A harmonious house share – 5 Key ‘House Rules’
Harmonious house shares depend on the people who you live with. According to conversations with people living in a house share successfully, these house sharers consider themselves lucky to live with the other person. Many of them talk about setting the ground rules early on and letting their housemates know what is important to them.
One of the great things about not being in your 20s anymore is that you know so much better what you like and dislike. Do you prefer your shared kitchen to be neat and tidy before going to bed? How much time do you need to yourself each day? Lots of little things we often don’t even think about until we realise someone else has completely different habits to us – and irritates us or at least makes us feel a little uncomfortable.
That is why we think it is important to talk about our preferences and little niggles in advance of moving into a house share, and ideally already when selecting your new housemate. Like in any other relationship there will for sure be differences – but you want to feel at ease and most of all at home in our new house share!
Here is a selection of questions to ask yourself and future housemates – paired with a bit of advice from other people – on how to create harmony in your successful house share:
1. Socialising & Me time
Especially now that many people work from home on a daily basis, how do you want to spend the rest of you day, by yourself or socialising over a glass of wine or a shared meal? How much time do you need to yourself each day to feel content?
If your idea of socialising differs, consider spending time together in the same space without having to talk or interact with each other all the time. It is proof of a trusting relationship if you can just quietly enjoy each other’s company and feel at ease.
Agree upfront what extent of social distancing you want to practice, both inside and outside the home, so each of you feels comfortable and safe.
2. Daily habits
Do you like to get up at the crack of dawn or are you more of a night owl? What are the things you enjoy doing most, on a daily or weekly basis? Do you like to have the music on in the background? Whatever it might be that makes your day enjoyable and is important to you, let your future housemates know in advance. A house share should never make you sacrifice things for others to the extent that you are giving up something you enjoy. Of course for there to be harmony in the house there will be a certain amount of compromise – but it shouldn’t be so big that you are starting to feel resentful. So be upfront!
The obvious one when sharing a home – and an easy one to bring up. Whether you like your home to be spotless or you are not too bothered by a heap of dirty dishes in the sink … check how aligned your views are around cleaning and tidiness. If you can agree on a regular cleaning schedule and don’t actually mind doing it – great. However, if cleaning is something you are worried about (and many people naturally are when starting to share) then our advice would be to hire a professional cleaner right from the start. Costs are minimal compared to your rent, and it can avoid so many arguments and resentment in a shared home. Plus, we think we’ve all earned a little ‘luxury’ over the years 😉
4. Having guests
Nothing is more likely to break the harmony you feel at home if you get this one wrong. Will you be having friends or family staying over from time to time? Will someone’s partner be staying with you regularly? Manage each other’s expectations in this area so it doesn’t come as a surprise. In case you are buddying up with someone and looking for a property together it might be worth finding a place with a spare room, even if it’s small.
5. Sharing expenses
Because finance is nearly always a consideration when house sharing, you have to address this one in order to have a harmonious house share. Apart from monthly bills which might already be included in your rent, discuss how you want to share food and other household bills. What seems to work for a lot of successful house shares is to split the cost of standard household and grocery items but to each pay for their little ‘luxury goods’, like a nice bottle of wine or expensive chocolates.
Hopefully this selection of tips and advice will help to define your own preferences more easily, and then communicate them to your potential housemates – to get you singing off the same hymn-sheet! Log into your account to add more information about your sharing preferences and to describe what you are looking for. Remember it’s all about finding like-minded people to make your home feel like home!
Add your own questions to the list and let us know your advice for a successful sharing experience. We always love to hear from you!
You might also enjoy hearing from Annamarie Pluhar, a US based advisor and expert on sharing housing. She literally wrote the book.
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