Moving into a share house is one of the most popular solutions to entering an increasingly competitive and expensive property market. However, before moving into your first share house there are a number of things you have to consider to ensure you do it right. The difference between a good share house experience and a bad one is stark. At its best it allows you to share the burden of rent and responsibilities with a group of like minded friends. At its worst it can be a source of constant stress about a failure to equally contribute to rent and household responsibilities. To avoid the pitfalls of an unpleasant share house experience it’s important to plan ahead, reflect on your own situation and put the time in to find an opportunity that meets your needs. In this article we will cover all of the essential factors that contribute to an excellent share house experience.
Should I live in a share house?
The first question to answer before you begin your search for the right share house, is whether a share house is the right option for you. Share houses are particularly common in large cities and densely populated regions where property prices are high, houses are highly sought after and there is an endless supply of potential tenants. In these environments, share houses are a product of necessity as rental prices are far too high for most individuals to cover on their own. However, they’re also a way of finding friends and community within a potentially isolating urban lifestyle. Share houses are also a common trend in more sparsely populated areas where property prices are not so prohibitive but where social connection is highly sought after.
As such, determining whether a share house is right for you begins with the reflexive question: what do you need? If you just need accommodation, but price is not an issue and you’re not seeking social connection, then living on your own is likely the optimal choice. If you are needing to cut down on rental costs to meet your budget or you would like the opportunity to live with others, then shared living through a share house arrangement is the right option for you.
What do you look for in a Share house?
Now that you’ve determined that a share house is the right fit for you, the next part is finding one that will best suit a combination of your needs. Each person will have their own set of priorities which will determine how they should approach this search. In general, the four main factors that you should consider are the people that you will live with, the location of the house, the amount and type of storage available and the costs.
The house mates that you live with will have an enormous impact on your experience in a share house. It will determine how clean your house is, how evenly and effectively household responsibilities are divided, how much time you spend in common areas, how enjoyable that time is, whether bills are paid on time and whether or not your home is used to host social gatherings. Ultimately, the people you live with will have a strong influence on whether your home is a source of joy or a source of frustration in your life. Therefore your housemates should be one of the top considerations when looking for a share house. If you have friends that you are moving out with, then this process will be easier. While it’s important to give thought to whether these are the types of friends you want to see everyday, it’s generally an easier adjustment than moving out with strangers.
If you are planning to move into a share house with people you don’t know, it’s important to have some good communication with them beforehand to ensure your expectations for the household are compatible. This is generally done in the form of a casual interview, a conversation over coffee or potentially through online communication. Whichever format you choose, make sure you ask questions that are important to you. Whether you care about cleanliness, socialising, productivity or the level of noise, make sure you make your priorities clear up front. It might take a few attempts to find the right housemates for you. Don’t stress, it’s worth the extra time looking for a compatible group as it will influence your day to day well being.
Another important factor to consider in a share house is its location. Studies have shown that the amount of time spent commuting each day can have a powerful effect on a person’s happiness. Unless you have a very good reason not to, it’s generally advisable to live close to the places you visit most often. Whether that’s work, university, family, friends, sports teams or recreational spaces, being close to the things you love can make your life convenient and comfortable. However, this can be a lot easier said than done. If you’re living in a metropolitan area, often houses are so in demand that you have to look beyond your preferred region to find something available.
The key is to understand your priorities and to balance them as best you can. If your location is more important to you than costs or housemates, then you may have to look for different people or houses in a different price range than you originally planned. If your budget is the top priority, then you may have to sacrifice your ideal location and accept a longer daily commute. In these cases, finding a house that is well connected to public transport routes can make this sacrifice a lot easier.
Storage might not be the most obvious consideration in a share house, but the amount and type of space that you have available will affect how comfortable you can live there. In-built wardrobes, walk-in closets, linen closets, garages, basements and attics are all elements which can significantly expand the amount of storage space available in your share house. Without any of these, you may have to buy additional storage, such as freestanding cupboards and wardrobes, which can eat into the square footage of your room and home. If you are someone who owns a lot of things or prefers to have a lot of available space, then storage is an important factor to keep at the front of your mind when searching for a share house. If you find a great option that meets all of your priorities except it is lacking decent storage space, luckily there is a solution. Short or long term storage units can help keep your belongings safe without the need to sacrifice your ideal home. Whether you’ve got some antique furniture that has been passed on through your family, or you have an impressive collection of a beloved item that you aren’t ready to part with, storage facilities are an easy, affordable and convenient option.
The final factor that you should consider when moving into a share house is perhaps the most obvious — cost. One of the core motives for communal living arrangements is to lower the cost of living. Sharing rent and utilities can dramatically reduce the individual financial burden of living in desirable locations, such as cities and densely populated regional areas. However, if the final cost of your rent, utilities, food and living expenses is still beyond your budget, then something needs to change. Either you need to find more work, cut down on expenses, get an extra housemate or find a cheaper house. To save yourself the difficulty of making a change like this after you’ve already become comfortable, it’s imperative that you find a share house with a rent within your financial capacity. If you’re moving out with friends, this will require a frank and honest conversation about what each of you can afford and what you’re willing to spend. If you’re set on living with them, this can require lowering your standards to suit the budget of everyone involved.