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Living with Strangers
Written by Toni Rogan / Published on 18 July 2016

Finding the best accommodation for your needs can be daunting, so here are the pros and cons of sharing a home with strangers.

Are you planning on moving out? Finding that money is tight? Perhaps you don’t know how to cook either? Renting a room from complete strangers might just be the accommodation you are looking for.

The phrase ‘stranger danger’ may come to mind. Honestly, living with strangers can be both a blessing and a curse, so it’s important to know what you are signing up to before going in head first.

To help shed light on this living option, here are a few of the pros and cons to living in the ‘stranger danger’ zone.

Rent is cheap.
This is the first feature you will notice when scouring Gumtree for a room. Why rent an entire house by yourself for $300+ per week (depending where you live) when you can easily find a room for less than $100? Cheap rent can be a good option if you don’t have a decent income, or if you just want to be able to put some extra money away for a rainy day.

Yes, you have to share.
This shouldn’t come as a shock, but by renting a room you are doing just that: renting a singular room. All other facilities, such as bathroom and living room, are generally shared between house-mates. You may be lucky enough to get an ensuite in your bedroom but that will cost you extra as it means you get the best bedroom in the house. Learn to share and you will have no problems.

You don’t have to buy enough furniture to fill an entire house.
Generally the house is already established and others are just looking to fill an extra room, meaning the furniture is already there. Another possibility is that you all just buy a couple of household items each and take them when you move out. Either way, you don’t have to go and spend thousands of dollars for an entire house of furniture. Just fill your room to your heart’s desire and you’re set!

You won’t always get that much needed space.
You might go sit in the lounge room to read a book on the comfy couch only to find your roomie comes in a turns the TV on. You might be starving but you have to wait for the kitchen to be free because someone felt inspired to make a lasagne from scratch. You could always lock yourself in your room but that gets cramped after a while. Living with others means being ok with having people doing things around you and having to wait for certain parts of the house to be free. If you have patience, this isn’t such a bad point.

The bond on a house is rather cheap, or doesn’t exist at all.
The worst part about renting a house is having to save up four weeks of rent for a bond. When you are renting a room however, you can split the bond between a few people and make it cheaper for everyone. If you rent a room privately, you may be lucky enough to not have to pay a bond at all.

Getting a group of strangers to all follow the same rules is hard.
Who cleans what area? How do you make sure that it’s not always the same person buying toilet paper? These are some of the chores to consider when sharing a house. A lot of the time, your idea of a clean house may differ to someone else’s or they may swear that they bought the last roll of toilet paper when in actual fact it was you. Communication is key when sharing a house otherwise it will turn into a lot of effort over something as simple as “who used a frypan and didn’t wash it up?”

Themed food nights are awesome.
Especially when one of your roomies knows a thing or two about making tasty Mexican food. If you get along with your roommates, you could suggest one night a week/fortnight/month where you all pitch in and make some food together. This is a great bonding session and you may even find out that one of your roomies is the next Jamie Oliver.

The fridge will never be big enough.
It is guaranteed that you will go shopping and then struggle to find room for your groceries in the shared fridge. There’s no explanation for it, there is just simply never room. If you can, buy a minibar for your bedroom otherwise you will always be fighting for a shelf in the shared fridge. This also saves the argument of “who ate my food?” The same goes for freezer space.

Your roomies might turn out to be the coolest people you’ll ever meet.
You might have a few things in common. Maybe you like the same restaurant and make a night to go there once in a while. Perhaps they could even teach you something new. Your roomie may just become your best friend.

Your roomies might turn out to be the most annoying people you’ll ever meet.
They may be messy, or not respect your privacy. They may have people over at horrible hours of the night or take a really long time in the shower when you need to get to work. It’s always a gamble when committing to living with people you have never met before.

Sharing a house with strangers may be cheaper on the wallet but testing on the patience. It may be easy to get along with your roommates or they might really annoy you. These are things that need to be considered before moving in with people you have never met. Living with others might not be for everyone but it might just be for you. Be nice to your roomies and everything should be fine!