Co-housing: Picking your housemates
So you’ve found some folks you think you might want to live with. Or maybe they’re awesome friends whom you’re super excited to live with. Either way, before signing a lease (or a mortgage!) it’s important to do your due diligence and try to figure out how well you’ll get along living together.
If it’s somebody you don’t know very well, the need might seem obvious. But if it’s an old friend, I posit it’s even more important to check your homie-compatibility index. Being friends and being good housemates are not the same thing. When considering co-housing, probably the most important thing is picking the right people to live with. My very wise housemate Heater developed this list of discussion topics to go over with potential roommates.
- Communication style
- Occupancy dates
- Regular meetings
- Use of the Common Spaces
- Scheduling use of space
- Methods of rent
- Parking and neighbors
We recommend scheduling 2-3 hours of uninterrupted time together to discuss everything on this list. It takes a while to talk about everything! Discuss each topic, and write down your expectations for how a household should work. This forms an informal social contract that you can refer back to. Make note of differences of opinion. Decide how you’ll deal with them, or recognize that the barriers to a happy house are too large.