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Thread: preparing to live alone

  1. #1
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    preparing to live alone

    Wow, we are actually looking at my son and girlfriend moving out (okay not until May when the lease is up) and I realize I have never lived alone. That is fine, however I am wondering what it will be like, how to prepare, where to live, and seeing how much I prepare. I pretty much have the worst case scenario in my mind all the time, the roommate thing and horrible people who stay up late and don't let me use the kitchen, a neighborhood too far from my children, or just that I feel crappy for renting a room at 51.

    Then the idea of renting a studio or one bedroom, I did see some on Craigslist for $1,000 which is my goal. Not a lot in Denver and surrounding areas for that price however. I worry about qualifying (most big places want to see 3 times the rent in income, I can just pull off $1,000 a month) and if my credit is repaired enough, the stupid back and forth on student loans (I pay as much as I can as often as I can and just accept that), and if they want me. I think I am a good potential renter after all, quiet and one cat and work a lot of hours, have a steady income. I have considered asking my sister if I can stay there if I have a gap in a place to live, she is an hour away but my summer camp hours are not as long as school year. That way I don't get into the crunch of taking whatever I can find. The month to month at this complex is insane. I would pay them of course, but so much less and I could build up one months savings instead of depleting my savings for first and last and deposits.

    Pros of renting a room are:
    Pay on the student loan more and more consistently
    Usually more flexible leases
    Cons are
    can't count on being friends with house mates
    uncomfortable with lifestyles, privacy

    Pros of renting my own place
    My own place, my own stuff,
    Cons of renting my own place
    higher cost
    finding a place

    Okay, lots of positives please, I am already really good at thinking of the worst case scenario

  2. #2
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    Here in Phoenix there are lots of places with little studio grandmother type homes in the backyard or above the garage. A friend of mine rents one for about $650 utilities included. And it's a separate building from the homeowner. She likes it.

  3. #3
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    Another situation that would work for you is renting a room from an elderly person who just wants someone who comes home each night to make sure they haven't fallen etc. I wonder if the local senior center would have referrals.

  4. #4
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    And if you could find another home for the cat your options might be greater ... would your son take the cat?

  5. #5
    Senior Member SteveinMN's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Zoe Girl View Post
    Pros of renting a room are:
    Pay on the student loan more and more consistently
    Usually more flexible leases
    Cons are
    can't count on being friends with house mates
    uncomfortable with lifestyles, privacy

    Pros of renting my own place
    My own place, my own stuff,
    Cons of renting my own place
    higher cost
    finding a place
    What's your end game? FI? Living more simply? Or is it time to regroup a little for the next stage of life?

    As an example, if FI is your goal, a cheaper place to stay (so you can retire your student loan and/or save some money) may be more important (I can't use the verb trump anymore) than whether you really like your housemates/landlord. If it's just time to take a little breather, concentrate on work to accommodate a bigger career move, let you concentrate on de-stressing, etc., then you should pursue whatever encourages that, whether it's staying in your current place or maybe spending more for place that reduces the friction of life or gives you the time or literal room to declutter or start a deeper lifestyle practice.

    This also is not a permanent change. Might it be easier to accommodate the idea of a roommate or renting a room if you see it as just a bridge to a more permanent arrangement?
    If Americans expended even a fraction of the energy on civic engagement that we spend on consumer ideology, our democracy would be much healthier. Can you imagine people camping out to vote? -- Charles Roberts, Amherst, Mass., Nov. 25, 2006

  6. #6
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    What is my goal? I have goals and not sure how reasonable they are for me. Some things i would love to do with my career but just hitting roadblocks for a long time. Time to re evaluate. I really like this apartment complex and it is out of my price range on my own. I would like to buy a subaru and have more space financially to do things.

    My biggest thing is really wanting community, that is hard to tell what living situation is best. If i could buy into co housing that would be the most amazing, the one where i know some people and would be really encouraged to live is also way out of price range.

  7. #7
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    Steve pointed out a very important thing for you. Nothing you do is permanent. You can try things out and keep your options open. You would probably be surprised but many landlords of small properties would be more interested in you than in your son. You have a stable job and are a mature adult. We have a number of landlords who are very happy to find older single women as they have found them more stable and responsible.

    You might investigate whether any of the Denver area cohousing or cooperative housing groups have any small rental or roommate opportunities. You might find a group that is interested in many of the things you are involved in and might help you find community. Our community also has small attached carriage house or studios built onto new houses. The last one I saw was $750. They are one off and you have to keep your eyes open. Does Denver have the Nextdoor emailing list for neighborhoods?

  8. #8
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    I agree with sweetana3, if there is a cohousing development with something along those lines, or with rent-geared to income. Otherwise, perhaps cohousing would be an ideal last move... maybe 2025? I am assuming it would be essential to pay off the student loan debt and to save a substantial downpayment to buy into cohousing.

    Being a room-mate, paying $700 ish in rent, may enable a more rapid transit to being financially able to make the cohousing move.

    Out of curiosity I checked Craigslist "Rooms and Shares" ads. I thought it would be possible to narrow down the choices based on your parameters for location, monthly rental rate, cat-friendliness, etc. (You don't want to be a live-in maid, right?). If it were me looking, I would want to be selective (even "picky") to avoid getting into a housing situation I would rather get out of. Bovine Excrement Detector in hand, and with a list of my likes and explicit deal-breakers in regard to other people who could be sharing my space (kitchen/bathroom/garage/patio?) I would call the advertiser and ask questions. If that went well, I would arrange a chat-over-a-cuppa-tea in a public place... with due regard for personal safety, in view of the "Craigslist Risk". A cellphone safe-call could be part of my protocol. Then, before I went on a site visit with my tape measure, I would print my checklist. Picky, picky, picky.

  9. #9
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    Zoe, your mention of cohousing struck a chord with me, as I have also wanted to live in cohousing for many years now, and have also been stopped by the initial investment required. As I know the number of cohousing communities in CO is second only in number to CA in the entire nation, I took a quick look. I was delighted to find that one of the newer communities, Aria Cohousing, has an adjacent community of apartments/rentals! Do you know about it?

  10. #10
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    No i will check that out! As a single woman now over 50 it has been a topic of me and my peers.

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