Could you imagine what life would be like for President Obama and President Bush if they were roommates? Most likely hilarity would ensue. What if they had to coexist in the same two-bedroom apartment for twelve months? You think Obama has grey hair now. As with any other roommates sharing a space, they would have to ensure that the apartment felt like home for both parties (no pun intended, or was it?).
Could you imagine what life would be like for President Obama and President Bush if they were roommates? What if they had to coexist in the same two-bedroom apartment for twelve months? As with any other roommates sharing a space, they would have to ensure that the apartment felt like home for both parties (no pun intended). While this may seem like a weird proposition and one that will probably never happen between these two men with very different backgrounds, experiences, and ideas for making things work, this happens between other individuals with the same differences on a daily basis. While there are plenty of people who will share their bad experiences with roommates, there are as many examples of roommates sharing an apartment that have been a positive experience. It can be a challenge to make it work for everyone involved; however, it is not impossible to do so. Here are a few helpful hints to consider when moving in with a roommate to a new apartment:
Establish Ground Rules Immediately
The first thing that you should do with your new roommate is to establish some ground rules. It is advised that you do this even before you sign your lease together. Discussing your ground rules is a good way to determine whether you and your roommate(s) are compatible. The ground rules should cover the common areas of dispute between roommates. You should discuss how you will split the chore duties so there isn’t a continuous tug-of-war deciding who will do what. You will also want to determine how the bills will be divided between roommates. Will everything be split evenly down the middle? Or do you prefer to assign each bill to a roommate that will be responsible for it. Possibly you prefer to do a combination of the two options. For example, the rent and utilities could be split evenly. However, one roommate wants to have an upgraded cable package that the other roommate doesn’t want. The best option may be for the roommates to share the expense of the basic cable package, but the roommate that wants the upgraded package pay for that in its entirety. You will also want to discuss any noise curfews, overnight visitors, and other general behavior as it relates to the apartment. You should put these rules into writing, in a formal agreement that both parties will sign. This makes the ground rules a contractual agreement that can always be referred back to when needed.
Behavior for common areas
While chores should discuss and addressed in the formal agreement that contains the ground rules, it will be hard to address all things beforehand. All roommates should make a commitment to keep common areas, such as the living room, kitchen, and any shared bathrooms, clean and orderly. Cleanliness is the thing that is argued the most between roommates so this can be a very important thing to consider before moving in together.
Even though you will be living and sharing an apartment with a roommate, you will still want to maintain some privacy and personal space. Likewise, your roommate will want the same respect. The biggest way to violate this is to “borrow” something from your roommate without asking prior to taking it. Even if you have asked to borrow the same thing before and received permission to do so, it’s still courteous to ask before borrowing it again.
Splitting the cost of other items
If you’re considering buying a big ticket item with a roommate, you should consider what will happen when you and your roommate go your separate ways. While it may be economically efficient to split the cost of things such as a television, grill, or gaming console, this can cause bigger problems down the road when it’s time to determine who will get the item. If you are comfortable going in on items such as this, you should determine immediately what will happen in the event that you go your separate ways at some point. It is advised that you also put this agreement into writing and same all receipts. Buying your own things is the best way to avoid any misunderstandings.
The Golden Rule
The best tip that you can receive when moving into an apartment with a roommate is one that you probably received as a child: Treat others the way that you want to be treated. While this won’t always deter major misunderstandings since everyone has different expectations, it is a good rule to live by.
If you and your roommate are beginning your apartment hunt, consider the assistance of an apartment locator, such as UMoveFree based in the Dallas /Fort Worth metroplex. Complaints to UMoveFree are few and far between and can save you time and energy in finding the apartment that will work best for you.
Nick Barber is a licensed real estate broker and the President/CEO of UMoveFree; one of the largest apartment finding firms in the multi-family industry. Visit UMoveFree.com for more information on apartments in DFW.