So, here are a few things you should do when you’re on the hunt for a housemate.
1. Look at your friendship group
The first place you should look is in your friendship group.
These are the people who you choose to spend your time with, so it’s logical that one of them could be the perfect housemate for you.
A good tip is to choose someone with whom you’ve enjoyed travelling in the past. That way, you’ll already know how grumpy your potential housemate can be in the morning before you move in with them.
2. Or disregard your friendship group
Your friends might be amazing people, but that doesn’t mean you’ll be able to live together harmoniously.
You should never apologise for not wanting to live with a friend. Simply let them know that you value their friendship too much to put that kind of pressure on it.
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3. Check out other people’s housemates
Renters tend to move around a bit, and in most social circles, there’s normally at least one person looking for a housemate.
Listen to what your friends say about their housemates. If they love coming home to their home-cooked meals and beautiful vegetable garden, store that away for future reference.
Same goes if they have an annoying dog and never pay the rent on time. The people who currently live with your potential housemates have all the information you need, so listen closely.
4. Be honest in your advertisement
There’s no point in advertising a room for a quiet housemate who keeps to themselves when you’d actually prefer a housemate who chats to you while you cook dinner.
If you want a fun and bubbly housemate, say so.
5. Check references
Always check a potential housemate’s references, or, if you know someone they used to live with, ask this mutual friend for some honest feedback.
6. Avoid moving in with complete strangers
You’re not always going to find the perfect housemate in your extended friendship group, but, if you have to advertise and find a random person, make sure they have references and be sure to Google them.
This is not paranoid behaviour; it’s just making sure they are who they say they are.
7. Take your time
It’s a sad fact of renting that renters are often up against the clock when finding housemates – eager to find replacements before the next round of rent is due.
But you should try your hardest to allow enough time to find a decent housemate. You don’t want to be moving in with someone just because you really don’t want to have to cover the rent solo next month.
It’s no exaggeration to say that finding the wrong housemate is worse than one or two months of limited cash flow.
8. Be on the look out for red flags
If you get a bad feeling about someone, don’t ignore it.
Thinking that we’re being a bit silly, sometimes we try to ignore our intuition. But if you get negative feelings about someone when you’ve only just met them, it’s unlikely that feeling will go away.
It’s better to trust your instincts than move in with someone you’re unsure about.
9. Have the awkward money talk
You need to know where your future housemate stands on finances.
You should be wary of anyone who is in between jobs or can’t give you a decent answer as to where their money comes from.
When the rent is due, you’ll thank yourself that you picked a housemate with a steady job, rather than an unreliable, fun-loving creative who lumps you with their share of the rent.
10. Be honest about yourself
If you’re a smoker or you play drums and have band practice in the garage five days a week, you need to make that known to your potential housemates.
There’s no point in trying to hide anything about yourself, because they’ll find out eventually, and you’ll be back to square one.
11. Take the pressure down
Don’t let anyone talk you into moving in with them. Your home should be a space where you feel safe and relaxed.
This is particularly important in share houses where you may get along well with one housemate but not another. You won’t always love everyone you live with, but you at least need to be able to tolerate them.
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