Should I move out with friends or strangers?

Claudia

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Ah the age old question, who should I live with? The “flatmate maketh the share house” is legit and if you’re signing on a year lease, you want to make sure you get along with the people you live with. So friend or strangers? Whilst we’re a little biased, we’ve summed up the pros and cons below.

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Pros and cons of living with strangers

Living with a stranger you met on the internet can seem bizarre. What if they look nothing like their profile photo? What if their hair clogs up the bathroom drain? What if they smell? It can always be a risk living with strangers but with over half of you telling us that you’d rather live with strangers than with your friends, the rewards are often worth it.

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4 benefits of having a stranger as your flatmate:

1. You don’t know them
This is a massive pro because not only do you have the opportunity to make an incredible friend, but you don’t have to worry about having awkward conversations about the house, cleaning, bills etc as your whole relationship is based around living together. These conversations are often much easier had with a stranger rather than a friend.

2. You can have a fresh start
Following on from the above, because you have a clean slate with new flatmates, you can create the house and living environment that you like and can let people know upfront what you expect for the house. The best idea when living with strangers is to put all of your expectations up front in your ad, so that you’re all on the same page from the get go. Better yet, use our Flatmates Agreement.

3. New friends
We love new friends! Meeting and moving in with a new flatmate might just be the beginning of a beautiful friendship. And who wants to say no to new friends?

4. Pick flatmates to keep yourself accountable
When choosing to live with strangers, you can choose flatmates who might suit your lifestyle or your goals. Are you wanting to get more into fitness this year? Try looking for a flatmate who states they are looking for gym buddy in their listing. Or are you hoping to spend less on Uber Eats? Try and find a flatmate who says they love to cook and wants to share family dinners.

3 negatives of having a stranger as your flatmate:

1.You don’t know them
As much as this is a pro, this is also a con. Living with someone you don’t know means there is a lot of unknown – they might have strange little idiosyncrasies that annoy the hell out of you or do strange things in the house that you don’t rock your boat – like stay in their room all the time or not rinse their dishes before popping them in the dishwasher.

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Luckily for you, these little things are usually easily sorted by quick convo.

2. You might not like each other
Whilst getting used to someone’s quirks and ways of living is one thing, full out not getting along with someone is another issue entirely. Sit down, brew a cuppa and have a chat about how you can try and make the space work together, despite your differences. If things get really bad, there are other options.

3. Small talk
There’s going to be a lot of small talk as you get to know each other, which is a annoying but vital foundational piece in creating an amazing share house environment. It doesn’t have to be boring though! Have a fun quiz night or a boozy dinner or head for brunch at your local café to get to know each other better. There’s so many activities you can do with your new flatmates to bond. Nawwww.

Pros and cons of living with friends

Living with your bestie sounds the absolute best! You can do face-masks every night, binge your favourite shows and take over the whole lounge playing xbox because you know they love a bit of COD too.

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3 benefits of living with friends:

1. You know them
Living with your bestie is fab because, well they are your bestie! You know all of their flaws and that they have to have 3 coffees in the morning before they can even resemble a human being. You know in advance that their partner will be over at least 3 nights a week and that they take their Irish breakfast with a “dash of milk.”

2. It will be fun to live with them
Obviously you’re friends for a reason, so of course you’re going to have a great time living together. It’s basically just extending your friendship further. Every night is a sleepover when your friend moves in!

3.You know if they’re a good tenant
Whether this is their first share house, or their 5th, you know what kind of tenant they will be. If it’s their first share house, you’ve been to their family home and you know the way they live, if they can cook, if they have a job and are good at paying their bills on time (phone, petrol etc). If this is their 5th share house, you’ve heard all of their qualms and issues with their previous flatmates, so you know what to look out for and what conflicts to avoid.

4 negatives of living with friends:

1. You know them and all their faults
Knowledge is power and this can be a blessing and a curse. If you and your friend always bump heads on your political views and what you think of Scomo, this isn’t going away when you move in together and will only be enhanced.

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If they said they used to steal food from their old flatmates – this could become an issue. Make sure you have a conversation about this before they move in.

2. It can be hard to know the line
Living with your friend, it can be hard to know the line between friendship and flatmate. Sometimes you have those nights where you don’t want to talk and don’t want to be social and just want to snuggle up in your bed and watch Euphoria. Being anti-social when you live with your friend can be hard to communicate – your friend might take your break as you avoiding them. It can be difficult to have your own space and privacy when you live with your friends.

3. Awkward to have hard conversations
Having difficult conversations about the house, bills and rent can be even harder when it’s your friend, particularly if their behaviour is affecting the house environment. It can be hard for friends to separate a house conversation from a personal attack and so often these conversations are left unsaid. This can then lead to resenting your friend and a big old tension build up.

4. Timing
Living with your friends can seem great, but it can often be hard to match up your timing. Your lease might be up mid June, but they’re ready to move in the next 2 weeks. You then have to navigate breaking leases, paying double rent and bills or making a move quicker than you planned. Living with strangers means you’ll always be able to find someone to move in with, whenever you’re ready.

So if you are on the hunt for new flatmates, have decided to take the plunge and meet up with some super cool people you haven’t met before, we’ve got you covered! All you have to do is create and account, create a listing and get searching!

author

Claudia

claudia@flatmates.com.au

@claudiaconley_

Claudia is Flatmates' Community Manager. She loves her share house, her plants and her side-hustles.