Living with a roommate opens a lot of doors when it comes to affordability in housing:
- Better locations
- Bigger housing
- Updated amenities
This is not to mention the bonds often formed and that it can be nice to have the extra company at times. Oh, and did we mention the money you can potentially save for other financial goals? However, there are possible pitfalls to having a roommate as well as:
- Less privacy
- Potential for conflict over bills/housework
Speaking to the latter, specifically the bills and housing costs, it’s imperative that you come up with a way to evenly distribute the costs of housing between you and your roommate. This should be a discussion with your roommate before they move in and the lease is signed, otherwise, you could be heading for some uncomfortable discussions.
Below, we’ve listed the best ways to split housing costs with roommates and save everyone the headache.
Create a Housing Budget
Before you can decide how much each roommate will be responsible for financially, you’ll need to determine what all will require payment. Discuss the following with your roommate:
- How much will rent be each month?
- Will there be HOA fees?
- Will there be any parking/garage fees?
- What utility bills will there be and what are the expected amounts?
- Will you have a gardener or landscaper?
Once you’ve determined what bills are to be expected each month, outline a budget with the expected amounts. Keep the budget updated as it changes and sharable between you and your roommate.Will you have a housekeeper? WIll there be internet and cable in the home?
Determine Who Pays What
Once you’ve constructed your housing and amenities budget with your roommate, you’ll need to determine who is responsible for paying what. This can be handled by either dividing the total costs in half or dividing the bills equally. However, depending on your living situation, you may want to consider one or the other of you paying less in rent if they have a smaller bedroom or don’t have their own bathroom, etc.
Determine Which Expenses Will Remain Individual
Not all expenses need to be shared between you and your roommate, and those expenses that are to remain separate should be outlined from the beginning so there is no confusion later on. Some personal expenses can include:
- Pet expenses
Clearly Identify Who Does What
Even though you may both be financially contributing to the payment of rent and utilities, you probably only want one person responsible for making the said payments. Determine who will execute the paying of all bills each month; the other roommate can pay their share to the roommate responsible for writing the checks. Apps like Venmo and Paypal make it easy for you to pay your share to the roommate who is conducting the bill and rent paying.
Remaining on the same page as your roommate is essential to you having a good experience. If there is a problem with a service or bill, be sure to communicate with your roommate immediately. It’s also important that you both notify each other of any forthcoming changes.
Don’t be Late
It’s vital that your roommate feels they can depend on you for your share of the financial responsibilities. Always try to avoid being late with any of your share; whether from forgetfulness or not being able to afford the payment. If you do run into a situation where you cannot afford to pay for your share on time, be up front with your roommate and seek to work out a resolution together. It’s not fair if your roommate is caught off guard with a situation related to your inability to pay your share.