out of the year. ($22,000 a year.) They go home for Christmas and of course go home for two months in the summer. We love it. We are responsible for their room and board and we do have to take them places on occasion. My wife and I are actually looking to move to Raleigh to be closer to family and New Oasis works with three private High Schools there in Raleigh. I know hosting High School students is more responsibility since they cannot drive but we have found all of them to be hard workers in school and very respectful of our time. We do have it made because we live right next to the High School that they go to which makes it very easy since they can walk home from school events. Check out their partner schools in Raleigh. Maybe there is one near you. https://newoasisedu.com/high-school-network-program/list-of-partner-schools/

LinLin

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Re: How much to charge for room & board?
« Reply #11 on: November 28, 2017, 11:19:22 AM »
Thanks, all! I did some thinking last night and MayDay's post came in right around that time. I agreed...$850 does seem like a lot, so I wrote back to the department and changed the rent to $700 per month. I/the student would have to weigh the pros and cons of not having an apartment all to themselves and living 20 minutes from campus, against board, utilities, and a friendly family. :) This seems about right to me, so we'll see.

We're also not locked into any of this. We could always change our minds if the results aren't what we hoped.

bmiles62, very interesting! We've enjoyed (mostly) having exchange students, but it always COST us money, and we never realized how much until we started the mustachian way this past September. I've heard there are some orgs that pay, where the students go to private school and need to be driven to school. I'll have to check into this company. The sad thing is, I'm friends with the woman who runs the org we've hosted through the last couple years. I hate to go elsewhere, but we just can't afford this kind of volunteering right now.

I'll post back if/when I get a reply from the university. Thanks again!