Boarders: real estate’s perfect strangers

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Editor's note: Inman News welcomes Mary Umberger, a longtime real estate writer, to our roster of accomplished columnists. She describes her new weekly column as a "straight-shooting, tales-from-the-trenches look at the ins and outs of residential real estate." We hope you enjoy it! Boarders -- once the stuff of Depression-era cartoons and 1950s TV sitcoms -- are back. It's a sign of our economic times that more homeowners, looking to relieve financial stress, appear to be looking for someone to occupy a spare bedroom in exchange for monthly rent. And although having "roommates" is nothing new, recession-era realities are redefining the players and the living arrangements."Ever since last August or September, when the (stock market) crash really hit, people who had never thought of it before started looking at that extra bedroom as a source of income," said Jacqueline Grossman, home-sharing coordinator for the Interfaith Housing Center of the Northern Subu...