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Widow Needs to Convert Home, Office Into Rental
EditorӢs Note: We received this query from a member who would appreciate your help. Please share your advice by leaving your comment below:
I have a large 2 story house, 3500 SF. My late husband and I had a remodeling company and worked on the first floor. The house was single story and built to commercial standards in the 50’s with center block walls and a concrete roof. My late husband built the 2nd story in 1999. He was a general contractor and new the potential of the house.
He passed away in January of this year. I have closed the business as he held the state license, and the knowledge, and construction in our city is basically dead. I have a huge mortgage on the house. I am turning 2 offices into bedrooms, one with a small “desk” area and walk in closet, the other room is smaller with a small closet. I am adding a shower to the bath downstairs.
I am hoping to rent these rooms out with common areas: kitchen, living room, dining room, another desk area, and possibly laundry room downstairs. I am adding a door at the bottom of the stairs and plan to live upstairs.
I have rental property next door, but haven’t done anything as in renting in my home before. Is there anyone out there who can give me tips about this set up, house rules, etc?
I am halfway through the renovations and am researching what I should/need to look for in a prospective roommate/tenant. Also I am in a residential zoning district.
I am not changing the foot print of the house as I will not have a stove/range upstairs.
Please share your thoughts below.
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  • pete

    Landlords in college towns rent rooms as described above with a common kitchen/living room.

  • Patrushkha Mierzwa

    The first thing that comes to mind is parking-quite an issue where I live. Since you already have rental property, you should review your plan with regulations in mind to make sure you are providing everything required by law-parking spaces, smoke detectors for each room, etc. Decide what house rules you need for your comfort (smoking, parties/late night guests,etc)and make sure to have a copy of the rules as part of the rental agreement. You’ll probably need a couple refrigerators! Good luckwith your project.

  • Theresa Stein

    Hi Kim,

    I just wanted to give that widow lady couple of suggestions from my past experience which is that : She needs to establish her rules from the very beginning – right when she starts to negotiate the rent amount and date that they want to move in. Because, once they moved in, most people don’t follow the restrictions and rules that are set afterward.
    Also, she needs to enforce the rules consistently and don’t be too friendly with them. Treat them like a regular tenant even though they might be sharing the common areas with her.

    I leaned those lessons when I rented a partial of my house out to couple of young students when I was in Texas. The results were disarsterous due to the above situation.

    I hope that will be a help to her.

    Teresa Stein

  • Theresa Stein

    I really appreciate this wonderful web service you provide; especially, the functionality of being able to communicate with other members. I really like that.
    Thanks guys for all the great work that you do. Keep up the good job.
    Your happy customer & member,

    Theresa Stein

  • Mary

    I don’t have any experience with this except as a student myself many years ago. There was some trouble with a shared refridgerator and stolen food. Perhaps you could provide each bedroom with a small fridge and maybe a microwave (not invented when I was in college). This would keep them out of your food storage areas. I think separation of posessions as much as possible seems to be the key to preventing strife.

  • L

    Sorry to hear about your loss.

    I would check with zoning in your area to make sure the property can be a rooming house. Also find out how many unrelated people can live in a single family house. If it is in the proper zoning, you may have to have a public hearing. Depending on the strength of your homeowners/neighborhood association, you may have some opposition.

    Good luck!


  • S

    Dear Widow Lady,
    Save yourself some grief, rent to 55 or older. I would install a refrid upstairs and a microwave. If you have the energy have you considered creating an assisted living business for the downstairs with yourself as the caretaker? This will require permits but will generate another source of income.

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