Are you considering moving in with a housemate? Sharing your home with others has a multitude of benefits. As well as saving a massive chunk of money on rent (especially with the cost of living the way it is right now!), cohabitating with another person can create a warm, lived-in, welcoming and inviting home environment that simply can’t be achieved when you choose to live alone.
But with so many dodgy people out there, how do you know you are moving in with someone you can trust? Here are our top tips on how to find the right housemate, and how to make sure that your shared living arrangements with them will be as comfortable and harmonious as possible.
What is a Housemate, Anyway?
A housemate, unsurprisingly, is someone you choose to share your home with. However, despite the friendly-sounding term, a housemate is quite often a stranger! Indeed, it’s not uncommon to move in with people you are not actually ‘mates’ with IRL (in real life). As such, bunking with new acquaintances has become somewhat the norm in the housing world – especially when you’re renting.
While the concept of sharing your most intimate space with someone completely unknown might sound bizarre to some, if you choose the right housemate, it can work exceptionally well. In fact, choosing to live with a close friend, on the other hand, can end in disaster. This is because the closeness of your existing friendship can make it difficult to set the boundaries that are required to live harmoniously together – particularly in an enclosed space like an apartment or unit.
On the flipside, if your housemate selection is a perfect match, you can enjoy the benefits of cohabitation with a neutral connection, while also having the freedom to live comfortably in your own (albeit shared) space.
What Personal Qualities Should a Good Housemate Have?
So, what makes a good housemate? Ultimately, while your connection will be for the most part quite neutral, often the qualities that make for the best home-sharing buddies are the ones that you’d expect to find in your friends. But in the case of housemates, these qualities are even more critical – particularly in the sense of making your shared living arrangements as bearable and comfortable as possible.
Some of the personal attributes every good housemate should possess include:
- Open, honest, and transparent communication.
- Conflict resolution abilities.
- Negotiation skills, and the ability to compromise.
- A willingness to pull their weight around the home by assisting with household chores and tasks.
- Neatness, tidiness and cleanliness, especially in communal areas.
- Respect and consideration for the space, as well as others around them.
- A good sense of personal hygiene – no one wants a stinky housemate!
How Can I Find a Suitable Housemate?
Often, we find people to move in with through our friends or social networks. More common today, though, is to connect with other housemate hunters via online forums and purpose-built websites and apps, as well as social media community groups. Yes, moving in with a stranger from the internet may sound like a strange and slightly dangerous thing to do. But if you vet your new bunker buddy properly, home-sharing with someone new can be a life-enriching experience that can connect you with someone you may never have met otherwise.
One of these online communities is the popular Facebook platform affectionately known as ‘Fairy Floss Real Estate’. Other frequently used online locations to find housemates include websites such as ‘Flatmate Finders’ or ‘Room Xchange’, for example. Each of these online forums allows existing tenants to advertise rooms for rent within their shared space. The posted room listings will most often include photos of the space, as well as a social profile detailing the existing resident/s. If the room, property amenities and location, and perhaps most importantly, the housemate’s social profile sounds compatible with your needs, you can apply to meet them in person. In many cases, this requires you to attend a ‘housemate interview’ of sorts.
The Housemate Interview: Getting to Know One Another Before You Move In
If you’re planning to move in with someone new, often, they will ask you to visit the home before signing on to the lease. This is an opportunity for you not only to check out the property but for the existing tenants to check you out! This will allow them – and you – to ascertain if you will be compatible to live together and if you think you will work well as housemates. Keeping a checklist of essential housemate qualities and attributes in mind can help a great deal. As well as this, you’ll often get an intuitive ‘feel’ for the person you are meeting. Trust your gut here. If you feel comfortable and at ease around them, it’s likely that living together will work well.
Of course, actually cohabitating with an acquaintance you have met online, and only seen in person very briefly, can be a totally different story. People will often put up a front when you first meet them, and it can be hard to gauge if that’s what they’ll really be like when you move in. That is why it is so important to vet the person you are about to move in with as closely and thoroughly as you can and to arm yourself with a mental checklist of what you want your ideal housemate to look like.