Did you know that there are over 13.5 million unused bedrooms in 10m homes across Australia?
Recently I met Ludwina Dautovic who has come up with a brilliant concept to try to put some of this untapped resource to good use.
Introducing – The Room Xchange, is a very clever idea, that now has a diverse client base of over 4,000, including elderly people who still live in their own homes.
It also offers a unique way to use your spare bedroom, so read on to learn more.
A year after Ludwina’s son left home, she started to see the empty bedroom as a cost centre.
Like so many people around the world, she tried Airbnb for a while, however, the four hours it took the get their entire home ‘hotel ready’ wasn’t worth the $50 per night they received from their guests.
A little while later, some of their children’s friends were travelling and looking for somewhere to stay- they were cash-poor but energy-rich and Ludwina’s mind started ticking over.
She offered her guests the opportunity to live rent free if they helped her out around the home for an agreed amount of hours each week.
The arrangement worked very well and with multiple people – ultimately leading a few years later to the vision of a platform that connects housemates looking for somewhere to live with households who have a spare room they want to rent.
The clever twist is that The Room Xchange enables the household to replace rent with household help – they call it RENT OFFSET and it’s brilliant!!
The Room Xchange is Australias first verified house sharing platform, and all users must have a Digital iD by Australia Post which creates a safe and secure community.
Their profiles make it easy to match you with a housemate based on personality, values and lifestyle, (a bit like a dating app!) and you can choose the more traditional form of renting or a rent offset – it’s up to you!
Now 5 years on, The Room Xchange boasts a database of over 4,000 users, and a diverse range of people who use the platform to connect with their tribes.
I love how they say it: “Find your people; feel at home.”
Ludwina said: “We seem to attract middle-class houses that offer a more homely environment for our house mates. Once they’ve found their tribe, they genuinely create a solid connection with the people they live with.
Every house has its own unique brand – once you find the brand that fits you, whether it’s energetic, engaging or a quiet sanctuary, you’ve found your people and you find your home.
Think of it this way – if you’re in your 20’s and looking for a share house, you’ll find it anywhere.
But if you’re a woman in your 50’s and wanting to share a home with other women in their 50’s you’ll find them on our platform.”
The comprehensive profiling system covers the general questions such as food likes and dislikes and whether you’re a cat person or not There’s also a section where you can write something about yourself, what you’re looking for in a house share, and whether it’s a rent or rent offset arrangement.
So where does that fit into things for elderly people?
When I heard Ludwina present, what stood out was the opportunity for elderly people living alone in the family home. This is a common scenario, fraught with potential problems and challenges for not only the elder person but their families and carers who are often not in the same geographical area.
The Room Xchange’s model, allows the elder person to live in his or her own home for longer, and here’s how:
- Unoccupied rooms are a cost centre, or at the very least, wasted space that be better utilised creating benefits for the elder person
- Household help can be requested in return for accommodation
- The question of safety around bringing a person into your home is addressed by The Room Xchange’s Digital iD verification process. Every user has to provide a form of government iD to verify that they are who they say they are; including the household.
It’s not just the elderly who can benefit. Ludwina says there are broader groups of people who are seeing the advantages of sharing their spare bedroom.
“Considering we’re in the midst of a rental and housing crisis, along with an interest rate hike, getting access to millions of spare bedrooms can create huge social benefits that can help support community organisations and their cohorts find housing solutions for their users.”
What a brilliant concept for people who are struggling with the high cost of living but can contribute a few hours a week doing jobs in return for a room!
Here are the Room Xchange Facts you need to know:
The Room Xchange is Australia’s first verified house sharing platform
Every user must be verified through Australia Post’s digital identification process
Profiles make it easy to connect people based on personality, values and lifestyle
It’s free to register with The Room XChange, create your profile and to get verified
Easy to use templates to help you with interview questions, house share agreements and more
Over 40 blog articles on the website to support you and help you better understand the process
The Room Xchange Podcast – Helping You Rent Better which is available on all major podcast directories
You can choose Rent or Rent Offset and they even have a Rent Offset Calculator to help you work that out
If you want to hear from Ludwina Dautovic LISTEN to the Podcast.
You can also connect with her on Linkedin, and she hosts regular Twitter Spaces events where you can listen in and ask questions.
To join one, follow @TheRoomXchange on Twitter.
@The Room Xchange is their social media handle across all platforms.
Finally, make sure you head over to The Room Xchange to get started! CLICK HERE