Sarah, a Life Coach, and Eva, an Advertising Executive, share a flat in Highgate, North London.
1. How long have you shared a flat together?
2 ½ years
2. How did you get to know each other before flat sharing?
Sarah: We were already good friends before we decided to share and had a joint group of friends we spent time with.
Eva: We had also been on a weekend trip together, that was our first ‘sharing experience’ and we had a great time!
3. Where were you living before you decided to share?
We were both renting a flat in London living by ourselves.
4. What made you decide to share?
Sarah: I was considering a career change, moving to self-employment, and wanted to reduce my outgoings but still live in a nice area. Also, there was an element of companionship and having someone around. At the same time, I didn’t want to share with a random person, and we both wanted to spend our money on travel, food and experiences, rather than housing.
Eva: I was in a similar situation to Sarah, I wanted a slight career change and study for a qualification on the side, and I knew I probably needed to cut down on my cost of living at some stage. I hadn’t really given it much thought though until Sarah sent me a text one day saying she was considering sharing again. And I immediately thought to myself ‘maybe we should live together!’ Well, two months later we were ready to move!
Now that we have been sharing a flat for more than 2 years we really like it and the fun and companionship has become much more important than financial considerations.
5. Did you have any difficulties agreeing the area in which to live?
Not really, we created a shortlist of areas and other criteria which were important to us – budget, transport links, distance to work, etc. Then we went and looked at the different areas we had selected, walked around the neighbourhoods and agreed a final list. By doing so it also made us realise that we’ve got quite similar taste and lifestyles we want.
When it came to finding a place it was pretty amazing, we only saw 2 flats and both immediately liked the very first one. This is now our flat and we love it! It has a big lounge, lots of light, 2 bathrooms and a nice terrace – which is an upgrade for both of us.
6. Do you have any house rules or any sort of agreement between you?
Eva: We agreed to have a cleaner and how we split the bills. Cleaning is often a big issue when people share, so in comparison it’s a very small investment but removes a lot of stress.
7. What is the best thing about sharing?
Sarah: I think it’s the company. Especially now that I work for myself it’s great to have someone to talk to at the end of the day. We are not doing things together all the time but we spend time in the flat when we are both at home or go for a meal at one of the local pubs or restaurants.
Eva: What I like most is that we have similar interests and motivate each other by talking about our day and coming up with new ideas and solutions. We sometimes cook together or watch a box set with a nice glass of wine. It’s all very easy and you can do things spontaneously, rather than arranging to meet up with a friend a long time in advance. And it looks like we are not fed up with each other yet because we’ve been on 3 more holidays together since we started sharing!
8. Do you have any tips or advice for other people thinking of sharing?
Sarah: Get clear in your own mind what is important to you. When you then have a discussion with the other person you immediately see if your lifestyles are compatible. How much privacy you need, the level of interaction, how much socialising and partying you want.
Eva: I’d say be honest about your needs and discuss things openly before you move in. It’s very different to sharing when you are a student because you know what you want and you can be selective about who you want to share with.