How to Share Your Rented Apartment with a Roommate without Losing Your Mind

shutterstock_289979564Ever 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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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.

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.

 

7 Californian Rental Upgrades That Will Make You (and Your Landlord) Proud

Kitchen in New Luxury HomeTruth be told, it’s always difficult to find a rental that matches all your needs and demands to a tee.  Moreover, it’s even more complicated to identify and rent a house or an apartment that manages to reflect your personal style and taste. In this context, should you keep looking for a new roof over your head until you run out of options, or should you actually adopt a proactive attitude, settle for a nice Californian rental that you can afford and visualize and implement changes that won’t upset your landlord? If you’re more willing to employ the latter strategy, keep reading to discover 7 inexpensive rental makeover ideas that always pay off.

  1. Add New, Shiny Hardware. Old hardware usually manages to affect the look and feel of any room. Get rid of rusty hinges and cabinet handles and replace these pieces with modern, shiny hardware that will automatically contribute to a more polished look. Even the simplest stainless steel alternatives can completely transform your indoors, by adding gorgeous metallic accents that go well with most styles and themes.
  2. Opt for Clever Storage Ideas. If you’re on a tight budget, then you might be forced to reevaluate your priorities and settle for a small for rent house or apartment. Look on the bright side: less square footage is associated with less upkeep and smaller expenses. Fortunately, even in this situation you can boost your level of comfort by implementing a series of smart storage options.

Start by following a basic rule: you have to have a place for every single item that you choose to keep around the house. A well-edited household with fewer possessions is always easier to keep in check. Next, focus on the ways in which you can improve your existing furniture pieces. To begin with, you could add shelves to old fixtures to maximize your storage space. Vertical dividers are the ideal, inexpensive add-ons that could upgrade the looks and functionality of your kitchen cabinets.

Furthermore, wire organizers are also extremely affordable and they can enable you to store small essentials (trash bags, sandwich bags) in your cabinets. Afterwards, if you can afford to spend some money on new furniture pieces, shop around to get the best deals on multipurpose furniture. For example, you could choose to replace a worn out chair with a timelessly elegant ottoman that offers you sufficient space to store blankets and other small items that you only get to use every once in a while.

  1. Replace Old, Boring Fixtures. Next, choose to replace those cheap brass fixtures that don’t do your indoors any favors with luxurious pieces that command attention, like a bronze chandelier that you could find at a flea market or a set of modern stainless steel lighting fixtures that go oh-so-well with basically any other decorative element.
  2. Repaint the Walls. A nice coat of paint can improve the appearance of any room. Opt for pastel colors that have a soothing effect. Also, keep in mind that lighter shades are also recommended for two more reasons: they can make your rooms seem more spacious; plus they are compatible with a plentitude of contrasting hues.
  3. Breathe New Life into an Old-Fashioned Kitchen. Instead of planning on replacing expensive features and appliances, such as old-school refrigerators, beat up cupboards and stoves that look like they’ve been used on a daily basis since the early 50s, set smaller goals that are easier to reach from a financial standpoint. Attach adhesive hooks to the interior side of your cabinets, replace old, worn out pulls and knobs with new, shiny ones and make more room for smaller appliances and kitchen supplies by installing magnetic shelves.
  4. Go for Clever and Cheap Bathroom Remodel Ideas. Following the same cost-effective remodeling principles, consider replacing the least expensive elements that influence the appeal of your bathroom in a considerable manner. From towel racks, toilet paper holders and faucets to toilet paper seats, all these common items are fairly cheap and easy to replace and can turn your bathroom into a more welcoming room.
  5. Reorganize and Beautify Your Outdoor Areas. Here’s one word of advice: do not neglect the outdoors. Do everything in your power to maximize the curb appeal of your property to generate neighborhood envy. By repainting your siding, adding a few potted plants, keeping your lawn weed-free and perfectly trimmed and keeping your walkways properly lit you could turn your rental into a much more attractive slice of Californian real estate.

Always Discuss Your Options with Your Landlord Before Making Any Radical Changes

It’s always recommended to have a nice chat with your landlord for two very simple reasons: firstly, by discussing your plans with your lessor you could avoid awkward situations and mistakes that could prevent you from getting your security deposit back. Secondly, an open dialogue could enable you to beautify your home, while also saving some money that you would otherwise have to spend on rent. For instance, your landlord may be willing to give you more room for maneuver if you agree to implement a few positive changes. By moving things around, investing a small amount in affordable patio furniture and cutting down shrubs you could improve the curb appeal of the property that you’re inhabiting, while convincing your landlord to lower your rent for a certain period of time.

Start Looking for the Perfect Rental with Apartment Hunterz

Maybe you don’t want to invest time, money and energy in an ample remodeling project. This is perfectly understandable, especially at times when you can actually find fairly inexpensive Californian accommodation options online, using a good apartment finding service. If you don’t want to redirect most of your resources towards an extreme apartment makeover, choose to use the data and tools brought to you by Apartment Hunterz to spot the best rentals in your city and/or neighborhood of choice. Browse though thousands of appealing, recent listings, contact property managers and landlords, download and upload forms the easy way and profit from a simplified, rewarding apartment hunting experience.