Shared Housing (Home-sharing) #1 Know YOURSELF – “20 Questions”

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Step 1: Before you start talking with others about homesharing, we suggest you take time to think about previous times when you’ve shared living space. Everyone has done this - with parents, roommates, children, other significant people. Pause and reflect on positive experiences.

  • What were the ingredients that made them positive?
  • Now, turning to negative experiences, reflect on those experiences that were negative.
  • What went wrong and why were they negative?
  • Finally, think about you and your current needs, and what kind of experience you’d like to have. There are many reasons to homeshare. You don’t have to match up perfectly, but you’ll be better able to find a good match if you know what you are looking for.

Step 2: Answer the following 20 questions as honestly as you can. This is for You! Be brutally honest with yourself and then with others. Take this step even if you’re considering moving back with parents, in with friends, or thinking about having children or parents come into your home.

Steps 3 – 11 come after you’ve completed these questions.


1) I think homesharing would allow me to (check all that apply)
__Reduce my rent and utilities __Have another adult in the house
__Prevent eviction __Feel like a better parent
__Reduce expenses __Keep my sanity
__Find companionship & support __Stop worrying so much
__Form an extended family __Live in a nicer neighborhood
__Get help with chores or tasks __other?

2) If I share a home I’m afraid that: (check all that apply)

__I’ll end up doing all the cooking since I’m a good cook

__I will discover the other person has only chrome & black furniture, while I have antiques

__I’ll be exposed as being a slob

__They’ll be slobs - or neatniks!

__I’ll always feel like a visitor

__I’ll never get to see my boyfriend/ girlfriend overnight again

__There’ll be too much company

__I’ll expect too much from the other person and be disappointed

__They’ll expected too much of me

__I’ll loose my autonomy

__I’ll want to control the others

__I might have to move out … and then what?

3) I could take steps to make sure the above things don’t happen by …

__Meeting with the other person/s at least 4 times & getting to know them in more than a superficial and social only way

__Visiting the other person’s home to check it out there before deciding

__Having any kids meet any others to see if they like & are compatible with one another too

__Getting, then checking and interviewing several references carefully

__Talking honestly with the other person about my fears and my hopes

__Writing down expectations for TV, cleaning, timing, expenses, etc.

__Reviewing these worksheets with the other person

__Talking about things that make me angry and how I resolve disputes

__Setting up regular “house meetings” to discuss things before they’re big

4) I would describe my interpersonal and/or parenting style as:

__Authoritarian: when I give a direction, I expect others to jump

__Authoritative: there’s communication, but also decisions are made

__Libertarian: whatever happens is just fine - don’t sweat the details


5) A “Service Exchange” is another way to reduce housing costs. For example, Jane can afford $500 a month in rent, but she and Jada found a place to rent together that would cost each $650. Jane might make up the difference ($150) in agreeing to provide that amount of services to Jada, who can afford $800. (her $650 + $150)

I would be willing to consider providing or receiving as part of an exchange:

__house cleaning __grocery shopping

__errand running __music lessons

__car maintenance __dog walking / care

__transportation __other

I could provide or might need ___ (1-15) hours per week in services – what dollar value would we place on each hour? _________________________.

I could communicate my expectations on schedules, quality of services, flexibility, changes in needs by …

__writing down the exact nature of the issue

__being specific in requesting changes or preferences

__keeping track of actual time on a time sheet

__saying “whatever…” or “whenever…”

6) I can make a new homesharing situation comfortable by:

__letting others bring their things in to my space & discussing arrangements

__treating them as I’d like to be treated

__extending an assumption of goodwill

__introducing them to my friends

__including them in my family’s activities at least once a month

__letting them know they’d better do all the above for me

7) How might I handle the first time one of my things gets damaged?

__I’ll keep it all separate so it’ll never happen (fairytale scenario)

__I’ll cry, pout, yell or scream

__I’d expect to be paid for the damaged item or damage done

__I’ll ignore it. It won’t happen again (another fairytale)

__I’ll damage something of theirs in return

__I’ll ask for a time to talk to find a mutually agreeable solution

__I’ll assume it was my fault, yet be angry


8) What furniture and/ or appliances can I bring to the home? What might I have
to find a place to store or sell?

9) If I have kids, how might each, and they collectively, react to sharing a home?

__Adopting a “wait and see” attitude __Jumping in with both feet

__Being needier than usual __Getting competitive

__Being difficult so they’ll leave __Waiting to see if they can be trusted

10) I (or those in my family) have special wants and needs. These are:

__Restrictions on diet __A room of their own

__Allergies __Many hours of quiet

__A yard or park nearby __Time to practice drums

__Nearby public transit __Other

11) I may feel uncomfortable sharing a house with someone who …

__has different religious beliefs __has different politics

__is on AFDC, food stamps, etc __is gay, lesbian, bisexual …

__has a prior criminal record __has another language than mine

__is in recovery __is of a different ethnic group / race

__is in a different economic group __is or has been “homeless”

__owns guns __likes different music

__Other __wants to be “like family”

12) My communication preference and style could be described as being …

__ in person __ ‘text, ’ email, voice mail

__casual __formal

__extroverted (say it right away) __introverted (think it through first)

__changes when I’m under pressure __other

13) I think that I…

__would be excited about the opportunities that would be possible by living with people that I’ve listed above

__would be open to living with some of the people I’ve listed above. It could be a good learning experience, even if challenging

__would prefer not to take risks for myself or my family


14) What kind of behavior in adults makes you angry?

__pushy __ controlling __uptight

__too open-ended __crisis / drama lover __not caring

__inflexible __nitpicky __neatnik

__inconsiderate __drunkenness __procrastination

__unwilling to talk __makes too many assumptions __sloppy

__stuffs feelings __other

15) What kind of behavior in children makes you angry?

__overly aggressive __neediness & dependency __whining

__needing attention __overactive __too talkative

__wont’ take “No” for an answer - always bargaining

__simply existing in “my” space

16. What about pets is a problem for you?

__overly aggressive __needing attention __overactive __smelly __noisy __simply existing

17) When I get angry, I:

__immediately tell you what’s on my mind and let it all hang out

__try to calm down and then say something

__try to calm down and then write a note

__withdraw and think about it before saying anything

__hit and break things

__simmer and then erupt when I can’t take it any longer

__meditate ___other

18) Describe your ideal homesharing situation:

Number of bedrooms for your family =

Number of bathrooms for you/your family =

Willingness to share rooms? Y / N – under what conditions?

Willingness to share bathrooms? Y / N – under what conditions?

Maximum number of adults =

Maximum number of kids =

Gender of other adults? Of kids?

Presence of pets? Types?

18) What are 3 to 5 words that best describe your ideal home atmosphere? (i.e. - calm, fun, safe, active, warm, quiet, alive, …)

19) What are the best things you bring to a homeshare?

20) Write down any non-negotiable areas for you. (i.e. - smoking, drinking, restrictions, religion …)

** Make notes here of anything else you want to be sure to include to remind yourself to be honest with yourself.

OK - now that you’ve taken the PRELIMINARY SELF CHECK, you’re ready to meet someone who is also looking to share housing!

Step 3: Get the word out that you are looking to share housing. Start with; your Personal Safety Net and you can use their connections too. Then add, Bulletin boards, Linked-In, Craig’s List, Facebook, etc.

Step 4: Meet the first person you have been introduced to in some fashion to get the ball rolling. Keep it neutral, public & just adults. You might wish to use the “20 Questions” to have in mind and on hand for topics for consideration and possible discussion

Step 5: To keep this from being crisis-oriented, plan ahead to have at least 4 meetings before scheduling any move-in dates. You’ve now had one already. It’s OK to have more than one person/family to interview.

Step 6: Meet a second time, both having completed “Know Yourself” and “Do We Fit?” - this meeting probably also in a public, neutral space. Bring your checklists when you next meet. Get each other’s references, and check them out!

Step 7: Each of you can do a basic background check through the Washington State Police web site for residents of Washington State.

Step 8: Meet at the place where one of you lives: talk about areas still not-yet-covered and questions still outstanding. Be curious. Ask questions.

Step 9: Meet where the other person lives - write down an agreement.

  • Who is moving into where? What spaces?
  • Who will do what?
  • When does this start? How long do you envision it lasting? (we recommend a trial period, with renewal)
  • If money is to be exchanged, who pays how much, to whom, in what fashion, when?
  • If services are to be exchanged, what, by whom, who decides how well, etc.
  • Cover all the things that are important, in writing.
    • For example: Vacations and responsibilities
    • Access to and time with internet/wifi – on line, etc.
    • Quiet / Noisy times
    • Cleaning public / private spaces / garbage / recycling / yard
    • Guests – numbers, warnings, times, who’s welcome who’s not
    • Cars
    • Courtesy and respect – what these mean, examples from each of you

Step 10: The preceding questions have been intended to aid you in gathering information, having useful conversations, and moving you toward a making a good decision. However, any one set of questions can only get you started. Think carefully, ask yourself hard questions, confer and seek opinions from respected members of your own personal safety net.

Step 11: Make your decision and perhaps move in, and begin a new chapter and may it be positive and good for all!

Copyright Personal Safety Nets® 2015