When we think about house sharing, scenes from our student days might spring to mind. Dirty dishes in the kitchen sink, waiting for someone to finish their shower … but also a great deal of fun, a feeling of freedom, opportunity and friendship – all of which made the time so special and memorable.
More and more people in their 50s, 60s and older are sharing houses and benefiting from the sense of community and fun that comes with it. Many people find that it gives them a renewed sense of purpose and opportunity as well as new friends to share the little pleasures of life with. Unsurprisingly, statistics confirm that living with others contributes to a longer and healthier life.
If the idea appeals to you, here are a few tips we have gathered from successful sharers to make living together a success:
1. Have your own bathroom
If you can, look for a place with your own or en-suite bathroom. According to the Cohabitas Mature House Sharing Report 83% of respondents rank this as one of the two most important features when sharing in later life. What might seem like something hard to find or a bit of a luxury is well worth looking for to give you that extra bit of privacy and freedom to use the shower whenever you feel like it.
2. Agree the house rules early on
Discuss how you will split the bills, what TV and broadband package to get and whether you want to share grocery shopping and have meals together from time to time. Think about having a cleaner or a gardener – a small expense in the grander scheme of things that can remove a lot of tension and frustration when sharing.
3. Be honest about your needs
The great thing about not being in your 20s anymore is that you know much better what you like and don’t like. Be honest with your house mates about what is important to you and talk about it. Do you need a few hours to yourself every day? Or doing your laundry on a certain day of the week? Or simply talk about your day for half an hour when you get home? Tell others and make an effort to accommodate their needs in turn.
4. Make room for visitors
Will your kids or friends be staying over from time to time? It might be worth finding a place with a spare room that can be used for visitors and as a study or laundry room when nobody is staying. We love the idea of renting it out on AirBnB when it’s not in use, earning some extra money and making new friends abroad.
5. Look for similar values
The second most important feature people state is finding like-minded people to share with. Even though you might have different interests and hobbies look for someone with similar values and a similar mindset. That cole mean you're both/all looking to create that special bond that might create a new friendship for life. On the other hand, you may just want a quiet life and having identified your needs (point 3) expect flat mates to be respectful of your space and preference not to engage too much.
If you have a success story to share or would like to contribute more tips and advice contact us.