Author Topic: Am I Insane?  (Read 6201 times)

kkbmustang

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Am I Insane?
« on: August 14, 2012, 09:21:36 PM »
I am new to the MMM family and have spent the last week reading all of the MMM posts and tons of the forum posts and I just had a nut job idea, which makes me think I might be onto something. I want to get your input before I present it to my husband. I'm 38, hubby is 40 and my son is 9 and daughter is 7. I am getting ready to launch a business that will allow me to work from him while the kids are at school. We live in the heart of Dallas, a short drive from SMU (a glut of students needing reasonable living accommodations).

Our house is 2700 square feet, 4 bedrooms, 3 baths.  One bed/bath combo is on the opposite end of the house from the other bedrooms (where my husband, kids and I sleep). A few steps away from the 4th bedroom is what was a small dining room that we converted into an office for me. It has two french doors, gorgeous windows and a sliding door to the kitchen. The 4th bedroom is my husband's current office with a huge closet. The washer/dryer are in the garage.

Am I nuts to consider turning these two rooms into rental rooms for undergrad or grad students? They would each get their own bedroom (one would have to use an armoire instead of a built in closet we would provide) and share a bathroom. They would have access to a washer and dryer. It is about a 10 minute commute to campus. There is also a community college closeby. I would he home with the kids 24/7 and work from home, so fewer securities issues. My office and my husband's office could easily be relocated elsewhere in the house without too much sacrifice. Thoughts?

Thanks.

Another Reader

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Re: Am I Insane?
« Reply #1 on: August 14, 2012, 09:31:40 PM »
I'm not sure students would want to share a house with kids.  And there's the issue of the students bringing home other people.  Where would your tenants park?  If you had separate access from outside and a mini-kitchen, that might be more functional.

kkbmustang

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Re: Am I Insane?
« Reply #2 on: August 14, 2012, 09:38:52 PM »
There's street and driveway/garage parking. Front door access, back door access and garage door access. Shared kitchen.

ShavinItForLater

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Re: Am I Insane?
« Reply #3 on: August 14, 2012, 09:46:05 PM »
I would agree that the kids would present the biggest potential issue.  If your kids are quiet most/all the time it might be fine.  I have two boys 10 and 12 and I can tell you there was never any point in their lives that I would have considered my house quiet enough for college students wanting to study.  You have to also ask how you would handle situations like drinking, parties, friends coming over and staying late, overnight "guests" possibly roaming the house dressed inappropriately that you might have to explain to your kids, etc., etc.

My parents did rent their attic to graduate students (one at a time) for several years, but my youngest sister was the only one still home, around high school age by then.  And she later married one of the grad students...
« Last Edit: August 14, 2012, 09:48:01 PM by ShavinItForLater »

arebelspy

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Re: Am I Insane?
« Reply #4 on: August 14, 2012, 10:14:44 PM »
Price below market, target quiet introverts that won't want to be having people over for parties, etc.  Could work fine.
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Jamesqf

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Re: Am I Insane?
« Reply #5 on: August 14, 2012, 11:26:22 PM »
You might also think about aiming more at exchange faculty or researcher types who may be there for six months to a year or so.  They'd probably be less inclined to party, etc.  And if they're from other countries, they can give kids valuable exposure to other cultures.

I rented a room like that when I was working on a research project in Europe.  Wound up being pretty good friends with the kids, helping them with their English as they helped me with the local language.

cadamsgis

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Re: Am I Insane?
« Reply #6 on: August 15, 2012, 06:00:28 AM »

Here are some experiences that I have had that you might find informational:

I rented a room/apartment in a house that I had to share the kitchen with the owners - it was horrible.

They were very dirty and whenever I would complain they would go on and on as to how it was the children's chores and they weren't doing them. I told them that wasn't my problem who was supposed to clean up but it wasn't clean. And then they threw it in my face that I didn't have a regular schedule for cooking. Which was a big fat lie considering that I get off work at 3:30 every day and wanted to eat dinner around 5:30ish.

There other item with that is that they charged me 650. They didn't plan it out very well because they had never run appliances in the "new addition" before I moved in and the electric and water bills increased and they were mad about it. Plus the electric plugs would blow in my apartment - knocking out electric in the upstairs too. I honestly don't think they had a certified electrician wire the new addition properly. Plus there was no mention in the lease that about overnight guests. But they got mad when my sister or boyfriend stayed over.

well I have no idea why the family didn't talk to me about these issues because I was always receptive to conversations but one day the dad of the house just sees be coming out of my apartment and starts screaming his head off at me about he doesn't need me living there and he can take care of his family - blah blah blah. After that incident, I was able to get out of the lease but they kept my security deposit. But I hated living there and was just so happy to leave.

Last July my BIL, SIL, and 2 kids wanted to move into my basement. I told them that was fine but the set amount for rent was 300. I would make the normal payments for electric of 100 and anything else was there responsibility. And water my normal bill was 85 and anything else was there responsibility.

I am super duper glad I spelled it all out before they moved in and they agreed because the first electric bill after they moved in was 353 dollars. Turns out one of the kids had his winter coat on and told me it was going to snow. It was July. My SIL insisted on turning the AC to 62 degrees. We keep the AC on 81 degrees upstairs. Why should I have to pay 253 dollars more a month then my normal bill for her to be an icicle while we are pretty warm upstairs?

Water bill similar thing - the kids found the water hose and were playing in the water and I let them for about 20 minutes then I turned it off and SIL asks me why I cut it off. I told her we have to pay for that water. 20 minutes was plenty of time to cool off. She should buy them a kiddy pool. She had never lived in a house (always apartments) and didn't really understand the cost of utilities. My water bill for 3 months was 185 more then I normally pay.

we haven't had any problems about the utilities because they pay the difference but I could totally see that extra money I was getting for rent totally gone if I had just given them a set monthly amount and me getting really resentful if they were so cold they needed winter jackets while we are upstairs in t-shirts being warm and me paying for the differences.

Then when it started to cool off it was 76 degrees outside and SIL wanted to turn on the house heat. I told her we weren't doing it. In the summer she set her AC on 62. Now that it was cool outside I wasn't turning on the heat until it was below 62 - I told her she was being ridiculous and to put on a sweater if she was cold.

One year later  - my extended family moved out - which made it an entire year that they were in the basement. We had to share kitchen, bathroom, and laundry. I was so ready for them to move that I almost couldn't stand it. it was fine for a while but then it just got worse and worse and worse in my opinion. my SIL was a stay at home mom - when they first moved in she would cook while I was at work then just reheat the food when her husband came home but as the months went on she kept waiting til 6pm to cook dinner so I had to wait over an hour just to cook for us. she decided she liked washing clothes on the weekends when I needed to wash mine - I explained to her that it would be better if she washed her things when I was at work (I always work 7 - 3:30 mon - fri). She would agree but just kept doing exactly what she wanted. And the worst of it when they left she wanted to argue with me about the final bills because she no longer lived here - claiming they didn't drink any water for an entire month....and she took some of my stuff - towels, wash clothes, water bottles, etc.

I'm not saying you should or you shouldn't but some main items to consider

    Cleanliness
    Time of kitchen use
    Extra money for utilities
    Things disappearing
    Communication styles

best of luck
cat

CptMrPants

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Re: Am I Insane?
« Reply #7 on: August 15, 2012, 10:01:24 AM »
Your house is big. 

Downsize, invest. Rollerblade!

kkbmustang

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Re: Am I Insane?
« Reply #8 on: August 15, 2012, 12:17:12 PM »
Thanks everyone.  As for moving, well, the hubby says he has one more move in him and that is to his grave, so I'm saving that battle for another day.

JohnGalt

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Re: Am I Insane?
« Reply #9 on: August 15, 2012, 12:50:58 PM »
Make sure that everyone's expectations are very clearly spelled out and understand by both sides.

So far - I've had bad experiences renting out the extra room in my house to strangers (off craigslist) in the Dallas area.  I think it can be done - but do your due diligence - back ground checks, references, etc - and make sure you take your time and find the right person. 

If you're in the area I'm thinking of - that's a very nice area.  I can imagine that student housing around SMU is pretty expensive.  Finding a quiet kid there on scholarship or grad student could work out well - I know I'm stereotyping here, but most of the SMU people that I've known have turned out to be arrogant and feel entitled to be treated/viewed a certain way - I'd guess this is probably due to the wealthy/trust fundy nature of many of the people that go there, so going with a scholarship student might help you avoid it. 

Last - make sure you read up on the landlord/tenant laws.  What I found when having to get a renter out of my house is that they have a lot more rights that you might think.  In the end, you might decide that it's not worth the risk of having someone that you don't want there, living with you and your family.  After two attempts, I decided that it's just not worth it to live with a stranger.  If I owned a separate rental property and didn't have to live with them, it would be different - but is the $600/mo that you'll get really worth the potential headache?  Your family will need to make that decision. 

cats

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Re: Am I Insane?
« Reply #10 on: August 15, 2012, 01:23:23 PM »
From a tenant's perspective, I would probably never again be roommates with the owner of a house/apartment.  The power dynamic is just too uneven.

That said, I think (as has been suggested upthread) that you might have better luck targeting visiting researchers who are staying for 6 months or so at a time.  You may have a higher rate of vacancy, BUT you will probably also have an easier time charging market rent, whereas for students you might have to charge below market to make up for the fact that you will probably not want to allow parties, will need them to be okay with your kids running around during the day if they are trying to study from home, etc.  For a visiting researcher, your situation sounds ideal: get to live with a family and experience real american culture, don't have to deal with a crappy student rental (the usual option).  For an 18-22 year old student, it sounds like absolute hell.

MooreBonds

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Re: Am I Insane?
« Reply #11 on: August 15, 2012, 06:49:25 PM »
Thanks everyone.  As for moving, well, the hubby says he has one more move in him and that is to his grave, so I'm saving that battle for another day.

So your husband is willing to rent out 2 rooms and a bathroom - effectively "giving up" use of those rooms - in addition to inconveniencing his family, introducing a slight element of risk of family safety (having strangers living in the house), and the hassle of having boarder(s)......but won't downsize to a smaller house and enjoy the privacy of a single family home without the boarders/rental income?

Just don't understand why he's already agreed to live in a smaller house (because he's giving up those rooms to the tenants), but just wants to keep paying the higher utilities, taxes, upkeep, faster wear & tear, and opportunity cost of investing the extra money from downsizing just so he can collect a few bucks from some tenants...but, to each their own.

englyn

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Re: Am I Insane?
« Reply #12 on: August 15, 2012, 07:06:51 PM »
I live in a city where we get a lot of international students, especially from SE Asia. They tend to be quiet and studious and often the parents are paying their living expenses.
Have you considered providing full or part board? Charging a lot more $ for food (or just dinner) included, so your family is still responsible for the cooking and cleaning the common areas of the house. So you know it will get done and won't get in your way. Cooking for 6 isn't much harder than for 4, unless people have specific dietary requirements.
This would tend to attract the quieter types instead of the partying types, I would think.
Plus the experience for your kids if they are international students.

I get the not wanting to move. It's stressful out of all proportion to actual effort.

Russ

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Re: Am I Insane?
« Reply #13 on: August 15, 2012, 08:51:47 PM »
I'm currently interning for a large automotive manufacturer 5 hours from home. Since my term is only 4 months, I couldn't get a lease at a regular apartment complex and am instead renting a room, bathroom, and shared use of the kitchen from a guy with 2 teenage sons. So far it's working out great. Since you're in the city, you might want to expand your list of potential tenants to include interns and co-ops. It's likely that you're close to wherever they'll be working, which they'll like; they probably won't know anyone in the area to invite over; and interns are usually the better students, who in turn are generally quieter (not all, but generally).

As far as making everything work out smoothly, good communication is the key. Very clear expectations were set for both me and my landlord/housemate before I arrived. We've both stuck to our commitments, and if anything comes up that we haven't discussed yet we talk about it. I think it helps that we're both very easygoing people, but in the end I know I'm getting a much better living space for my money than I could anywhere else, and he knows he hit the jackpot on good tenants. This mutual understanding means that we're each a little more forgiving than we would be otherwise. If you try running your house like a dictator, you might get that uneven power dynamic Cats described, but so far that has been avoidable for us.

Price below market, target quiet introverts that won't want to be having people over for parties
I think this is key. As a renter, you can have a lot of say in who gets to rent from you, if you have the right price. If you advertise on Craigslist for $50 less than the local student apartments, you'll have a flood of responses. Then you get to take your pick. Similarly, you could browse through the Housing Wanted section and see if there's anyone promising.

The folks I'm living with are the least Mustachian family I've ever met, but that's a different story. I find it more amusing than anything, really.

mm1970

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Re: Am I Insane?
« Reply #14 on: August 18, 2012, 11:44:21 AM »
I live in a city where we get a lot of international students, especially from SE Asia. They tend to be quiet and studious and often the parents are paying their living expenses.
Have you considered providing full or part board? Charging a lot more $ for food (or just dinner) included, so your family is still responsible for the cooking and cleaning the common areas of the house. So you know it will get done and won't get in your way. Cooking for 6 isn't much harder than for 4, unless people have specific dietary requirements.
This would tend to attract the quieter types instead of the partying types, I would think.
Plus the experience for your kids if they are international students.

I get the not wanting to move. It's stressful out of all proportion to actual effort.
One of my coworkers (from India) lived with a family in grad school.  It worked out well for them.  Yes, he was quiet and the engineering type.


kkbmustang

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Re: Am I Insane?
« Reply #15 on: August 18, 2012, 12:37:25 PM »
@MooreBonds - I haven't thrown this one out to my husband yet. Was doing due diligence first. He probably wouldn't go for it for a stranger, but we know people at the local university (with lots of geeky, broke grad students) so if it came through a referral he might.  I'm just brainstorming right now.

I did some searches for properties in our area that are smaller, but prices have gone up since we bought ours, so even if we downsized to a 1600 s.f. townhome/duplex/zero lot line place, the biggest savings would be on utilities and upkeep. Not sure that's worth it either. Still weighing all the pros and cons. We have quite a bit of equity in our house but not enough to outright buy something smaller.

Still thinking through everything...