Two people sharing conversation sitting aside each other on a couch

Communal living arrangements and shared homes are becoming a practical option for many students, people looking to save some cash, and for those who just don’t like living alone.

For some communal living looks like jumping in with their best friends and spending evenings chatting and cooking up a storm in the kitchen, others may have a different idea of what it means to live in a shared home and desire privacy with a little extra support. Whether it is your first time moving into a shared home, whether it’s with a partner or someone else, or your third, it will be helpful to consider these points to ensure a smooth move and an enjoyable communal living experience. 

Find compatible housemates

The first thing you need for a shared home are people to share it with. Transitioning into a shared home may mean finding a house and picking your housemates, or moving into an already established communal living arrangement. Setting expectations for what you want your communal living experience to be like will help you decide who to consider and how to approach a prospective housemate. Ask yourself if you want to have a quiet oasis or if you want your house to be the hot spot for all your friends. Another important detail to consider is duration; talk about how long you plan to stay in the shared home because this will affect how much you invest in the space. Don’t forget to ask your prospective housemates about pets. Be transparent about plans for the future, your likes, and dislikes when it comes to furry friends in the home

Talk money

This may be a hard topic for some, but talk about money with your housemates. In communal living arrangements it is important to know if cash flow is secure so you feel safe knowing rent will be paid. If you are moving into a shared home with bedrooms that vary in size or have extra perks like a bathroom, it’s a good idea to discuss scaling the rent based off the room. You wouldn’t want to be paying the same amount for a tiny bedroom when your housemate has their own walk-in closet and bathroom. Set dates for things like paying rent and utilities to keep everyone accountable and on time! In shared homes it’s best to talk about household item purchases like soap and toilet paper beforehand to set up a plan for who buys what so you don’t end up buying toilet paper for the whole house. 

What to bring

If you are moving into an already established shared home there will probably already be the essentials like a fridge and sofa, but if you are starting a communal living arrangement from scratch, talk with your housemates to decide who brings what. This will most likely apply to shared spaces like the living room and kitchen and help to avoid the awkward conversations about which sofa to sell. Having these conversations upfront will also save you money on moving costs and sell your unneeded items before moving to the shared home. 

House rules

Last but not least, house rules. You may have house rules of your own, but they tend to be different from rules set for communal living. Meet with your housemates to talk about cleaning and set up a weekly chore list. If you or your housemates plan to have visitors or a partner frequently spend time at the shared home, talk about how often and consider having the visitor contribute to rent or utilities. Consider also what you deem “quiet times” and when you expect people to be sleeping rather than carrying on as usual. 

We hope this was helpful. Spending time thinking about your expectations and hopes for moving into a shared home will set you and your housemates up for success.

Have some other ideas to consider when moving into a shared home? Let us know in the comments below. Happy moving!

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