6 tips for a successful house share abroad

  • friends living together
Published on 2018-06-27 at 08:40 by Maria Iotova
Living in a shared house can be the best solution for solo expats who are keen on socialising, saving money, or both. Sharing accommodation can be as exciting and open-minding as expatriation itself — each of your housemates will probably teach you something about yourself that you didn't know and will introduce you to new experiences and habits (from making pizza dough and separating laundry by their type and colour, to recycling and watching international cinema). Thus, even if you don't live with like-minded people, you can establish harmony with your housemates, as long as there's willingness for respect, tolerance, good communication, and a good sense of humour.

Enjoy the communal space

sharing a house

Unless discussed and agreed otherwise in advance, all the residents of the house or the flat have equal rights and responsibilities in the household. The idea is that the shared spaces such as the kitchen, the lounge, and the garden or balcony must be pleasantly used by all housemates, and should have a positive effect in the relationship among residents. Coming back home from work or a night out should be something to be looking forward to, and living in a space which allows you to socialise, work, and spend alone time without rushing to your bedroom is essential.

Pay the rent and bills

paying the bills

What might be a common-sense for you, it's not necessarily so for your housemates. Thus, don't rely on one's goodwill to ensure practicalities and formalities are being taken care of. All residents must pay the rent and bills on time. One way to ensure this as a household is to assign to one person to collect the money a couple of days before the due date or to set up automatic bank transfers to a third account. Regardless of the method you choose to go with, no one should spend energy on chasing late payments. Also, it's only fair for electricity and gas bills to vary for each resident depending on how much they love their warm or cold air.

Establish a cleaning routine

friends have finished cleaning

It would be ideal to hire a cleaner, but it's not always financially realistic. Thus, the next best solution is to all agree on a chore schedule, which either makes each person responsible for a particular area in the house at all times or means that every person undertakes specific tasks for a week or a month until the rota changes. Haven't we convinced you yet? Listen to this: with a 30-minute cleaning, you burn about 85 calories. Jokes aside, the cleaning causes probably the biggest disruption in a shared household due to different working hours, cleanliness standards, commitment, and knowledge of cleaning. So, it's always a good idea to keep the mess away from communal areas and clean up after yourself.

Make food and shopping arrangements

housemates in the supermarket

It's healthy to feel comfortable with your housemates and share things, but food can be a very sensitive issue for some people, especially the sharing of it. Thus, never take for granted that you can open the fridge and spread someone else's butter on your bread. Discuss as a group whether you will be doing individual visits to the supermarket, or you will be sharing the hassle and cost of big weekly shopping. Actually, if you want to save cash, you should consider online shopping with delivery options. Also, if you cook separate meals, remember to define everyone's space in the fridge and cupboards.

Be reasonably hospitable

house party

If you or one of your housemates is very social, this may translate to regular guests and gatherings, or even frequent loud parties. However, not everyone is an extrovert and not always people are in the mood to interact with strangers or spend their Sunday cleaning red-wine-stains from the couch and carpet. Whether it is a romantic partner, friends, or family members, it's essential to discuss about how often people can stay over and ensure that guests don't overstay their welcome.   

Have fun together

playing board games

Living with other people, especially past your carefree student life years, can be challenging. However, with some good organisation and maturity, the shared house can turn into a home where lifelong friendships may be born. Besides mutual respect, make time and effort to get to know each other. Some excellent bonding practices are preparing and eating together a nice meal, organising a birthday or housewarming party, grabbing a drink at the local bar, or, why not, adopting a pet together.