Sharing a House: Who to Live with?
Making the decision of who to live with can be a tricky one, but now you have decided on sharing a house, let’s make sure you choose the right housemate/s. It can feel like you’re making a pretty big, long-term decision, without the facts because you haven’t done it before, am I right? Don’t worry though, after reading this, you will be well-informed about what sort of thing you should consider before moving in with someone. Sharing a house should be a bit of compromise, a lot of fun and be a safe place for you to relax and be yourself.
First things first, some of your best friends might be a nightmare to live with, but also great housemates don’t always make good friends. So, take off those rose-tinted glasses and let’s get stuck in.
Sharing a place can be a sensible economic decision as sharing the cost usually works out cheaper. Other positives are there’s always someone to talk to, it can be great fun to share your post-uni times with friends. So, by deciding to share accommodation you are going to have company in abundance, but perhaps a little less control.
We spoke to a variety of students and graduates about their experiences of living with people. The main themes where shared living hadn’t worked out well were…
Mess, noise, respect, chores, money, visitors, sharing
It sounds like things I got told off for doing as a child or naughty teen…
Sharing a house with anyone that isn’t me…
This is true. Prepare yourself that no matter who you live with, it will be different to living with a second you.
You might be very lucky and be able to live with your BFF, but other people don’t find this easy, and that’s ok. That doesn’t make them or you any less ‘good’, but you want to avoid ruining your friendships through living with the wrong ones, where possible.
Be open-minded and accepting that there will be differences in the way you live. Have a chat about what you love, hate, etc. before you move in, so you’re both aware of the absolute no no’s!
If there are things that may cause conflict with you and/or your culture, weigh up some scenarios. How would they make you feel? You may find you learn a great deal about different cultures, new experiences or ways of doing things. But, whilst it’s important to be open-minded, if it’s harming your happiness or well-being you may not be happy at home. Home should be the place you can totally be yourself, no matter who is there.
Do you want your daily routines to co-ordinate?
What do you do vs what do they do?
Your daily routines will be really important to consider.
If you had envisaged living on your own, but can’t afford it, the next best choice might be to live with someone who has a completely different routine? You will barely see each other but share the cost, win win.
If you like the company, perhaps it would be good if your work hours were similar so you can share some bonding time. You could schedule a dinner time?
What sort of ambience do you like?
A posh word for what sort of house you like living in
Are you Tilly so tidy or laidback Larry?
This is one of the main things people argued about when living together… So, Tilly’s – save yourself the grief, arguments and anxiety inducing unclean bins and share with someone who is tidy. Laidback Larry’s, avoid Tilly’s, stick in your own lane.
Noisy or quiet?
You may, like me, believe there is a time for both, which makes this one more of a trial and error and maybe something to chat to your potential housemate about…
You will probably get the vibe of what they’re like if you start asking the right questions. What music do you like?
Hot or cold?
Another thing people argued about was WHEN to turn the heating on… Try and set a month to agree when this can happen. It is expensive, so be sensitive if people are reluctant to turn it on but ultimately if it’s the deep mid-winter, your pipes will freeze, and you probably won’t get heating when you need it most anyway…
My advice, if you’re a cold person, buy a heater for your room. If you’re a hot person, loose, airy clothes, open your window in your room, go outside – it can often be the opposite temperature.
Tell them when your parents or 5 friends are coming…
Whether this is parents visiting or friends couch surfing, the considerate thing to do is tell your housemate before they arrive. If someone is going to stay for a longer period of time, over 3 nights, I would actually ask your housemate if it’s ok, and give them a fair warning. If you can, try not to use all the communal space all the time, your housemate might want to come and relax. If you put the shoe on the other foot, you would prefer the person you’re sharing a house with to let you know if they’re inviting their parents up!
In conclusion, communication is key. Constant communication will help you have a pleasant time living with some brilliant housemates. Be open to compromise at times but be sure you feel you have put your points across. Sharing a house feels like you’re in a relationship with your housemates, and you sort of are. If you choose to live with someone, you will be spending a lot of time with them, so think before you sign. We hope you will love it.
Just before you go, make sure you know all about shared tenancy agreements as there are certain rules and regulations you need to be aware of. Find out more info below