Living with one or more roommates is particularly common these days. In fact, more than 30 percent of adults aged 23 – 65 said they lived with a roommate in a 2017 Zillow survey.
Sharing a home with roommates can be one of the best experiences of your life or the worst. If you’re planning to rent a Central New Jersey apartment with roommates, these tips can make the experience a positive one.
Ask the Right Questions Before You Choose Roommates
The ability to pay the bills isn’t the only qualification that makes someone a good roommate. His or her lifestyle is also important. Ask questions about:
- Working Hours: Are his or her hours similar to yours? If your roommate works days while you work nights, is he or she willing to be quiet while you sleep?
- Lifestyle: Does your potential roommate smoke or drink? How often does he or she expect to entertain friends at home? Does he or she have a significant other?
- Pets: Will one of you be bringing a pet to the apartment?
- Expectations: Do you want to become friends with your roommates, or are you just looking for someone to share expenses with? (Although either approach is fine, it helps to understand what the other roommates expect before you sign a lease.)
Set a Few Ground Rules
Ground rules can prevent misunderstandings that threaten your relationship with your roommates. You may want to decide on quiet hours and make cleaning and trash removal schedules.
Food issues are a common cause of trouble between roommates. Designating specific shelves in the refrigerator and cabinets make it easier to tell whose food is whose. You may also want to decide if certain types of food will be purchased and shared by the entire group. For example, it may make sense to share spices, coffee creamer, sugar, and other staples.
Decide How You’ll Pay the Rent and Other Bills
If your landlord doesn’t allow each roommate to pay rent separately, decide who will make the rent payment and how you’ll reimburse that person. Do you want one person to handle paying all of the bills or split the responsibility between all of the roommates? Setting a monthly deadline for payments can help prevent misunderstandings and confusion.
Discuss Guests and Entertaining
Things can get awkward if one of your roommates has a boyfriend or girlfriend who practically lives at your apartment. Make sure you all agree on how often guests can stay overnight, and discuss any limitations you’d like to place on guests. Some compromises may be necessary if your roommates would prefer having friends over nearly every night, while you’d prefer to limit a few nights to roommates only.
Respect Your Roommate's Space and Belongings
No matter how much you like your roommates, chances are you all need a little personal time occasionally. You may want to clarify when you are and aren’t available for socializing. If the door to your room is closed, under what circumstances do you want to be interrupted? Are your roommates allowed to borrow your pots, pans, towels, food, or clothing without asking?
Determine How You’ll Settle Conflicts
Minor irritations are more likely to become major problems if you don’t have a system in place for handling conflicts. Weekly meetings can help you address potential problems and come up with solutions and compromises. Of course, you won’t want to wait an entire week if there’s a major issue. A quick, friendly reminder may be all it takes to get your roommate to wash the plates that have been sitting in the sink for two days.
Have you been looking for the perfect Central New Jersey apartment for you and your roommates? A Country Classics rental community in Bridgewater, Somerset or Frenchtown may be the ideal option for you. These communities feature spacious bedrooms, washers and dryers, and large kitchens with stainless steel appliances. Contact our leasing team today to learn more about availability!