Thanks to everyone for your comments on what I should charge my roommate. Lots of things to consider there, and I appreciate any more advice that may come in. I think part of the reasons for my struggle is that I feel like I’m forcing this move on her. Sure, she doesn’t have to come along, but she can’t afford the apartment by herself, and I think it would be quite rude of me to just say “Okay, I’m leaving, find someone else to live with.” When I signed the lease with her, this wasn’t in the picture, and I feel like in a way, I wasn’t only committing to the apartment complex (a commitment I’m happy to break), but I was committing to her that I would be there and paying my share of the rent.
Man, I make this sound like a relationship, don’t I?
Either way, typically when you get a roommate, it’s “Hey, want to come live here? It will cost you $X.” The potential roommate can make the decision based on the place and the cost. Here the decision is made and she doesn’t know the cost yet. I’ve decided to broach the subject with her in more detail once the closing has occurred and she’s actually seen the place.
In other news, everything is still up in the air! Hooray! (note the sarcasm) Anyone who knows me knows that I like to make plans. I like to make decisions. I am not good with things up in the air. Some people said that I made my decision on my house quickly, but that’s how I roll. What people don’t realize is that I had done a lot of decision making before the house hunting process started. I knew exactly what I wanted. And when I found it, I just knew. So the fact that I still don’t know whether or not we’re closing next Friday is driving me crazy.
We’re doing the re-inspection on Monday morning, so hopefully I will have a final answer then. I have been planning as if the move is going to occur. I have movers scheduled for a date in March. I have filled out all the required mortgage paperwork. I have transferred funds from my ING account to my local bank account (since I can’t get a certified check or do a wire transfer from ING). I have pre-paid my first year of homeowners insurance as required my the mortgage company (it is fully refundable if the sale falls through).
But now I wait. And I hate waiting.
Megan is a 40-something government employee in the Washington, DC area. She got interested in Personal Finance when she got out of college and realized that her paycheck wasn’t going to go as far as she had hoped. Since starting this blog, she has managed to buy a house and make a solid start on her retirement goals, and hopes to help others do the same. Here is her story:
In 2007, I was a gainfully employed 20-something with no debt but not a lot of knowledge about personal finance. It was a co-worker’s comment about Roth IRAs that sent me to the internet, searching for information. It was then that I realized that I really didn’t know a whole lot about personal finance and that my current financial situation was due a lot to inherent frugal tendencies, generous family members, a fear of debt, and good luck. While that was working for me, clearly I needed a better plan.
While I had no debt, I was also pretty much living paycheck to paycheck and not worrying about going over budget (I say this as if I had a real budget) because I had an emergency fund set aside to cover any overages.
Except that’s not what an emergency fund is for.
So I did a lot of research, read a lot of blogs, and decided that I needed a plan. I needed to budget. I needed to know what I was spending my money on. I needed to prepare for the future.
I decided to create a blog not only to make myself accountable to others but also to share the knowledge that I gained along the way. I’ve learned so much from my fellow bloggers, and I hope that my readers can find something useful in what I have to share as well.
It must be frustrating having to wait, but Monday isn’t too far away now! 🙂
Enjoy your weekend and look forward to knowing the survey results.
Angela (Cottage Magpie) says
I see what you’re saying — it’s not just like putting an ad in a paper — you want it to be fair because you don’t really want to get a new roommate. That makes sense. One idea is that maybe you could focus on what would be fair then? For example, what would be your actual costs each month for the house, then charge her half of that. For example, you have the mortgage, taxes, insurance, but you also have the utilities and the cleaning service. What does all that add up to? It’s fair because while yes, you’re getting the equity, you also have to pay all the maintenance costs that your roommate won’t pay. (I’ve often heard that for routine maintenance (i.e. no “projects”) you should expect to spend 10% of your mortgage payments.)
When calculating utilities, definitely try to get some accurate estimates, because it’s often very different than renting. In my area, you can call the utility company and get estimates based on previous bills for the address — but that will only be accurate if the family size is similar. The first time I called the utility company for that same reason years ago said that the biggest factor in energy costs was how many people were in the house because people = wash loads, showers, etc.. Also, don’t forget things like garbage pickup, cable and other things that are often included in rentals.
Whew — what a book! I hope it’s helpful and doesn’t sound all bossy! 🙂 I’ve been really enjoying reading about your journey, and I know exactly what you mean about knowing the right house when you see it. Good for you!