In a Nutshell: Retirees living alone can face undue financial stress and suffer from mental health issues associated with isolation. Silvernest is an online platform that matches retired homeowners with renters, helping to relieve financial burdens and provide opportunities for homeowners to socialize with others. On the other hand, Silvernest offers renters a nice home with rates that average $750 below national rent prices. With profile matching, a secure messaging service, expert advice, and even legal services, Silvernest makes finding a roommate easy for both parties.
After dealing with the grief of her father’s passing, Wendi Burkhardt found herself with a new concern. Her mother, who was relatively young, was living by herself for the first time in her adult life. Burkhardt’s life and career were in another town, and, other than keeping in touch with the occasional visit, she felt helpless in assisting her mother.
Then Burkhardt’s mom found a roommate.
“The transformation of what that did for Wendi’s mom from a social perspective was great,” said Kelly Hickey, Co-Founder, along with Burkhardt of Silvernest, an online platform that enables aging adults who are living alone in their homes to find compatible roommates.
In fact, the story of Burkhardt’s mother was what inspired the idea behind Silvernest, she said.
We recently spoke with Hickey about how Silvernest works and the many benefits it brings not only to aging adults but to their newfound roommates as well.
The company launched in 2015 with a modern twist on the seeking-roommate want ads of yesterday. Silvernest offers a proprietary formula to match mature adults who are living in their own homes with younger renters to share their space.
The platform helps mature adults find the most suitable roommates by setting up a profile that includes their preferences and guidelines for what they want their shared living situation to be. Silvernest also helps with questions along the way and can even help deal with issues that may arise after a roommate is in the home.
“Use Homesharing Harmony for expert guidance on creating a set of house rules, getting the most out of shared housing and even resolving roommate issues if they pop up,” according to the Silvernest website. “For legal questions or concerns, take advantage of Legal Concierge, a nationwide network of attorneys you can chat with up to 90 minutes for free.”
As Hickey mentioned, not only do aging adults gain financial and social benefits, but renters can find great places to live for below market value.
Extra Income Helps Relieve the Financial Burden That May Accompany Retirement
“About 90% of boomers want to age in their communities and in the home they are in,” Hickey said. “But, unfortunately, half of them have less than $50,000 in savings by the time of retirement. They don’t have the pensions my grandparents or parents had.”
She said this dilemma causes a great deal of financial strain on aging adults.
“There are 3.2 million empty rooms right now, according to Trulia. And Silvernest can help you utilize your empty rooms,” Hickey said. “And it doesn’t have to be a single-family home. We offer our service to townhomes and apartments too. If you have an extra room, there’s an opportunity to find a roommate.”
She said that, although rent prices can vary widely due to location and market, the average rent for Silvernest renters right now is $850 per month. This adds up to an additional $10,200 per year in income, she said.
Hickey admitted that popular 1980s sitcom, “The Golden Girls,” does serve as an inspiration for Silvernest.
“But it’s not just about ‘Golden Girls,” she said. “It’s about sharing your journey and your story with someone, and it’s about not being alone.”
And getting started with Silvernest is easy.
New users begin by creating a profile in which they describe themselves and what they are looking for in a housemate. And Silvernest homeowners can choose how they want to homeshare, including an option to reduce rent in exchange for help around the house.
“Based on the preferences you indicate in your profile, our system will automatically match you with compatible housemates in your area,” according to the Silvernest website. “Securely communicate with as many candidates as you like until you find your perfect housemate.”
For added security, Silvernesters can also request a background screening, which includes past evictions, from the potential new roommate.
Silvernest provides a whole suite of support services to help make things as easy as possible for members. For $24.99 per month, members gain access to Silvernest’s proprietary matching tool, the Homesharing Harmoney support experts, background check services, and a homesharing agreement creator.
Renters Can Find Great Accommodations for a Fraction of Market Prices
Silvernest’s benefits aren’t reserved just for the homeowner retirees. Renters can find fantastic accommodations, like-minded roommates, and below-market prices through Silvernest.
“Silvernest renters save an average $750 a month compared to market rent rates, while gaining companionship and a comfortable, desirable living space,” according to the Silvernest website.
Not bad, especially since rent reached an all-time high in June 2018 at an average of $1,405 per month, according to data from Yardi Matrix.
Hickey said most Silvernest renters are between 40 and 45 years old. And in some cases, younger people are the ones sharing their homes with older adults.
“It’s not a senior-to-senior service per se. We see a lot of intergenerational home sharing,” she said.
Renters can also take advantage of reduced rent options in exchange for work around the house. Hickey said this could be anything from handyman work to light housekeeping to pet sitting.
Joining Silvernest is free for renters, and the service facilitates automatic rent payments to reduce the burden of keeping up with the payment each month. For $29.99 potential renters can also sign up for an optional background check that is good for 90 days.
As do the homeowners, renters populate their Silvernest profiles with valuable details, including their location, budget, living preferences, and more.
Renters can visit the Silvernest website and search listings based on geographical location. Each listing includes a description from the homeowner about his or her living situation, details about the home, amenities, and whether the homeowner is interested in offering reduced rent in exchange for services.
Silvernest Relieves the Stress of Finding a Roommate and Garners Praise from Homeowners and Renters
Finding the right roommate can be difficult. Even close friends can make for bad roommates. That’s why Silvernest’s roommate matching service is so valuable for homeowners and renters alike.
Silvernest not only provides homeowners and renters with matches based on each of their preferences, but it provides a secure platform on which they can communicate with one another.
Both homeowners and renters are allowed to match and message with as many potential roommates as they would like, in pursuit of the best choice.
Silvernest has successfully matched many new housemates — creating new bonds, allowing people to share their stories, and helping both parties reap financial benefits.
Hickey recalled one instance in which a single mom opened her home to a senior renter. She said the situation worked out great, and it was like adding an “instant grandparent” to the family.
Other happy Silvernesters have offered their stories on the company’s website.
“My daughter suggested I try Silvernest to find my next housemate. Silvernest provided me with a great match — he is close to my age and we get along very well. Using this system was less stressful than my previous attempts at finding a housemate. Sharing my home eases my economic worries and I enjoy the companionship.” — John, Silvernest Homeowner
For 78-year-old Doris, Silvernest matched her up with a housemate young enough to be her son, according to her story on the Silvernest website. “It’s been such a blessing to have a male in the house — it provides me with a sense of comfort and safety,” she said.
The stories of happy homeowners and renters go on and on.
So, whether you’re a retiree looking to ease your monthly financial burden, a renter seeking an affordable and well-kept home, or just someone looking for someone to share your story with, Silvernest may have the solution for you.