Living with roommates can have many advantages and disadvantages. One disadvantage is that more people are using the fridge, washer and dryer, and other appliances, which means there is more of a chance something will break. Learn how a home warranty can cover you and your roommates.
One of the perks of homeownership, at least for most people, is not having to live with roommates. You can walk around the house where you want, when you want, leave your dirty dishes in the sink and never again experience the disappointment of coming home from work to discover that someone has eaten that slice of cheesecake you’d been looking forward to all day.
But many people like living with roommates. The right roommates can feel like family — people to talk to and hang out with when you come home. And you don’t have to give up roomies when you buy a house. Instead, you can use the passive income you earn from renting out spare bedrooms to pay down your mortgage faster, build an emergency fund or just get some wiggle room in your monthly budget.
When Your Roommate Is Your Tenant
Renting out a spare room in the home you own and live in yourself is a little different than splitting rent on an apartment. For one thing, you, the homeowner, will be responsible for maintenance and upkeep of the property — you have to keep it in good shape so that your roommates will feel safe and comfortable enough to continue living there. By the same token, if your roommates damage the property, you’ll be responsible for repairs, and if the repairs aren’t made, it’ll come out of your profits when you sell the house.
Because you’ll depend on your roommate for rental income, you’ll want to find reliable occupants for your spare room or rooms. Not only that, but because you’ll be living there too, they will need to be people that you feel comfortable with and can trust. That can be difficult, and it may mean that spare rooms will need to remain empty while you search for suitable occupants. This will affect the amount of rental income you can expect, and could make it less regular.
You should plan for this by buying a home that you know you can afford on your own. Lenders won’t consider potential future rental income when choosing whether and how much money to loan you for a home purchase, so if you can qualify for a mortgage, you should be able to afford it, at least in theory.
However, renting out rooms in your home may open you up to liability from a home insurance standpoint. If your roommate invites someone over and that person gets injured on the property, for example, you may find yourself involved in a lawsuit. If your home gets struck by lightning and burns to the ground, your possessions will be covered by your homeowner’s insurance, but your roommate’s stuff won’t. For these reasons, it’s a good idea to require lodgers to get their own renter’s insurance policies to cover their personal possessions and personal liability. You should also give them a lease agreement with clear expectations for things like pets and overnight guests.
Protect Your Home Systems and Appliances from Wear and Tear
One of the hidden expenses of having a roommate when you’re a homeowner is the wear and tear they can place on your home systems and appliances. If you buy a three-bedroom house and rent out the extra two bedrooms, that’s at least two more people cooking on your stove, using your refrigerator and taking showers with your hot water. If you rent to couples or a parent with children, the strain on your home systems and appliances multiplies.
But that’s not a good reason to forgo getting roommates, especially if you want company or need the extra money, or both. You can help protect parts of up to 21 home systems and appliances with a home warranty from American Home Shield®, even if you have roommates. What does a home warranty cover? American Home Shield offers plans to cover your home appliances, your home systems, or both. Appliance coverage will defray the cost of repairing or replacing components of up to 10 appliances, including your refrigerator, range, built-in microwave, dishwasher, garbage disposal, clothes washer and dryer, and more. The Systems Plan will cover components of up to 11 of your home systems, including your HVAC, electrical and plumbing.
You can also choose the Combo Plan, which combines both plans (up to a 30 percent discount), or pick and choose the coverage you want when you build your own plan. Our appliance plans cover duplicate appliances, so if you have multiple refrigerators, for example, you can still get both of them fixed under your home warranty. You can even add coverage for guest units, septic and well pumps, pools and spas, or electronics.
How Much is a Home Warranty?
Our flexible payment plans make it easy to fit the cost of a home warranty into your budget. When a covered item breaks, you can call our toll-free number or request service online. We will arrange to send a technician from our network of contractors to help with your issue.
You’ll pay a trade service call fee to the technician, and they will diagnose the problem and contact us. We will determine whether your problem is covered by your home warranty plan, and then the technician will repair or replace your equipment up to your plan limits. Buying a home warranty plan will benefit everyone who lives in your home, and it could help you keep your reliable tenants around longer because it will help you keep your home in good condition.
And when a roommate moves out, as roommates sometimes do, American Home Shield’s Rekey coverage allows you to affordably change the locks, minimizing your costs and ensuring that former residents no longer have access to your home.
Renting out spare rooms in your home is a great way to earn extra money. A home warranty from American Home Shield can help you keep more of that money in your pocket by defraying the costs of repairing home systems and appliances as they break down. With a home warranty on your side, your rental income can make a real difference in your life. Find out what’s covered in the plans offered by American Home Shield.