Unemployed homeowners desperate to make mortgage payments so they can keep their homes, crowds of financially strapped sellers who simply can’t sell in a market full of REOs, savage speculators, and skittish homebuyers are now turning to renting rooms to weather this economic storm. To entice boarders, homeowners are taking steps to upgrade their property with additional amenities (hedonic qualities) such as cable, wireless internet, and keeping the home in a particularly clean and fresh-looking condition. However, homeowners intent on renting must conduct a high level of due diligence when vetting potential roommates as scammers are using this opportunity to profit off first-time landlords.

first tuesday take: Roommates aren’t just for creative college students and industrious migrant neighborhoods these days. In this diminished economic climate, pooling resources with others who need shelter by an offer to cohabitate property may be the best way for cash-strapped homeowners to stay one step ahead of foreclosure. The popularity of rational rental arrangements, such as doubling up in increasingly empty four-to-five bedroom McMansions which are not realistically priced to sell but are available at rental rates one-third the full cost of ownership, is going to drive up vacancy rates in apartments through 2012. This condition is no surprise if you owned rentals in the early 1990s, and is well known to immigrants starting a new life in California.

Re: Homeowners turn to roommates in recession,” from the Chicago Tribune