Most of us have been there. At one point or another, you may find yourself left in a position where it would make more sense financially to get a roommate. Either your friend has agreed to move in with you, or you have placed an ad in the paper for someone who is also desperately looking. You’ve found your new roommate. But now what?
Getting a roommate can be a big change for some. However, with the right amount of planning, you can ensure that you have a pleasant experience.
Plan, Plan, Plan
Living with anyone can be difficult, especially in a limited space such as an apartment or shared room. The most important thing and the key to success in having a roommate are to make sure that you’re both on the same page before you move in together. This will prevent MANY problems down the road. Here are some things to consider:
Whose name will be on the lease? How will payment be arranged? Will you both be paying your landlord separately, or will one of you be paying the other? Making sure that rent is paid can be the most stressful thing about living with someone, especially if they’re a stranger.
Sit down and discuss beforehand how payment will be made each month. Talk openly to each other, and find a way that works well for both of you. Remember, it’s better to be safe than sorry, and talking beforehand is about the safest route you could go.
What kind of furniture will each person be bringing? How much is there? Will it all fit? These are very important questions that need to be addressed, so there aren’t any arguments or scrambling when moving day comes.
While it is not necessary to divvy out chores beforehand, it is smart to decide HOW you will be splitting up the chores. Agree on a strategy, and let that play out for a few weeks to see how it works. If you or your roommates aren’t fully satisfied, it can always be amended.
There are a few different ways to go about chores. A chore wheel is a helpful device that rotates the responsibilities. This may work for you, or you may wish to just see what you both don’t mind doing, and stick to that. Either way, discussing how chores will be split up will definitely prevent many arguments.
There is nothing worse than having an extended guest stay at your place when you don’t want them there. It is especially trying if they are not paying rent or if they are leeching off of your supplies. It makes for a very uncomfortable living situation.
To prevent this, make some rules beforehand that deal with guests. How long can a guest stay? How late can they stay? What kind of notification should there be if someone wants to have a guest? Again, discussing these things beforehand will prevent conflict from arising in the future.
A great way to find out what your roommate likes is by finding out what they don’t like! Discussing your pet peeves before you move in will help to understand each other better. Imagine that you absolutely HATE it when there are dirty dishes in the sink. When your roommate knows this, they will most likely avoid doing it. By keeping in mind what each other’s dislikes are, you can ensure that you will get along.
Finally, it may be a good idea to write out a contract, independent of the lease, that states some of these things. Although it may not be legal tender, you could still use it to say that your roommate violated the contract and must amend what they did wrong. It can be a helpful tool and could help assist you with making sure that things run smoothly between you and your roommate.
The most important thing to remember when you have a roommate is to understand each other. You will most likely be cramped into a small space together for an extended period of time. Plan it out right, and you can avoid much of the conflict that usually arises in such living situations.