A few months ago a close friend and I discussed the possibility of sharing a home together. At first it seemed like a good idea, but as we talked more about it, I came to realize that it probably wasn’t a great idea. I realized it wouldn’t work while following a thorough process to find a good housemate. So what happened?
Our primary “must-haves” are similar. We both want to live in an area that isn’t too far from a major city that we can easily drive to. We both must have; a fenced yard for the dogs, private space within the house so we can work quietly, and also be able to enjoy alone time without the constant presence of another person or having to leave the house. Our taste in home decor is similar. We enjoy cooking and entertaining. But we do have some major differences that got me thinking that we could possibly end up not being friends.
One dealbreaker boils down to location. She is close to her god daughter and wants to live near her. That limits the area of where to live. Whereas I’m flexible. (I do want to avoid extreme northeast winters). My preference would be to settle in Santa Monica, but my friends wants nothing to do with Southern California, citing expense and too much traffic. We both like Oregon (her god daughter lives outside of Portland) and Washington (where we both have friends), but we can’t quite pinpoint the spot that could make us happy.
Housing cost is an issue. My friend can afford to buy a house (and I would rent from her) but certain areas are simply too expensive. Because she no longer is able to work, she needs to make sure that the money from the selling of her mother’s house is able to sustain her for several years along with her savings and social security. I have more flexibility–up to a certain point. Much of it depends on my income as a freelance writer.
There are other dealbreakers. We’ve had discussions where I feel I need to let the matter drop because she doesn’t fully understand the situation or refuses to see it from a different viewpoint. These are personality differences that could cause serious misunderstandings.
For The Time Being…
The reality, at the moment, is that we’ve both backed off of the idea. As of late, the topic hasn’t been brought up. I’m sure she has her reservations as well. However, our early discussions have made me more aware of what I must have and what I don’t want in a shared housing situation. So for the time being, my friend is just that–a friend who is always welcome in my home for a visit and great conversation.
This is a great example of paying attention to the dynamics ahead of time. Choosing to live with a friend can be heaven or it can be hell. Heaven because of all the ways you already like and respect each other. Hell because your ways of living at home might not actually be compatible. Like in Rebeca’s example, only you can know what will work for you. Here are two examples of friends living together quite happily. Meanwhile They Own a Condo. This House Needs People.
Read more about living with someone in shared housing: The Timing Was Right , How Do You Know When It’s Time To Move Out?
Last Updated on June 21, 2021 by Annamarie
I can’t point you to a published list of must haves or dealbreakers, but if you take a look at the free downloads offered here: http://sharinghousing.com/worksheets-housemates-interview-selection-roommate/. It will help you determine what you really need in a home sharing environment both physically (by that I mean the space you’ll be living in) and emotionally. If you do the worksheets, you’ll be pretty surprised at discovering at things that you’ve never given that much thought to like having some creature comforts like a washer and dryer on the premises, your own bathroom with a tub, and a spot to park your car. These might be trivial, but they become quality of life issues (I know because I don’t have all three at the moment). On the emotional level, what qualities do you want your home-mate to have in common with you? Do you want someone who is age compatible? Someone who is very outgoing and isn’t around often? Or someone who you can invite into your circle of friends?
Sit-down and do the worksheets. They will help you spot the dealbreakers and narrow down the must-haves.
Good luck in your search!
Gregory Bruce Golden
Rebeca … interesting thoughtful writing … I just spent about 9 months working toward a shared house with a friend but the effort has ended (she is buying a new-built rowhouse close to her children and family). I am intrigued with the concept of better expressing “must haves” (and “must not haves”?) and dealbreakers (and “dealmakers”) … do you have or can point me to published lists of either?