With the cost of housing, both to buy and to rent, increasing exponentially, more and more of us are turning to housesharing. For some it is the first step on the ladder to housing independance, for others it is a way of living lightly with as few possessions as possible. But for a significant number in their 30’s, 40’s and even 50’s, it is the only way of either being able to leave home or to be able to afford your own place post-divorce.
If you have never houseshared before, you might benefit from the following information:
The price of renting a room has risen considerably in recent times. Location is going to be a huge factor, whether the room is a single or double, if it includes an en suite bathroom and whether all the bills are included. Decide what you can and cannot live with, determine your budget and then search the many online housesharing websites or look in local shops in your chosen areas for adverts.
When considering this, think about journey to work: how far away is it if travelling by car at the time of day you will be leaving/returning and how will that feel if you work shifts; if you travel by bus, how close is the bus stop, is there a pavement and street lights en route, how safe do you feel. Also consider if you are a lover of peace and quiet, how noisy is the road outside the home.
Internet and mobile
If you are a heavy internet and phone user, make sure that your phone signal is good and check out broadband speeds for that location using Sam Knows . Secondly, check that the home has unlimited broadband and what the signal is like in the room because there is nothing worse than calls dropping out or constant buffering during a film from walls blocking the wifi signal.
All homes have them and live in landlords/ladies might not tell you theirs until you’ve moved in (I speak from experience!). Try to ascertain if there are any rules such as washing only done at certain times on certain days, no outdoor shoes indoors, no visitors at all, must wash up immediately after using the kitchen, no food in your room etc.
Is it adequate in your room for all your stuff (try to envisage where everything might go); is there enough room in the kitchen for your food, both cupboard space and fridge/freezer; do you need to store large items such as skis, camping equipment or surfboards and if so, is there somewhere for them included.
Other household members
If the room is within a family home, who else will you be sharing with, do they have pets (even if you are an animal lover, they may have a dog that barks constantly or isn’t well trained), are there children and if so what ages.If the room is in a fully tenanted house, do you gel with the others on your viewing, are they your kind of people, do they seem a friendly house, a party house or a quiet house. Know what it is you want/need from a home
Not every houseshare comes with a communal living space which means if it doesn’t, is your room big enough to double as a living room too? What other facilities come with the room? Not all include washing machine usage for instance thus it’s imperative you know exactly what’s what before agreeing to take on the room.
If you need to leave
Many houseshares are subject to a minimum term of 3 or 6 months; hopefully you have met the whole household and asked all your pertinent questions before agreeing to the room so you will feel settled and happy in your time there. If, however, once you’ve moved in and you find that things aren’t quite as described or you simply don’t gel with others in the home, leaving you no option but to leave, you need to know that you can with impunity. Before agreeing to take on the room, discuss this with the landlord.
If the houseshare is your only home or main home, then applying due dilligence in your preparation will hopefully ensure that it is a happy home for however long you stay. I have met some lovely people in my houseshares and made friends for life through them; each houseshare has enriched my life in some way, so I am a big fan of this way of living.