Friends-Etiquette

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If you’re in share accommodation then it’s most likely that you won’t know the network of the individual/s you’re sharing with and they won’t know yours.

It’s best if you plan ahead and give your house mate/s plenty of notice that someone will be coming over. If you’re going to have a big weekend and you might end up back at yours, let them know so they can either get out of the house for a little, or be prepared for some drunk stumbling and loud voices that night.

You wouldn’t appreciate coming home to ten people inside your living room that you don’t know and aren’t friends with, so try not to put your house mates through the same thing.

Give them at least two days notice of a big night/sleep over/girlfriend visit/friends gathering and see if there’s anything you can do to make it more bearable. You’ll appreciate it a whole heck of a lot more when they do the same thing to you!

Don’t let your friends leave without giving you a hand to tidy up a little either, especially if you’ve trashed the place. There’s nothing worse than waking up to the equivalent of a bomb shelter and no one in sight that even resembles like they might be doing something to remedy the mess.

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When someone goes

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It’ll either be incredibly saddening or a massive celebration, depending on your relationship. There are, unfortunately, a multitude of things you need to do before they go (aside from have a going away party).

  • Make sure no rent is outstanding with your real estate
  • Make sure no damage has occurred in their living space
  • If there is damage caused by the individual make sure to have a discussion with them about taking some of the bond to cover the damages
  • Make sure you have a replacement tenant (if you need/want one)
  • Make sure you’ve separated their stuff and your stuff and are agreed that is exactly what it is
  • Make sure to give the real estate agent two weeks notice
  • Make sure to get into the real estate and sign all appropriate paper work
  • Make sure to party hard prior to them leaving
  • Make sure to get their contact details in case anything should crop up in regards to before they vacated
  • Have any bills in their name signed over to yourself
  • Get prepped for the new house mate
  • Write out an advert to place online/in the paper for the vacancy
  • Make sure you time the new tenant/your increase in rent payments with the departure of the previous one
  • Make sure the previous tenant returns all their keys and any copies
  • If required, do another condition report
  • Get a forwarding number for any callers or visitors to the house
  • Clean!

You should find that this list (while extensive) will not leave you unprepared for a new housemate or life without your old housemate. Also be prepared for a house balance shift and personality adjustment. Different housemates have different tendencies and you might move in with one of the house mate types as discussed in previous posts.

Relationships

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Inevitably, unless you intend on being single or becoming a crazy cat lady, you’re going to move in with your partner, you might even develop a relationship with your current house mate.

Relationships should be encouraged in a living environment. There’s no need to be afraid of moving in with a partner (Well…unless you feel your partner may have psychotic tendencies and the next morning you’ll wake up with no skin!). A boyfriend/girfriend/fiancee can provide an extremely supportive and encouraging environment to live in, they provide a sounding board for ideas, gentle pushes when we don’t want to do things that we know we should.

However, certain cautions must be taken around particular issues.

  • Finances
  • Rent
  • Shopping
  • Gender differences
  • Household duties
  • Miscommunication
  • Social Differences

Keep your head. These are things that are always going to come up in a relationship, but due to different genders, different upbringings, different viewpoints, different opinions, conflict is bound to arise. Discuss them calmly and rationally. If things get out of hand, don’t be stupid and think you can keep a calm rational head while you’re seething. Take a minute or two out and have a breather.

I personally am against the leaving the house option. I’m also against going to bed on the tail of an unresolved argument. I prefer to resolve the problem then and there. If we can’t find a resolution for the issue, then we will agree to disagree. I think a lot of people forget this fact, or ignore the ideal altogether. You don’t have to agree on everything. Every conversation does not have to lead to both parties agreeing, arguments are exactly the same. If after three to four minutes of revisiting the topic in the same conversation the other party still doesn’t see your point of view, try agreeing to disagree. Then cuddle.

It is important that a cuddle comes at the end of every argument. It’s closure, it’s comfort, it’s showing that “Yes, we fought- but I still love you.” If you’re too mad for a cuddle, walk away for a minute, breathe deep, remind yourself why you love that person- then head back.

I’ve found money to be the largest cause for concern, unless you’re pulling over 70k a year, and leading an average non-high spending life. Money is a stickler. If you don’t need to buy shopping, you need petrol, if you don’t need petrol, you need to get your car fixed, while your car is broken you’ll need to take public transport. There is so much potential here for arguments it’s not funny.

Discuss. Just try talking about it all as it comes. Explain how you want to deal with it, ask how your partner wants to deal with it. Realise that you’re each there for a support network. Don’t bottle it up until it becomes too much to handle. Get it out, regularly.

Talk. Always always talk. Communication is key.

Budget-Learn the skill

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It’s the most important thing you will learn in your time out of home (Other than “Don’t drink the bottle labelled “Poison””).

Budgeting will make sure you have an eye on your finances, your wallet, and your shopping so that you don’t careen out of control. Budgeting is probably one of the most vital skills you can learn whether you are just moving out of home or are a veteran renter. My Budget is getting off to a booming start for a reason you know.

Budget for weekly shopping, budget for monthly pay, budget for a new car loan. This way you can always ensure that you can afford the purchase you are going to make.

To quote the ever so cliché quote “Those who fail to plan, plan to fail.” With budgeting this cliché quote couldn’t be more full of truth. If you don’t budget specifically (ensuring you get down everything you income and owe) on a piece of paper or excel document in one place, then you are likely to miss at least something.

I can’t count the number of times where I’ve failed to budget and managed to forget the power bill or an item that I needed to put some money towards in the house but didn’t set aside any funds.

Learn to budget an actual and expected budget as well. You take your actual balance not on what you think you’ll get or spend, but on what you’ve spent in actual circumstances in the past. Make it more realistic, under budget this section where possible. If you have extra at the end due to over budgeting that’s a bonus that can go towards your surplus or savings.

It’s important to establish a savings and surplus fund. Savings can be used for anything such as a new TV, an xbox, a new couch etc. Surplus sits and waits in your account for a dreaded unwanted bill such as Car Registration or an accident when you’re not covered by insurance. Creating a surplus really only benefits yourself and those in your household.

If you’re left short one month due to an unexpected bill, the ramifications of this shortfall hit your entire household. If you can’t afford to pay rent, guess who covers it?

That’s right- You’re housemates. They will not be happy.

Always ensure you budget and under budget where possible.

Food Etiquette

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It’s best to discuss etiquette before you begin living with someone so you know what is and what is not acceptable in regards to food. Some houses utilise a complete share system (one person shops one week and the food is free reign- one person shops the next and so on and so forth). Other houses utilise the common items and personal items rule (salt, pepper, milk, butter, bread, flour etc. are shared food- dinner items, fruit, vegetables, pizzas, alcohol are personal). Other houses use the all items are personal rule.

To varying degrees- They all work. Some more effectively than others.

All items are shared– With this method it’s a free for all. Any food you want, you had better eat quick because you can’t claim dibs in a free for all environment. You also run into the problem of selfish housemates. If on your week you go out and really stock the entire place, the next the housemate (instead of throwing you some cash for your massive effort) might just buy a small shopping load and claim that the house didn’t really need that much food. This has the foundations of a massive argument.

Some share, some personal- This is probably the best method in my experience. Milk, pepper, bread, salt, flour, butter etc are all shared as it makes no sense to have three pepper shakers, three open cartons of milk, three containers of butter etc. Not only will you be able to fit minimal items into your fridge/pantry, you’ll find you waste double the amount of food. With this method you still get your personal self bought items such as pizzas or doughnuts, but you’re still contributing to the house.

All personal- Probably best to try to avoid this method. You’ll triple up on anything and everything in the house and wars will break out when a personal item is used. It’s just a scary situation- Avoid at all costs. It’s for selfish uncooperative houses.

It’s definitely best to find out what kind of house you’re moving in too.

In any case, always share so that when you need something you won’t feel bad for asking. Always ask before taking, and always ensure that everyone around you is as happy as you can make them without over stepping your limits. A full bellied house hold is a happy house hold!

“Housemate Types” The Extrovert

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The Extrovert

Habitat Habits: The Extrovert can vary incredibly. This type has a large potential to actually hit “The Keeper” status. Extroverts can be noisy, social and sometimes a pain in the butt due to their loud nature- But they can just as easily be clean, tidy and help around the house. It all depends on the level of personality (or lack thereof) that the Extrovert displays.

When to run: This one is easy. You’ll know-without a doubt. You will be kept up until 2-3 a.m. most nights by loud music, loud people in your living room, loud phone conversations in the house mates bedroom, and your house will be party central. This may actually be the perfect place for you, however, if you are a heavy party goer yourself. If so, live it up, if not, get out!

How to deal with them: You will need to determine if you loathe or love the new social world that has opened up around you. If you loathe it you will need to sit your housemate down and discuss options or possibilities for a slightly quieter house, maybe have a equal nights on/nights off of socialising. If you love it, then you deal with it by partying it up every night with them.

How to learn to love them: Love the fact that your social circle has just expanded exponentially! You now have access to a larger circle of friends, varied locations to head out, and a wide variety of personalities to get to know.

How to get rid of them: It is normally contained within your lease that you must aim to keep your neighbours happy by abiding by satisfactory noise levels. If you really want to get rid of the social noisy butterfly, let your real estate agent know that they are disturbing the peace of your neighbours (and regularly) this shouldn’t be hard due to the multiple noise complaints I’m sure you’ve had.

Final note: The extrovert can do wonders for your social circle, your networks, and your nightlife. If you want to get out there and get more into the party scene, latch yourself to the Extrovert. For the most part they’re mainly only annoying if you’re a student who needs to study due to how loud they are. The only time when you really need to worry is when the Extrovert turns into the Druggie, the Sex Fiend or the Sleaze.

Share ads to avoid

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You’ve most likely seen them but not even realised what they were.

Here are two examples:

Two full time employed males, 24, looking for a single white female. Fun loving house, very social, clean freaks need not apply.”

Full time employed IT technician, looking for quiet, peaceful house mate. Must have own broadband connection, must be used to giving up periods of internet time, must be clean and tidy as well.

The first sounded like a pretty fun place to live until you notice two particular points. The two men are looking for a single white female. What bearing does ones relationship status have on two guys looking for a house mate? Absolutely none when it is the right kind of house. The fact that this is two young men looking for single women sets all kind of blaring warning signs off. Secondly, clean freaks need not apply. They are helpfully telling you that you are moving into a house that is rarely, if ever, cleaned. Run away from ads like this.

The second screams World of Warcraft nerd. Must have own broadband connection? Must be used to sharing said connection? So basically he’s going to piggy back your internet connection for higher game speed. Neat and tidy? Either he’s expecting you to pick up after his mess (coke bottles and chip packets) or he’s genuinely a tidy guy. Whilst not as bad as the first, this is still one to watch out for. It has all the warning signs of a bad housemate drama story written on it.

Let’s take another two into consideration.

Two girls, aged 23 and 19 looking for a fun, exciting room mate. Must be okay with a little noise and a few late nights, no busy bodies or librarians should apply! Looking for a friendly, bubbly personality

Older male (48) looking for young, vibrant, female co-tenant to share smaller apartment in Eastern *********, apartment is furnished, bedroom included, just bring yourself and a happy personality

The first is fine if you are a constant partier. The girls, by saying a “few” late nights, mean most weeknights and every weekend. The “No busy bodies or librarians” statement indicates that they will be doing things they know will be questionable, and will be loud about their other activities. Again, great if you are a partier, run away if you are a quiet student.

The second….Well: Run. Now. Pervert Alert. Fully furnished bedroom? A mid life older male looking for a young female? Sure gramps, once you remove the hidden cameras and install a lock on the door. Just. Run.

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