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Single Family Home - A thing of the Past?

Updated on August 22, 2013

What's a single family home?

In my younger days when traveling around this great country of ours I saw signs I didn’t understand.  The signs were mostly in the south, in the southern Florida area.  They were big signs, HUGE.  I had to ask about them.  They stated ‘Single Family Homes’ starting at… whatever the price.  Coming from an area that only had ‘single’ family homes you might be able to understand my confusion.

When I asked about this it was explained to me that in the Florida area there were a lot of migrant workers who lived together for a few months then moved on to the next area that needed attention.  Rather than purchase a home then have to leave it when something else came into season,  they’d rent small houses, with a bunch of people living together.  I still didn’t understand the living together, at the time.

Much older - wiser...?

We would drive by some of the areas and the homes were quite dilapidated. Yet they had the greatest looking cars sitting out front. The clothes that were worn looked like something out of a magazine. Kids would be swarming in the yards with several women watching over them. At the time I thought ‘No way could I share a kitchen with another woman!’ ‘How do they do that?’

Now that I’m older and wiser (well one can hope) I think they were on to something. It only makes sense to share homes. Particularly if your attempting to save money. With the economy going as it is, jobs being scarce, the high cost of everything it makes it easier on you if you can share the cost. Even if you do have a job, some folks have had to take pay cuts just to be able to keep working, others don’t quite make enough to live on their own.

Don't shut off that Electric to save money!

It seems ‘Single Family Homes’ are becoming a thing of the past. 

If you are suffering from the crunch of hard times, you may be thinking of ways to help yourself.  You’ve cut out as many things as you’ve been able to and the electric bill is next on your list of things to shut off, now might be the time to turn your single family home into a shared home.  It’s not nearly as difficult as you may think.

10 tips to keep everyone happy!

Here are a few tips to help you along.

1.  Set ground rules.  This is the key to a successful transition.  Things that you can live with and things that will just drive you out of your mind need to be put down on paper.  For me, music ‘bumping’ loud music in the driveway or taking my parking space is going to send me over the edge.  You might be different. 

2.  Figure out the amount of rent you are going to need to make you happy.  Once they move in, don’t just start handing over bills.  This is not going to make anyone happy.  The person moving in needs to know how much they are going to be paying each week or month.  There are ways to do this, depending on how many live in the home, you can add up each bill then divide it.  Do not attempt to add in your personal bills ie; credit card payments, car payments etc..

3.  Food supplies - If at all possible clear off a shelf or area in the refrigerator  and cupboard for your tenant.  If you are going to share meals this is great, it’s easier to add one person to the meal than it is to make separate meals.  They still need an area for their items of choice.  Respect their supplies.  If they buy something you have longed for, LEAVE IT ALONE!!  You’re going to have the extra money to buy your own stuff soon enough.  If you need to use something of theirs, ask permission first.  

4.  Laundry - Now that you’re sharing your home, you won’t be able to leave that load of laundry in the dryer until the next time you want to wash clothes.  You don’t want to fold their clothes, why should they fold yours?

5.  Children - If you have children it may take them a little while getting used to your house guest.  Above all, and you must be diligent in this - keep your kids out of their things!  The play area may have been their new bedroom.  Your kids have to learn to stay out of it!

6.  With everyone saving money your house guest may be buying things like DVD’s and video games.  For the most part they will probably be willing to share, but please respect their items.  If you watch a movie or play a game, put it back in the case.

7.  If your houseguest is staying on a temporary basis, until they get enough money to move out, they may be collecting items for their future homes.  If you have an area for storage, let your guest know the area.  If it is not safe from water damage, dogs, kids, let them know.  You do not want to be held responsible for having to replace said items.  If it best they rent a storage unit for these items, then let them know.  The $30 a month that they pay for storage is better than having to replace collected items.

8.  Electronic times - If you have a computer and they don’t, they may wish to use yours.  This can be a bit tricky.  If you don’t want them using your computer, you must tell them right away.  Don’t let them use it a few times then stop.  That’s like changing the rules of a game in the middle of it.  Remember when letting others use your computer, viruses and downloads can and will happen.  The amount of time that is spent on the computer varies from person to person, so if you have certain times that you are on it, and they want to use it at those times, fights can ensue.  For some people computers are their lively hood, if it is yours then suggest they buy one of their own.

9.  If you have different ideas of what to watch on TV it might be best to run a cable to the room in which they are staying.  For me, I have quit watching TV because I live with channel surfers.  I really don’t mind the commercials, but they do.  I don’t like having to watch 2 different programs so I don’t bother watching at all.

10.  Kitchen time - This would be my biggest issue.  If they are not going to be taking meals with you, then you must set the ground rules.  You won’t want to clean up their mess, don’t expect them to clean up yours.  Keeping the kitchen clean is a must for all parties.  If you have to make a special trip to purchase cleaning supplies, do so.  Then make sure your guest knows where to find them.

This is for the future house guest

For those of you who are considering moving in with someone else there are a few ground rules as well.

1.  Respect that you are living in someone else’s home.  Walking around in your underwear at your Mom’s might have been fine, but now it is not appropriate.

2.  If you need to use something of theirs, ask first.  Respect their stuff, if you use it and you break it, replace it!  If you use it and use it all up, replace it!

3.  Pick up after yourself.  This is a MUST.  You don’t want to pick up after them, they don’t want to pick up after you.

4.  If you have children, now is the time to teach them manners.  You may have different ideas of discipline, if they have learned manners it will make the transition easier for all.  Teach them to pick up after themselves, or at the very least pick up after them yourself!

5.  Pay your rent!  No matter what, pay that rent!  If you will be doing without lunch at work for a week, oh well, tough it out!  Take leftovers, eat ramen noodles.  That rent MUST be paid.  They have taken you into their home for 2 reasons, 1 because you needed help and 2 because they needed help paying the bills.  If the bill was in your name, wouldn’t you want it paid?  You do not want to be known as a moocher!

6.  More than anything Respect is what should happen here.  Respecting their things will help everyone.

We all CAN get along!

Single family homes are fast becoming multi-family homes. If we all learn to respect others then this will make your moving in much easier and if in the future references are needed, they will be might than willing to give you a good one! Having a good reference is worth more than you will ever know!

Common Sense is what is needed when living in a multi-family home, use it!

Vote it 'Up'!!

If you enjoyed reading this, feel free to leave comments and make sure to 'Vote' it up, just before the comment section!


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    • Sweetsusieg profile image

      Sweetsusieg 7 years ago from Michigan

      Yes, I did too. In the Southern area of the US 'Single Family Home' means one family per unit. Because sometimes what happens is someone will get an apartment and invite their family to live with them, to share the costs.

    • Dave Mathews profile image

      Dave Mathews 7 years ago from NORTH YORK,ONTARIO,CANADA

      I always thought that apartment buildings, and condos were multi family dwellings and that homes and townhouses were single family dwellings.

    • Sweetsusieg profile image

      Sweetsusieg 7 years ago from Michigan

      I just remember seeing enough of those signs and finally asked my hubby 'What on earth does that mean?' Rather than try to explain, he took me to where the migrant workers lived. Much easier!

      LOL, yeah, when I get that moat... I'm putting Gators in it!

    • drbj profile image

      drbj and sherry 7 years ago from south Florida

      Funny, susie, you reminded me that I never really paid much attention to that 'Single Family Home' sign and what it really meant, and I did see it everywhere.

      These are great rules for those who share their homes. The hard part, I imagine, is getting others to remember and practice them.

      It is said, "Your home is your castle." I would add, only if you have a moat!

    • Sweetsusieg profile image

      Sweetsusieg 7 years ago from Michigan

      thougtforce - It is hard! The hardest part is not getting the rent. Another thing I didn't put in is the 'house guest rule'.. If your guest has another guest staying the night. One night is fine, but more than 2 and they need to give up some money. Showers are costly!! Following the rules is the key!

      Tinsky - I'm a fairly tolerant person, and I think that is what it takes, LOTS of tolerance!! LOL I've done it in the past to help the person out. It's the being taken advantage of that bothers me! Family members seem to be worse than strangers.

      Thanks both of you for stopping by!!

    • Tinsky profile image

      Tina Dubinsky 7 years ago from Brisbane, Australia

      I think it takes a certain personalty to share ones home with boarder. We've tried it but I'm not that person. I like my space and freedoms and would prefer to pinch pennies elsewhere or work harder to earn more $. Still I do admire people who can open their house to a stranger and save money. Hiring a room out to a student (foreign or local) can also be a good money saver / earner.

    • thougtforce profile image

      Christina Lornemark 7 years ago from Sweden

      Interesting article and you are right about the importance of having clear rules! Personally I now find it hard to imagine having someone outside the family living in our home and use our stuff, but nothing is impossible and if necessary; who knows! There are many living in multifamily homes and they enjoy it ,and it is a great way to share costs and space! Great hub that gave me many pictures in my mind!


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