For the past five years I have lived in a house share, three years at uni and two in a “professional” (or as I call it, a “grown up”) house share. However the two I found drastically different.
House shares are very handy, they’re usually cheaper than renting a whole house to yourself as bills are usually all inclusive. If you’re about to move to a new city, I would definitely recommend looking into them for accommodation, as not only are they good value for money but they also enable you to meet new people.
I have been very lucky in my house, I’d be lying if I said when I first moved in that I wasn’t a bit dubious about it all. What sparked my doubts was the general consensus of the horror stories that come with living in a house share. These mainly stemmed from stories from friends at uni with nightmare housemates. I was pleasantly surprised however when I ended up with three lovely down to earth housemates.
In the past 2 years I have lived with a grand total of eight different people, which is quite a lot. I’m due to move out of my house at the end of the month, so I suppose as I get ready to leave I’ve been reflecting on my experiences and what I’ve learnt from living in this environment.
Unlike your later years at uni, in a grown up house share you don’t pick who you live with. Everyone tends to be on different working patterns such as nights which does make things easier when it comes to sharing a bathroom or even the oven. It’s also useful to be aware of other people’s schedules so you don’t end up hogging the bathroom in the morning for example.
This variety of schedules does leave it harder to make friends. In my last job I was doing a lot of hours and could easily go for a week without seeing anyone in my house. House shares are usually also temporary and I’ve seen people come and go for a few months or so at a time, so you don’t really get much chance to get to know them.
At uni coming in at any time of the night was also a bit more acceptable than in a grown up house share. I learnt this the hard way when I woke up one day to a note from a housemate complaining that my shoes were too noisy when I was coming in at night (bear in mind I’d been out twice in the space of a few months but whatever). I quickly learnt to leave my heels at the front door as well as being more considerate for others in the house (even though they were the only person that heard me ever come in that once in a blue moon I went out, but again whatever).
When it comes to being considerate of your housemates, cleanliness is what needs to be highlighted and have a band playing to draw attention to the importance of it. A dirty house is my worst nightmare and it really isn’t hard to wash a plate after dinner. This isn’t simply consideration of others, it’s also common sense and should be a normal way of life. In our house we do a monthly rota of taking the bins out, it’s little things like this which make it fair for everyone to be contributing to the house.
When I got together with my boyfriend I was very aware that I couldn’t be having him over all the time. First of all my room is tiny so there’s just about enough room for one person let alone two, and second of all, not that he’d be in the way by any means, but I didn’t want to be that housemate who’s boyfriend had practically moved in.
The key thing about going into a house share is to be open minded. Whether you’re about to move into a uni house or a “grown up” one. The concept of having to move into a house with complete randomers is pretty terrifying but it’s also a great opportunity to make amazing friends. I still try to get a reunion every so often with my uni housemates and as I get ready to move out of my current house I’m already missing my housemate’s wonderful cooking 💔
If you are considering shared accommodation, I recommend looking at:
Rightmove and Zoopla.