Funding house redecoration by taking on a lodger

With the whole house needing redecorating, new carpets and a host of other work it is hard to know where to start.

Finding the time and money to complete the work has been a bigger problem than we had anticipated.  Once the most urgent work is completed there is barely any time left to do the little things that make a house feel homely, like adding soft furnishings and paintings.

After four months the only furniture in our lounge is a manky old sofa-bed, and half the boxes are still unpacked.

So a few weeks ago we made a decision; to take on a lodger and use the money to accelerate the work we want to do.

It wasn’t easy to decide on having a stranger share the house.  Who would we pick?  Would we feel like we were back in a house-share again.

The decision was made simpler by the fact that we have a loft room with ensuite that we rarely use.

People take on lodgers for different reasons.  For some the kids have flown the nest and they want to have the company or security of someone in the house.  For others they want someone similar to them to chat to and go to the pub with.

For us, we really just wanted someone clean and tidy, who wouldn’t intrude on our life too much.  As a result we made the room almost self contained.  Installed a TV, put in a desk, chair and light and supplied clean sheets and towels.

The other decision we made was to choose a Monday to Friday lodger.  We specified this in the advert.  It means the lodger has to vacate the room every weekend so we can use it for family and friends.

Having a Monday to Friday lodger also means that at the weekends the whole house is ours again.  Given that we all work all week that means we really don’t feel like we’ve compromised on having our own house at all.

If you’re looking for a little extra cash for a spare room then taking on a lodger is a simple and easy way to do it.  Most of the money you get is tax free, under the government’s rent a room scheme.  And unlike with tenants, lodgers don’t have property rights so you can change your mind if you need to.

Next step was doing up the room.   More on that next week…

Starting to do up the house – a project per month

Since moving in we have wanted to get the house exactly how we wanted it.

But with so many jobs to do we had to prioritize.

First we are concentrating on the “must-do” structural work. Work that we have to do to keep the house from being damaged. That includes clearing blocked gutters and treating the woodworm on the ground floor.

Then we are tackling the basic comforts, like getting the TV working and at least one sofa.

After that it’s everything else.  And there is so much to do.

Every month we try and set aside enough cash to do at least one major job or major purchase.   We aim to do at least one significant job each and every month, and then fit in everything else around it.

See our list of projects and remaining jobs at the Project list for the first 6 months.