One of the biggest issues in apartment living is making sure all roommates are doing their fair share to keep the apartment clean. Many otherwise happy roommate relationships have quickly gone downhill when all parties weren’t on the same page about cleaning. The key to avoiding this situation is establishing expectations early and keeping all roommates accountable. Read the rest of this entry »
‘Roommate Tips’ Category
Living with someone can complicate a relationship. Money issues can complicate it even further. My first roommate experience culminated in an explosive fight over money and unpaid utility bills. In order to avoid a disaster situation like mine, here are some tips to divide expenses between roommates so that money problems are never an issue.
Know your expenses
Before figuring out how you are going to divide up your expenses, you have to know what your expenses are. You’re most likely going to have utility bills, such as heat, electric, and cable. In addition to utility bills, think about shared household items such as paper towel, toilet paper, and cleaning supplies.
Start from the beginning
Part of the problem with my roommate situation was that we never discussed who was paying what and how we were going to go about dividing up the expenses of the apartment. When you move in, have a “family meeting” and discuss bills and expenses. My one roommate is in charge of all of the utility bills and my other roommates and I pay him at the end of the month. It’s an easy system that we have never had a problem with. I also have a friend who pays for the heat and electric bill and their roommate pays for the cable and Internet bill. Figure out the best system for you and your roommates and establish it early so each roommate knows where they stand and what they owe.
Have a communication system
If you’re the one in charge of the bills, ask your roommates early and often for their share of the bills so they have time to get you the money. Establish a communication system, such as a text message reminder at the end of the month or a calendar on the refrigerator or in a shared space to outline what everyone owes and when it’s due. Communication is key in any relationship and when money is involved, it’s best to be in constant communication so that no one is surprised.
What about rent?
The biggest shared expense for you and your roommates will be your rent. If one of your roommates is late with rent, it can affect your relationship with your landlord and can cause you to have to pay a late fee. Look into paying your rent online. That way you won’t have to collect any rent from anyone at the end of the month. Your rent will just automatically be taken out of your account when it’s due.
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While not everything in life needs to have a strategy or a systematic process, some things can become more comfortable with a well-developed plan. This is especially true for new roommates with opposite living styles cohabitating in an apartment. From taking the time out to find an apartment together to taking out the trash and paying bills, having a roommate can be a rewarding experience.
One of the best methods for ensuring a comfortable and enjoyable living situation begins with preparation. Starting a dialogue with your new roommate regarding potential apartments, budgets and living styles will greatly aid in understanding each other’s expectations. And to help make certain the application processto find an apartment goes smoothly, be sure to discuss and document your rental histories so that you may help avoid an unexpected application denial.
After moving in, there are no hard and fast rules for creating a system for living with roommates; however, recording your agreements regarding bills, cleaning, groceries and other household responsibilities will help hold each person accountable and more than just verbally committed to his or her obligations. Charts and lists may help divide up tasks, and posting the documentation in a visible area such as the refrigerator can help each person stay on track.
The real “Golden Rule” with roommates comes down to communication. Everyone has their own preferences and habits, from their methods for cleaning to noise tolerance and guests. A great way to help maintain the respect factor is to communicate upfront and compromise where possible. As situations arise during the living situation, clear and prompt communication will bolster trust, enabling each person to quickly and efficiently solve problems and prevent conflicts.
In communal living situations, we all want and expect each person to pull his or her own weight. Yet, life situations, such as business or vacation travel and financial hardships, sometimes present challenges. Making arrangements and negotiating these situations with honest discussion between roommates can help solidify and strengthen the relationship.
Roommates do not have to be best friends to make apartment living enjoyable. Yet, being prepared for cohabitation and having a plan or process when you find an apartment can help build a bond, making the experience both rewarding and in many cases, even quite enjoyable.
One element of apartment living that takes a bit of adjusting to is sharing your bathroom with one or more roommates. Living with roommates can be rewarding and fun, not to mention smart financially. An apartment for rent with only one bathroom is generally less expensive outright, and it is easy to arrange a polite sharing agreement and maintain cleanliness together. Whether you are moving into a new apartment or are a seasoned bathroom sharer, it is crucial to approach the situation with a positive, considerate attitude and encourage your roommate to do the same.
When you find an apartment with one bathroom and begin the move-in process with your roommates, promote an open discussion about how storage areas will be designated in the bathroom. Plan out where each roommate will store his or her hygiene products and implements before unpacking them. Keep the designations organized and fair, so that every roommate will have equal space for his or her own allocation. When possible, try to avoid keeping too many products cluttered around the sink. When the area immediately around the sink is clear, the bathroom feels more clean and open in general. Make smart use of storage throughout the bathroom by thinking beyond cabinets and shelves— line up shampoo bottles along the towel bar in your shower.
Ensure that your apartment bathroom is always well-stocked with supplies, and agree to alternate making those essential purchases of toilet paper and disinfecting products. Practice general etiquette rules like leaving the seat down and refilling the toilet paper roll when it’s empty. We also recommend establishing a cleaning schedule so that each roommate is responsible for specific weekly duties, and everyone stays aware and on the same page
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Moving into a new apartment always comes with a set of exciting challenges. If you’re planning (or hoping) to move in with another person, picking that roommate is right up at the top of that list. A well-chosen roommate has the ability to make a living situation much more enjoyable and affordable, offering you the appropriate mix of availability and privacy (and on-time bill paying) that you desire. However, a poorly chosen roommate can make any living arrangement, no matter how ideal otherwise, eminently painful. The last thing you want is a stressful situation brewing in your own home—after all, it should be the place you take refuge from your daily stresses. With that in mind, here are some tips for picking out the best roommate for you.
First, list what qualities you would consider ideal in a roommate. Think about your own traits during this exercise. Do you treasure a measure of peace and quiet when you come home after a hard day’s work? Chances are you’d prefer someone who is similar than someone who’s constantly inviting half the apartment building over for hors d’oeuvres.
Next, talk to friends. Ask them if they know of anyone looking to make a move in the near future. Also consider posting a classifieds ad in a local online forum, mentioning traits you’re looking for in a tactful, casual way. A demanding, bulleted list of roommate requirements will scare prospects away so fast it’ll make your head spin.
Finally, schedule interviews with any prospects you might find. The most important thing to keep in mind, when first meeting a potential roommate, is to be completely honest with yourself and with them. Don’t try to make yourself something that you’re not! If you have a less-than-stellar cleaning record, that’s totally fine; just don’t insist that you scour the floors with a toothbrush when your roomie-to-be asks about your orderliness. If she decides that’s a deal-breaker, that’s okay—you just avoided butting heads down the road.
Looking for an apartment for rent with a new roomie? Great! We’re here to help. Using our search tools, you can find an apartment in cities, towns, and hamlets all across America. We’re particularly fond of Dallas apartments, Phoenix apartments, Austin apartments and Seattle apartments, but search anywhere your heart fancies. Happy hunting!
Ideally, when your roommate moves out of your apartment it’s for mutually agreed-upon reasons and the two of you are still on good terms. Whether your roommate moves out for health reasons, a job opportunity or another reason, you’ll no doubt have to quickly adjust to living on your own — especially if he or she moves out without much notice. While the new privacy and extra space can be great, there’s still lots to square away like increased living costs from bills, food and rent. Here are a few things to remember when your roommate moves out of your apartment.
Decide if you’ll continue living alone or if you need to find a new roommate. This decision may be best made by taking a hard look at your income and your monthly expenses. Will you be able to pay for all of rent and all of your bills by yourself? If you need a roommate to help pay for these expenses, start looking as soon as you can.
Speaking of bills… are they in your name, or were they in your roommate’s name? Same with renter’s insurance: Be sure you have it.
Inform your apartment manager. Stop by your apartment office or call to give them a heads up that the living situation has changed. Many apartment landlords require this so that they know who is living in which units. And if you wind up getting a new roommate, let them know that too. If your roommate was the person who signed the apartment lease, you should ask what needs to be done.
Take inventory. If your roommate moved out and took most of the furniture, you may want to look at replacing some of that stuff so you have your own. Similarly, you can take this opportunity to organize and clean your apartment — it’ll help you be prepared if potential roommates come by to check out your apartment.
Keep your roommate’s mail in one place and communicate with them a time — maybe once per week — where they can come by and pick it up. If they moved far away, you might need to send them a package every so often with all their mail. Talk to your roommate about this to figure out the best way to handle it.
These are all just suggestions for what to do when your roommate moves out to help make the situation go a little more smoothly. If you’re moving out soon, be sure and use our free apartment search tools to find your next home.
Sharing an apartment with a friend can be a high-risk, high-reward situation. You get the comfort of knowing many of your friend’s habits before you move into the apartment together, so unexpected surprises like suddenly discovering your friend has insomnia and a serious addiction to reality TV likely won’t occur. You also know that you and your friend get along, which is likely why you’d decide to share an apartment together.
Living in an apartment with a friend can put stress on your relationship, so it’s important to take steps to ensure that you don’t lose your buddy when you gain a roomie. Here are some tips for doing just that:
Don’t Be Afraid to Talk
So your roommate leaves a mountain of dishes in the sink after dinner every night. Think she’ll get the hint if you wash them? Think again. You’ll start feeling resentful doing double duty and your roommate will likely not even notice. In situations like this, it’s much better to talk about it. Don’t hesitate to establish some rules about things like cleanliness and quiet time. You don’t have to do anything draconian, like write them up and post them everywhere, but talking about what your expectations are with your friend, especially before you two move in together, will make any future disputes much simpler to defuse.
Do Apartment-Oriented Tasks Together
This can really help alleviate the pain of things like chores and decoration, since both you and your friend are invested in getting the task done. Not only does doing work together ensure that you’ll both be splitting the load, it also makes it easier to get done. After all, you’re hanging out with your friend! What’s not to like about that?
Compromise, Compromise, Compromise
Here lies the crux of any successful roommate pairing: You have to make sacrifices. If you’re used to living in an ice box, while your friend’s more accustomed to sauna temperatures, you two will likely have to split the difference and keep the apartment at a middling temperature. If you’re a neat freak and your friend’s a complete mess, you’ll need to become a little more lax with your standards, while your roommate will have to pick up after herself a bit more. Obviously, you’d rather have everything exactly your way, but compromise is just part of being a good roommate, and you wouldn’t want to be anything less than that to your friend.
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Do You Need to Chart Your Chores?
Struggling with roommates? A chore chart might be the key to harmonious apartment living in your new apartment. So you’ve rented an apartment, found a roommate and are all moved in. It feels nice to be settled in at your new home, but there’s still something important to take care of: how will you split up the chores? No doubt, we’d all much rather spend our time doing something fun instead of scrubbing the tub or taking out the trash. But it’s got to get done, or apartment living will quickly turn messy. Failing to organize chores is also a sure way to get into a conflict with your roommate, so make things clear from the beginning. There are a two ways you can do this — just talking to your roommate and deciding what chores will be done by which person and how often, or making a chore chart. A chore chart for day-to-day apartment living may feel a little bit lame at first. Can’t we just do the chores when they need to get done? you might wonder. You can try it that way, but all too often when directions aren’t clear, chores will wind up being forgotten. Dishes can pile up in the sink, dirt can cover the floor and bathrooms can get downright awful. If you and your roommate are clear from the start about which chores you’re supposed to handle, you can avoid all kinds of messes when it comes to apartment living.
Setting Up a Chore Chart
Making a chore chart for clean apartment living is easy. Get together with your roommate and come up with a list of apartment living chores that need to get done. It’s different for everyone, but here’s a list to help you get going:
- Load and run the dishwasher
- Unload the dishwasher
- Wipe down kitchen counters and sink
- Wipe down bathroom counters
- Mop kitchen floor
- Mop bathroom floor
- Clean the toilet, bathtub and sink
- Clean out fridge
- Take out trash and recycling
Once you’ve got your list — and you’ll probably keep adding to the list as you discover new chores — start working on the actual chart. You can either go big and put it on a poster board, or just put it on a regular piece of paper. Keep in mind that you may want to recreate this chart every couple of weeks. You’ll want to make a few columns at the top: Chore, Who?, Due Date, and Done. List each chore on its own line under Chore, the person responsible for it under Who?, the date you’d like it done under Due Date, and leave the Done column blank. Once the chore is done, just put a check mark by it in that column. Keep your chore chart somewhere visible, like on the fridge. If you or your roommate are unhappy with your assigned chores, just switch off next time to keep it fair. And remember, if you haven’t gotten to the chore chart stage yet, and are just looking for a decent apartment for rent, ApartmentSearch.com is here to help. Our website has tons of resources and fantastic apartment listings for you to browse. Plus if you end up finding an apartment through ApartmentSearch.com, you can collect up to $200 in renter’s rewards! Not a bad way to start out in your new place.
The roommate search, oh my! Trying to find a roommate who does the dishes every night and puts them away, respects your belongings, agrees with you on temperature and pays their share of the bills on time is no easy endeavor. Finding a roommate who vacuums, cleans up without being asked and someone who is just generally pleasant to be around would be ideal.
Is there such thing as The Perfect Roommate? Of course not! We all have roommate search horror stories, whether it involves that guy who hogged the television all day and well into the night and always paid his share of the bills a week late, to the gal whose pet beagle howled any time she was away. The thing with a roommate search is that all too often, you don’t really know what you’re going to get — and realizing that you got a bad roommate is no fun. Maybe you were in a hurry to find a roommate, or maybe you just didn’t know what to look out for. Whatever happened, one thing’s for sure: There are a few things you can do that will help you with your roommate search.
- First, you need to be honest about who you are. Are you a slob? Do you get upset when there is even one dirty dish in the sink? Do you love to have lots of people over all the time? If you don’t like to clean and are always having people over, it’s not very fair to search for a roommate who likes things clean and wants the apartment to be quiet and private.
- Meet up with potential roommates to talk. If you don’t feel safe or comfortable meeting them at your home, meet at a coffee shop or another public place where you can sit down and have a conversation.
- Find out what their schedule is like. If they have a night job and sleep during the day, and you have a 9-to-5, that could potentially cause a conflict.
- What are their hobbies?
- Do you want to include pet owners in your roommate search?
- Do they drink, smoke or do drugs?
- Discuss the things that typically wind up becoming problems when they’re not first addressed: how chores will be handled, how things like kitchen utensils and food will be shared, what’s okay and not okay when it comes to having guests over, thermostat settings, out-of-town guests, when bills need to be paid and so on.
These are just a few ideas to help you get a good roommate search going. If you meet with a potential roommate and you get the feeling the two of you wouldn’t be the best match, don’t be afraid to politely tell them that. It’ll sure save you a lot of roommate frustration in the long run.