House Hunting & Who to Live With

House Hunting & Who to Live With

So here you are at University, you just managed to unpack your last boxes and get your accommodation just so and suddenly you have to start thinking about House Hunting for next year. It might seem to be very soon after you arrive, however we would recommend you start to consider where you want to live next year, who with and how that is going to look very soon.  Here at Unipol we understand how stressful this can be; during House Hunting in November we have a team of staff dedicated to helping you find your next accommodation.

It is difficult to decide who to live with next year when you have only just met other students.  Below are some top tips to help you make the right decision;

Option 1:  Mixed Gender Households

Do you want to live with members of the opposite sex? There are pros and cons to living in a mixed household – the cons including conflict over the natural position of the toilet seat, people hogging the bathroom, make-up in the bathroom, Xbox/Playstation Gaming nights… these are important points to consider. If you’ve never shared a flat with the opposite sex, you may want to have a look at their bathroom first! A house with two bathrooms could be a way round this.  You would also need to consider whether you would be comfortable with your own behaviour in a mixed flat and whether it would be considered appropriate and how you may respond to others behaviour.

Option 2: Size is important!

 You will need to decide how many people you would feel comfortable sharing with.  A larger group might be good as there is more likely to be someone around most of the time, (even if they are in bed!), but equally this coukd cause more noise, more mess and definitely more washing up! 

Unipol has a large portfolio of properties including purpose build accommodation and dispersed properties.  Accommodation is a mix of smaller studio apartments for individuals or couples, to larger multi occupancy properties.  Most properties are between 3 & 5 bedrooms.  There are a small number of larger properties , however you should be aware it is unlikely that you would find a property for groups of 10 or more.

Option 3: Party Animal or Party Pooper?

By the time House Hunting is here in November, you will have met, and hopefully made friends with, lots of new, interesting and fun people.  Whilst they might be the life and soul of the party and fun to be around on nights out or in, would they be the same to live with?   You need to consider what you expect in your home; would you be happy if your flatmates had parties every weekend or had pre and after drinks that replicate the favourite nightclub with the equivalent levels of noise and mess?  What about if flatmates and/or their visitors were using substances, e.g. cannabis?  What if they practice the trumpet every weekend at 10am or 11pm?

You don't need to be best friends to live together, even best friends can fall out over lifestyle choices and differences,  but you do need to be compatible.  When you are considering your options for next year, have honest discussions with others about expectations, lifestyles, and party times.  Communication is key - it is easier to start with clear expectations than try to deal with issues later.

Option 4:  Chores & Rotas

Everyone has taken a similar, but very different, path to get to University.  The differences are our experiences, life-learning, value bases and expectations; all these factors are what shape our 'window on the world' and everyone's perceptions will be different.

Before agreeing to share with others you will need to know where you own standards and expectations are about cleaning, do you care if the kitchen is filthy or do you want it tidied away immediately?  Can you cope with other's soap scum in the bathroom?  What about emptying bins?  Likewise you will need to be aware of the standards of your prospective co tenants.  Are they clean freaks or household slobs?

Whilst these issues may seem trivial now, if they are not dealt with they can become contentious issues and lead to inter tenant disputes.  It is best to visit each other's accommodation so you can see for yourself whether you share similar views on cleaning and other household chores.  Communicate with each other about what you expect and if possible discuss sharing chores and using rotas before you decide about sharing.  This will save a lot of frustration, argument and discord. 

Remember your mum, aunt, grandma or maid has not moved in with you, neither has anyone else's; which means you are all responsible for maintaining the property in an appropriate condition.

Option 5 Couples

Could you share with a couple? Are you a couple?  What about if there is a fall out?  How are the other tenants going to cope if the couple fall out?  Can other tenants deal with the awkwardness/atmosphere?  If you are the couple would you want other tenants to be aware of your personal arguments?  Nobody wants to be piggy in the middle.

Finally...

As you can see House Hunting is not as straightforward as it seems.  There is a lot to think about before you make a decision and sign on the dotted line.  Below are a number of key questions you might find useful to consider before taking the plunge;

  •  Do you make a lot of noise when you get home after a night out?
  • Would it make you angry if there was a lot of noise from housemates, every night?
  • What about your musical taste, opera is not necessarily a good mix for rock or rap lovers.
  • Does loud music irritate you or are you generally the loudest?
  • Are you a music student and need to practice, what instrument is it, and when do you practice?
  • Do you (honestly?) do your share of the chores? When they need to be done! 
  • Do you mind if the washing up isn't done and there are 27 pizza boxes and 53 empty beer cans on the windowsill?
  • Are you fair and willing to pay your share of the household bills, on time and without a fuss?
  • How do you deal with issues? Positively through communication or negatively with confrontation?

Once you have been honest with yourself you could ask your prospective flatmates these questions as a starting point for open and honest discussion. 

It is worth remembering, everyone has good and bad days and all households suffer the normal day to day stresses, especially when everyone is busy.  Face to face communication is key to resolving any issues or concerns as they arise and if you are all willing to listen and contribute you should have a happy house for the year.

Good Luck!