A few more things to consider when choosing the off-campus living situation that is right for you.
Regardless of whether you have or have not found housing at this point, you may want to consider sharing expenses with someone. The roommate you choose may be a person with whom you have something in common, either academically or socially. Nevertheless, having a roommate requires sharing kitchen and bathroom facilities, household duties, and utility bills. Regardless of whether your roommate is an old friend or a new acquaintance, you will more than likely find that adjusting to one another’s lifestyle takes time and the willingness to compromise. Situations may change from the original one you bargained for, so you may have to adapt to new people and circumstances.
The following are some issues that you may wish to discuss with a potential roommate before entering into a living arrangement together.
Financially, you have new responsibilities, such as writing checks, paying utilities, and determining how the expenses will be split, as well as how the food expenses will be handled. It is possible that each roommate could take responsibility for one financial task, thereby sharing the load so that no one person is stuck paying all the bills. In order to not jeopardize your credit, make sure that your bills are paid in a timely manner. It is vital that each roommate keeps his or her checking account balanced so that it does not become overdrawn.
Paying bills are not the only financial matters you should share with a roommate. Styles of life may also come into conflict. Are your budgets similar? Both of you must be considerate to keep these differences from causing friction. Roommates should probably be chosen on their ability to adjust and compromise rather than solely on friendship. The best of friends, in many cases, have different habits, which could cause tension and possibly loss of friendship.
A sleeping room is an alternative for those students who cannot afford an apartment of their own and who do not wish to have roommates. Leases and security deposits are rarely required. For the most part, these rooms are in a family’s home, which has its advantages and disadvantages. One advantage is that you may be treated like a member of the family. On the other hand, this live-in-family type of relationship may restrict which visitors you have in your room and it may entail babysitting, housework, or other domestic chores.
Before deciding on a sleeping room, make sure you understand what is expected of you. You should discuss the following: If your sleeping room has no private entrance, make sure your hours do not disturb others in the household. Will your room be in a quiet area of the house away from the main family activities? If you do not have a bathroom of your own and you share it with the family, who is responsible for cleaning it? If your room includes kitchen privileges, what area of the kitchen are you entitled to use? If meals are included in the rent, make sure you are aware of which meals and when those meals are served. Is the family telephone available? What about long distance calls? Make sure there is an understanding with regard to the landlord’s policy about guests, pets, TV use, stereo volume, smoking, etc.