Choosing who you will live with is a hard choice. It’s like getting into a relationships, except you sleep in different rooms. Sometimes, it’s more of an arranged marriage in which you have no choice in the matter (like halls, for example, or living with international student who you won’t meet until move-in day). But often, there’s a choice involved. So when you make the choice of who you will live with in your next student house, be sure to consider some important things:
1) What are you looking for in a roommate?
This is kind of like the dating question: “what do you look for in a partner?”. You should ask yourself how much time you want to spend with the person, whether you’re looking for a friend or just someone to share a flat with, and what kind of personality traits you want in a roommate. Are you looking to live with all students or would you prefer living with working professionals? Does it matter to you whether you live with girls or guys, or a mixed house? Think about these things as your first set of questions when you start thinking about your future housemates.
2) How much interaction you are looking for?
Are you just looking for a place to crash? Will you be around much? Or are you looking for more of a friend? Someone to hang out with and go out with on occasion?
3) What kind of schedule do you keep? Do they keep?
Are you a night owl or a morning bird? Try to find someone as similar as possible to avoid sleep-disturbance issues. And consider how your schedules will match up.
4) How clean are you? Be honest with yourself. How clean are they?
Anybody who shares a house with others will tell you how important this is. Especially if you’re sharing bathrooms and kitchens with people. Keep your areas as clean as you wish, but with common areas, it’s important to set a plan for doing the washing up and hoovering.
5) What kind of furniture do you have/ do you need?
What is their furniture situation? Is the house furnished or unfurnished? What will have to be added to the house to complete the furnishings?
6) Negotiate and discuss bills.
How will the bills be paid? An even split or a proportional split (ie bigger room pays slightly more?) Be clear about what you expect and how you’d like to handle the bills, and then be consistent with your payments.
7) Food sharing: yes or no?
This one is important: be clear with your future flatmates how the food will be shared. Will you share all food? Perhaps just share the essentials like milk, butter, sugar, oil, etc.? Or maybe you prefer to just keep your food separate. Be sure to discuss this clearly and early.
If you can sort out these 7 items, you’re more likely to have a positive experience living with flatmates! Best of luck in the search!