People move into shared accommodation for several reasons. Students tend to band together for both the social and economic factors that arise when you move away from the parental “safety net”. For others, it may be a case of moving to a new city where the priority is not to find an amazing new apartment straight away, but rather to find somewhere to live full stop. There’s also the bonus that you will meet someone either in a similar situation to you, or just lovely locals who welcome diversity into their home and you build a friendship with ease. Whatever your reason for moving into a share house, consider the pros and cons of this decision to make sure you are moving forwards and not backwards.
Benefits of a share house:
Lower living costs
One of the most appealing aspects of living in a shared house, particularly if you’re a student and/or struggling with a low income, is that of having reduced living costs each month. If you’re living alone, while you might use less as an individual, the costs can still build up and become overwhelming to manage. If you’re living with conscientious, reliable house mates, chances are you’ll be able to keep bills such as power, internet and groceries to a manageable level – and that means when you each pay your share, you’re probably going to be paying less and saving more than if you lived alone or with only one other person. Don’t get that overdraft unless you get really desperate – if your share house collectively maintains consistent living habits with regards to consumption, this shouldn’t need to be an option.
Forming close friendships
Myths have always circulated about the fact that you can end up losing friends when you decide to live together. Realistically, if it’s bad enough to break up your friendship, you probably weren’t meant to remain friends anyway. Sharing a house, with either existing friends or complete strangers, can actually result in friendships forming and a boost in the diversity of people in your life. You’re never going to bond 100% with everyone you live with. However, if you give back what you receive, and you’ve chosen an environment that feels right for you, there’s no reason why friendships shouldn’t blossom.
Chores are a team effort
Share houses allow you to create a cleaning roster and rotate chores, meaning if all goes to plan, you’ll probably live in a relatively clean, hygienic house. Naturally, conflicting schedules can provide some challenges with roster logistics, but it’s all about communication, understanding and fairness.
There are some drawbacks…
What’s yours is mine?
Sharing a flat with other people, be they friends or strangers, can unfortunately expose you to some behaviours and attitudes around using each other's possessions and integrity when doing so. If you’re clear from the start as to what’s “communal” and what’s “strictly mine”, you shouldn’t have too many problems. However, even notes saying “do not eat me” written in thick sharpie and clearly placed on top of your personal chocolate stash, can still drive an opportunistic, disillusioned house mate to taking what isn’t theirs. Best rules of thumb: if you can keep it in your bedroom without growing fungus – do so; and if your bedroom has a lock – use it.
Clashing opinions and standards
If you’re onto the second or third year with the same house mates, hopefully you have that peace of mind that your share house will continue to be a positive environment. When a group of strangers come together to share a living space, there is absolutely no hope for it being successful long-term unless good habits are agreed upon and implemented from the get-go. Respect can be easily gained but can be difficult to get back.
That’s why it’s important to share the same or very similar morals when it comes to living habits and behaviour, or at least come to some sort of realistic agreement. It can be very hard to keep respecting a flat mate who never flushes the loo or leaves their hair all over the bathroom. Do try to always give new people a chance, tactfully communicate your concerns if you feel they are justified, and remember that sometimes people have just been brought up differently than you. Some things we just need to learn to adjust and adapt to, but other poor habits should definitely not be enabled for the sake of keeping the peace. Everyone has time to flush the toilet.
One of the most challenging aspects of living in a share house can be that of knowing how to balance your time and not give in to that ever present “FOMO” - Fear of Missing Out. Whether your share house life entails one or a combination of work and study, the urge to party at every opportunity that presents itself can leave the rest of your week in a state of disarray. Don’t look at your flat mate who can party every weekend and still get an A in their essay – just because this works for him/her, doesn’t mean it will work for you. Develop your own approach to study versus social and find a balance that works for you. Have enough self-assurance to know that good friends will not judge you for prioritising your study obligations over a rowdy bar crawl. Keep focused on what’s really important in your situation.
Moving along – how are you going to do it?
Now that you’ve considered the pros and cons and have made your decision to move into a share house, how do you make it happen? There’s only one real con of moving into a share house (or anywhere for that matter!) – that you don’t pick the right moving company. John Ryan Removals are furniture movers in Melbournewho do far more than just carry your couch inside. The team provide unbeatable relocation services that will get you moved and set up in your new space with ease and efficiency. They provide interstate furniture removal services and also have the capacity to facilitate the wider Victoria state. Whatever the reason for your relocation, rest assure that John Ryan Removals are the best removalists Melbournehas to offer.
Still feeling sceptical?
Jump online and do a bit of light research! The websites below may not predict your flatting future to the last detail, but they will provide some insight and guidance that is specific to you and your personal uncertainties. Chances are, if you share your concerns and/or requirements – someone will share a similar outlook to you. That someone might end up being your share house bestie! Here are some great resources: