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Sharing a House with Roommates? How to Ensure That You All Get Along

Sharing a home with another person might seem like a good idea when the person moves in with you, but after a while, it can be a nightmare if the two of you don’t get along. You have to adjust to the schedules that each of you have and tolerate friends. There could be little annoyances that the person exhibits that drive you crazy and make you wonder why you thought about having a roommate, but when you think of saving money on the bills, then it can quickly change your mind.

Following the Rules

It’s not school, but you do need to set up a few rules to follow in the home. These rules should be ones that are easy for both of you to follow and that don’t interfere with normal routines during the day. One of the rules that you might want to have in place is that you need to be home at a certain time at night or call to let the other person know that you’ll be gone all evening. Other rules and regulations could revolve around cleaning, the noise in each room and how to prepare meals.

For safety and commitment reasons, it might even be best to have these rules typed out into some form of contract and then have everyone sign them. This is especially important if one of the members in the house owns the house. Otherwise, it might be a good idea to have the rules framed and posted somewhere so that everyone can be continuously reminded.

Saving Money

If you’re like most people, then you want a roommate so that you can save money on the bills that you have to pay. Set up a plan so that each of you splits the bills in half. Monitor the heating and cooling bill and other bills that might increase depending on the usage each month. You should also make sure that your water heater is functioning properly by having a specialist, such as one from HELP Plumbing, Heating, Cooling and Electric, so that you can make sure that any malfunctions are causing you and your roommates to pay more than necessary. Other than that, though, if you see an increase, then try to determine who used more during the month, such as someone taking more showers or using more lights in the home. This can help to prevent a lot of fighting throughout the month. However, make sure that you aren’t too accusative when you approach your roommate about using too much water. Perhaps you use a lot of electricity—more than they do—and so just make sure that everyone knows that it’s important to be respectful of everyone and their share of the bill payment.

Cleaning Up Your Space

Each person has space to keep clean, but there is also common space in the home that needs to be cleaned as well. These areas include the kitchen, bathroom and living room. You could choose rooms that you want to clean each week or clean together one day so that everything gets done. You should also have certain standards set—such as not leaving dishes piled up in the sink or not leaving personal stuff in the living room for too long.

Personal Hygiene

There is nothing worse than going in the bathroom to see that there is no toilet paper or no dish detergent to wash dishes. When you share a home, you share the toiletries. One way to prevent a lack of items that are needed is for each of you to buy the products that you like. If something runs out, then you’ll know whose it is and that it’s that person’s responsibility to replace the stock.

Yard Work

If you own the house and are letting roommates move in with you, you should consider beforehand whether or not you will be doing all of the yard work yourself or if you’ll be asking help from your tenants. If the ladder, then you should make sure that that is made clear to them before they move in. It might even be something that you put down in the contract. However, if they’ll be helping you out in that way, then it’s a good idea to make it worth it to them. Perhaps offer a small monetary discount off their rent for every hour that they help with the yard doing things such as pulling weeds, mowing the lawn and anything else that needs to be don—this way it is completely their choice and they’re rewarded for it if the do.

Sharing a home with someone is not all peaches and cream. It can be a challenge, especially if you have opposite personalities. Sit down together to discuss rules of the home and what’s expected before moving in and even a few months later to see if everything is going as planned.

Hannah Whittenly

Hannah Whittenly is a freelance writer and mother of two from Sacramento, CA. She graduated from the University of California-Sacramento with a degree in Journalism.

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