Ever since you were a teenager, you have always wanted to move to California, share an apartment with your best friends, live on $1 fast-food menus, change jobs and houses at a fast pace and live a life of adventure.
At this point, as a responsible adult, you have other goals and expectations and wish to make the most of every single opportunity that California can offer you to grow on a personal and professional level. So here you are, trying to find an affordable property for rent that you could call home for a long period of time.
Should You Share Your Space with a Friend or a Stranger?
Since your modest income doesn’t really allow you to be very selective and want to find and rent a decent place where you wouldn’t be embarrassed to host a party or let a friend sleep on your couch, you are considering the idea of getting one or more roommates.
Nonetheless, the thought of sharing your living space with a total stranger can be quite daunting. At the same time, sharing your rented apartment with a friend may cause frustration and disappointment, and possibly even ruin the one great relationship that has lasted more than a week. The good news is that your situation isn’t as bad as it may seem. The way we see it, you have two options at hand: you could either use the insight offered by Apartment Hunterz to start looking for a smaller apartment that you could afford; or you could follow plan B and start interviewing potential roommates. If you’d rather explore the latter option, here are a few tips that you could apply to avoid turning your flatmate into a frenemy.
- Rely on Social Media to “Read” All Your Candidates. Let’s get one thing straight: first impressions can be quite deceiving, especially when people are motivated to portray themselves in the best light. Think about it this way: finding a great roommate (like yourself), who holds the key to an affordable, awesome-looking apartment located in one of the best neighborhoods in the city is no easy task.
This is why most candidates interested in becoming your bedfellows won’t hesitate to lie about their guilty pleasures and bad habits (like stealing your snacks from your cabinet drawer, partying every night until 5 am or having uninvited guests overnight without asking for your permission). Luckily, a little bit of social media research will allow you to identify potential red flags in no time and separate the weirdos from the people who are reliable, friendly and decent enough to become your roommates.
- Divide the Costs in a Transparent Manner. While you and your roommates know just how much money you have to spend on rent each month, utility bills can catch you by surprise and tear a hole in your budget. This is why you should plan ahead and avoid being the one and only account holder, to prevent unpleasant surprises, like the unexpected departure of your flatmate who “forgot” to pay his share.
Therefore, you should probably set up the Internet, electric and gas accounts as soon as you move into your new apartment and find a bunkmate whom you can trust. Fewer individual hassles lead to a superior long-term insurance. For instance, you could write the rent check, while your roommates take care of utility bills. You can always pay each other back using a great variety of tools, such as Venmo or PayPal, or in cash. Share the costs in a transparent manner; leave the bills on the fridge or on the table, do the math and make a footnote to highlight how much money each flatmate owes.
- Set Specific Ground Rules. Furthermore, keep in mind the fact that there will always be certain differences between you and your roommates, in terms of preferences, habits, likes and dislikes. After all, you have different personalities, backgrounds, passions and interests. You can prevent crises fueled by these discrepancies by setting up a series of ground rules. Are you allergic to cats? Let your bunkmate know. Are you an obsessive-compulsive organizer who hates to see piles of dirty dishes in the sink? Again, share this secret with the people who live inside your house. Great communication is the key to a drama-free, enjoyable apartment sharing experience.
- Share the Chores in an Equitable Manner. Assign cleaning and maintenance tasks to each roommate to keep your apartment spotless and prevent conflicts and misunderstandings. If you don’t want to be the only one who washes the dishes or brushes toilets, make a chore wheel and turn the house cleaning process into a fun, friendly competition. With so many free templates available online, you could retrieve, download and personalize your favorite design in less than half an hour. At the end of each week, encourage your roommates to spin the chore chart and get to work.
- Always Count on a Backup Plan. OK, so sharing an apartment with friends or total strangers is not as easy as you tend to think. An apartment sharing experience is not always similar to the one that you’ve envisioned after watching a few “Friends” episodes. People change. They break the rules. They get tired of sharing their territory with other people. All these worst case scenarios force you to come up with a good backup plan. Our advice is to start using the listings provided by Apartment Hunterz to find a great Californian rental apartment that you could afford on your own. This way, you wouldn’t have to worry about living under the same roof with people whom you hardly know or trust. Let Apartment Hunterz simplify your selection and discover the most attractive deals on the Californian real estate market in only a few days.