Choosing a new housemate is understandably an important issue. After all all you’re inviting them into your home, trusting them not to break or steal any of your stuff. You’ll want to make sure you make the right choice, based on what you and the rest of your flatmates are looking for:
Friends vs strangers
Initially it can seem like a dream come true: living with your best mates / favourite work colleagues. But think about what the transition from friends to housemates means. Just because grabbing a coffee or beer with them is always a laugh, doesn’t mean you’ll necessarily get on living together as flatmates 24/7.
Inviting random strangers to move in may seem daunting, but if you make the right choice you’ll have the opportunity to make new friend groups. A compromise could be friends of friends – this way you’re not risking existing friendships, but they’ve been vetted already by people you trust.
Are you looking for somebody of a similar age, younger (to add more energy to the houseshare) or older (to bring more responsibility to the house dynamics)? Often having a mix can work well, although too large an age gap may sometimes lead to differences.
Younger people are usually more forgiving over late night noise and mess compared with older housemates who are often (but not always) more mature.
Do you want to keep your flatshare an all lads / all girls affair, or live with guys and girls to mix things up? From our experience a balanced house is best, so sticking to an equal number of male and female flatmates / roommates is definitely worth considering. This way you’re more likely to avoid catty arguments or too much male machoness from taking over.
Girls will usually make the flat feel more homely, whilst guys will be there to help with heavy lifting / DIY tasks, this may sound a bit sexist, but it’s often very true. This also means you’ll be able to avoid specifying a gender in your flat advert, which could be illegal!
What are you / they looking for?
Make sure you’re on the same page when it comes to the type of flatmate you’re looking for / flat they’re searching for. For example: are you / they looking for opportunities to socialise, e.g. a pint at the local pub from time to time, or are you / they simply wanting to keep themselves to themselves, contributing to bills and rent only.
Image courtesy of Neil Crosby.