It’s not just the traditional province of students any more. Many of us are now sharing a house, either with friends or people we have never met before. Whether it’s buying a property together or renting, the benefits of lower rents and shared costs are a fantastic way to afford a place of your own and find some independence.
Keeping the house harmonious, however, can be one of the biggest challenges that sharers face.
Here are our top tips for getting it right:
- Create a Set of Rules
It might sound draconian or against the spirit of your house karma but setting a few ground rules at the outset can save a lot of problems. It doesn’t have to be far reaching and restrictive but can include things like creating a rota for when the cleaning gets done and who is going to be responsible.
- Respect Shared Space
For any house share, there is going to be a space that is your own and other parts that everyone uses, such as the kitchen and living room. One of the biggest causes of fallouts among housemates is people leaving areas in a mess when they have used them . So, if you have some friends round for a drink to watch the footie, make sure you clean up after yourselves when the match is finished. It saves a lot trouble and means you don’t build up petty resentments that will come back to haunt you.
- Sharing Means Compromise
Even if you know your flatmates prior to moving into your home, you are going to have to compromise at some point. We all do. That means seeing the world from someone else’s point of view and being flexible in your outlook. This is easier for some rather than others, but it’s something that all those sharing need to work on.
- Respect Privacy
Living on top of each other can be fun at first but there may be times when you need your own personal space and privacy. Once place that is usually sacrosanct is the bedroom – don’t wander in uninvited and try not to ‘borrow’ things without asking first. Some people are okay with a free for all but others can take umbrage if you start messing with their things.
- Design Communal Spaces Together
Shared spaces need input from everyone in the house. That can include what furniture you have in the living room to the equipment you have in the kitchen. Individual housemates may have things they can add so you need to be aware that these are for communal use but also treat items with care and attention.
- Have Regular Get Togethers
It can be quite easy to find yourself isolated even in a house share. You have your work to get on with and your own friends and family to engage with. Organising regular events inhouse such as a shared meal or film night can keep you all in touch that little bit more and ensure that small gripes and complaints don’t get any bigger.
- Don’t Get Upset Over the Small Stuff
Finally, it doesn’t pay to get too upset over small annoyances. Someone not replacing the toilet roll or leaving some packaging on the kitchen counter when they’ve finished their meal are not things you should be falling out over. Living together often means that you need to take a chill pill and a deep breath when minor annoyances occur.
A house share can be brilliant if you get the right people together but you still need to be flexible and keep the needs of your fellow cohabitants in mind. With more of us doing it later in life, a few simple rules can go a long way to creating a harmonious atmosphere.
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