Remember the tv show, The Golden Girls? (Gen-Xers and Geriatric Millennials, I’m looking at you).
The premise of the show was simple: rather than live alone, four single women share a house together in Miami.
And while many of us joke about someday living with our besties ala Dorothy, Rose, Blanche, and Sophia, four women have made the dream a reality…with their 3 dogs, two hamsters, a gecko, and 5 kids in tow.
A group of single moms in Tacoma Park, Maryland bought a house together to cut down on expenses and raise their children together.
And in doing so, have created their very own village.
Like so many people in this country, Holly Harper and Herrin Hopper were unable to afford to buy a house. They were both recently divorced, living in individual apartments, and tired of paying rent. To top it off, they were 4 months into the soul-crushing isolation of the pandemic.
So they decided to pool their resources.
In an interview with the Today Show, Herrin recounts:
“Holly and I said, ‘Why not do this?’ Within a weekend we found this house.'”
The women bought a 4-story farmhouse, divided up into 4 separate units.
It includes common spaces for laundry, storage, and a large yard for all the kids to play.
They posted an ad in the neighborhood Listserv, saying in part,
“Hey, Two single moms bought a house. We have a basement Unit to rent.
If you want to rent from us, just know that it’s going to be a thundering herd, messy and wild, and we have kids.”
As soon as Leandra Nichola saw it, she knew she wanted in. Holly and Herrin offered the single mom of 2 the option to buy into the house.
“We offered her the basement unit, two bedrooms for her and her two kids, with an option of, if it’s working, she can buy into The Siren House and that will help her build equity and stability in her own life. So now we have three-part ownership.”
Additionally, they rented out the fourth suite to a fellow friend and single mom, Jen Jacobs.
The financial benefits speak for themselves. Holly shares that she’s saved about $30,000.
“My rent versus my mortgage is down like 800-1000 dollars a month and I feel so much more stable now that I’m a homeowner again.
Overall, I think I’ve estimated [saving] about 30,000 dollars.”
In addition to saving money on rent, the women are also saving money by sharing all the things. Instead of owning one of everything, they pool their belongings; sharing everything from gym equipment, to tools, to small appliances.
And while the financial perks are obvious, Holly says that the social and emotional benefits are also life-changing. Because it’s not just the costs that the women share, it’s life.
In an essay she wrote for Insider, Holly states:
“From car-sharing and carpooling; potlucks and small favors; built-in babysitting and dog walking; sharing expenses; having friends to ugly-cry with and unlimited, on-demand hugs; and feeling safe, loved, and grounded in the family — I’ve never been happier.”
However, it’s not just the moms who are living their best lives, the kids are too.
Ranging in age from 9 – 14 years, they have built-in buddies and always have someone to play with.
It doesn’t hurt that the “Siren House” (as it’s been dubbed) also comes complete with a “15-foot trampoline, parkour slackline, bike, four scooters, two hammocks, sleds, stand-up paddleboards, camping gear, and inflatable pool.”
Sounds pretty perfect to me.
For all of the naysayers who question if buying a house together was the right move, the women unequivocally say “YES!”
They made certain they had a contract in place that provides flexibility if one of them wants to opt-out while simultaneously protecting the other owners.
Additionally, the women have routine “homeowners meetings” where they talk about practical things such as yard work and repairs, usually over a bottle of champagne.
And it’s obviously working. None of them have any plans of moving any time soon.
Not only have the women found a solution to the lack of affordable housing so prevalent in this country but they have forged a sisterhood for life while doing it.
And it couldn’t have come at a better time.
Holly told Today that this all came about at a time when she felt her life had been burned to the ground and she had nothing left. So, she burned the rulebook of life along with it.
“You can do whatever you want. Burn the rulebook of life and just look at it differently.”
And what has risen out of the ashes, is a life she never expected. But sometimes, those are the very best ones lived.