Should it come as a surprise that there are more and more home-sharing sites cropping up for those over 50 years of age? With the abundance of baby boomers, stagnant salaries, and iffy economies that seem to benefit a small percentage of the population, it’s no wonder that some many people are looking for a home sharing environment both in the U.S. and abroad. Shared housing can be particular beneficial to seniors. Silver Sharers is an exciting new London based home-sharing service, specifically for people around 50!
No Fun with AirBnB
Before launching Silver Sharers, Suzanne Noble rented two rooms in her home via AirBnB. Yet, the constant revolving door of guests and ongoing housekeeping became less fun and more drudgery.
In May 2017, Suzanne started a home-sharing arrangement with Ameet whom she had met via a mutual friend. Although hesitant at first to share her home full-time with another person, it turned out to be a perfect match between the two that has resulted in a strong friendship.
In the meantime, her partner Bob was also in search of a similar living situation, but found that finding shared housing with others who shared his interests, in the same age range, and that met his budget, proved to be a challenging endeavor.
After watching Bob jump through hoops to find housing, but also speaking to others trying to fill or find rooms, Suzanne, along with co-founder Stephen Glasper, decided to take a risk and launch Silver Sharers, a simple solution that would meet the needs for those who need housing or have a spare room or rooms to rent.
How Silver Sharers Works
The premise is simple: Silver Sharers is a weekly newsletter that connects homeowners with potential home seekers within London but will expand sometime in the near future to other parts of the U.K.
For homeowners or those who rent and have a spare room they want to let, Silver Sharers will send a form to complete with the information about the space and request photographs of the room and home. Once the listing is approved and the £10 fee is paid, it will be included in the newsletter.
For prospective renters, simply go the tab I need a room on the site to subscribe to the newsletter. If you happen to see a lodging that seems like a good fit in the weekly newsletter, contact Silver Sharers to learn more.
Currently, Silver Sharers has nearly 800 people on their database, a mix of homeowners, renters and those who are simply curious. However, when it comes to what makes successful matches, beyond what Silver Sharers is able to determine during the sign-up process, such as expectations around cleanliness, noise, and so on, Suzanne explains that it’s about being clear around boundaries, being flexible, open to compromise. “There’s a definite power dynamic that exists between the person that owns a home and the one moving in and renting a room. It’s not uncommon for tension to arise between the two if one believes the other to be too demanding.”
And she speaks from first-hand experience: sharing her home with someone her own age. “We’ve both learned over time how to share and manage the space so that it feels well balanced. I think it’s unrealistic to expect that someone who rents a room not to have access to any of the other living spaces in the home. Home-sharing means just that… sharing.”
The Silver Sharers Criteria
The average age of the homeowner is approximately 60 and the average age of the renter is around 50. “Unlike other home-sharing sites, our only criteria are that the homeowner or the person listing is around 50+. The renter can be any age, as our research has shown us that when it comes to people successfully living together, it’s not so much about age but about shared values and whether you get along!” said Suzanne.
Most of hosts are seeking long term home-mates, a year or more. For anyone needing more information, Silver Sharers has several resources on their blog around home sharing. “We’re very hands-on when it comes to customer service. We speak to everyone personally and we are available most days (and some nights) to answer any questions. We’ve also directed customers to Annamarie’s terrific book, a valuable resource for those who have little to no experience of home-sharing,” said Suzanne.
Covid-19 and Future Challenges
In light of the changing landscape due to Covid-19, how does that affect users and the Silver Sharers. Suzanne has noticed that in some cases adult children have returned home to self-isolate so rooms that were being listed are no longer available. Others are feeling more vulnerable and have decided not to accept guests for the time being. Navigating the ‘new normal’, she says is an ongoing challenge.
“We’re definitely seeing homeowners coming to us from sites such as Airbnb, either because they’re tired of washing sheets or because they’re not achieving the same level of bookings as pre-Covid. And we’re getting more renters signing up every day. So Covid-19 is definitely throwing up challenges and opportunities for both sides of the market and I can’t see that changing any time soon. If I had a crystal ball, I would predict that far more people will be thinking about shared housing as a possible option to enable them to age in place both from a financial standpoint as well as for their own wellbeing.”
For more information, please visit www.silversharers.com.