By special request, I’m writing about what it’s like to live with strangers.
For those of you who don’t know, I run an AirBnB out of my house…
That I also live in!
The usual response I get when I tell people about my living situation is something to the effect of “Woah! I don’t think I could do that!” And then the person I’m talking with will explain that they want to feel comfortable in their own home, etc.
I totally understand that. Who doesn’t want to feel comfortable in their own home? The best way I can explain it is using a concept that Craig Curelop, a house-hacker featured on BiggerPockets describes as the “Comfort Continuum.” How uncomfortable are you okay with being?
I am comfortable having strangers in my house, if it pays me to do so. The idea of having no housing expenses and generating a small cash flow is my personal entryway into obtaining financial freedom.
That being said… What’s it like to live with strangers?
Well, it’s weird. (Haha) Working on the low-end of AirBnB (and renting to tenants by the room), I am hosting very different people for very different reasons. I have had immigrants, workers, travelers, honeymooners, students, road-trippers, relocators, partiers, RVers, visitors, interns, and even a CEO stay at my house.
With that, I have met some excellent folks who have impacted my life in a positive way. I have gotten the opportunity to see life from so many people’s perspective as I watch guests/tenants’ lives unfold before them.
In quite a few instances, I have hosted immigrants coming to America. Their stay at my house was their first time in our country. Pause for a second and really take in how important that is. Their experience in my home represents to them what America is like. I want every guest to feel welcome and at home-but I want the welcome to be especially warm for those guests.
In a few instances, I have had young couples who were “between apartments.” Looking outside, their cars are filled with everything they own. I don’t think there are a lot of things worse than not knowing where you’re going to put your head at night. So providing a home and a bed that’s clean and welcoming can provide a thin layer of relief to those who only have stress in every other aspect of their life.
Now, that being said, I no doubt have plenty of people looking for a place to sleep after a night of boozing. I have had plenty of people illustrate their hangover in my bathroom. I have had plenty of people slamming the door at 1am. I have had a few items go missing. I have not liked every guest-and some of those guests have had extended stays.
Getting away from the bigger picture and focusing on the day-to-day… to answer the original question, What’s it like to live with strangers?
It’s not a big deal. Really, you have to clean the common areas more (which is probably a positive thing?). You have to keep the bathroom cleaner (not fun, but probably also a good thing?). You don’t have the freedom to walk around your house naked anymore (but I’ll take my cash instead). Sometimes you don’t want to be around people and people are always around you (but that’s the same as if you live with family, friends, etc.). Sometimes people park in your spot and you have to park on the street instead of in the driveway (oh boo-hoo).
So, all things considered, living with strangers is a great option for those willing to be less comfortable than they could be otherwise.