When searching for a share house to move in to, there are no second chances. Appearing a little weird in your profile or saying the wrong thing during the interview will get you culled faster than you can say “who forgot to flush?”
Living with people you don’t know or inviting someone random to move in with you is risky. This is someone you’re going to have boring conversations about your day with, see their pubic hairs in the bathroom and get annoyed at when they leave your Tupperware at work. It’s an intimate relationship. And if it doesn’t have a solid grounding it has great potential to turn sour. Even the best of friends living together can turn ‘who-ate-my-pear’ shaped! In order to give it the best chance to work, a careful selection process is necessary.
For those looking for a share-house:
Currently the Sydney rental market is so bad it is the house’s choice if they want you or not. You will have to be on your game if you want to get that room because there are plenty of other advertising executives trying for the same place.
- The first thing to remember is that it’s important to be yourself. However, there are parts of all of us that are a bit shit. So my advice is to mask these things that are a little bit shit until you have secured your new house and your housemates have gotten to know and love you. Once they get to know you a little better they’ll be more forgiving, or at least by then you will have your arse groove in the couch and it will be too late for them to change their mind.
- If you go through a website like Flatmate Finders you may need to create a profile. Make it a good one and get someone (other than your mum) to read it. They will judge you if you sound difficult or if there are heaps of spelling mistakes. They don’t want to live with a pain in the arse or a dumb-arse.
- Is that profile picture of you ‘leaning’ really how you want your new housemates to see you first? Find one where you are happy and look semi-normal. If this isn’t possible don’t upload a picture. Under no circumstances should you substitute a photo of yourself with a picture of your cat.
- At the interview you’ll only have about 15-30 minutes to make a good impression. This isn’t enough time to get them drunk so you will have to rely on your social skills. If you are lacking in social skills perhaps you could prepare some hilarious jokes or maybe do them a lovely drawing?
- If you bring your boyfriend to the interview and he does all the talking they won’t want to live with you. Cut.
- If you pronounce schnitzel, ‘snitzel’? Cut.
- If you’re an out of work actor? Sorry, but… Cut.
- Don’t leave your umbrella outside the front door and freak out totally when it gets stolen. It’s Surry Hills. You should know better. But “if we see a junkie with an Oroton umbrella we’ll be sure to let you know”. Cut.
- Don’t appear desperate. If you have been house hunting for months and can’t find a place, keep this quiet. They will wonder why you can’t find a place to live. To them you appear like the summer sale rack at Myer in the middle of winter, there must be good reason no one has bought you yet. Cut.
For those looking for a housemate
Even though you are spoilt for choice at the moment it is still important to make the right decision about your new housemate. You still have to sort the freaks from the legends and find the person who slots right into your hipster household groove.
- Ordinarily I’m all for getting to know someone properly before you judge them. But in this circumstance you can forget it. This person will be in daily reach of your toothbrush so you have to be certain they aren’t going to do something gross with it. Judge them as much as possible. Judge their skanky profile picture, their horrible neck tattoo and if they go to the Ivy Pool Bar. If they mention their favourite channel is Foxtel’s ‘Crime & Investigation’ right before they speak about their upcoming court hearing, maybe think twice. Judge.
- Carefully trawl through profiles. Sometimes you can see the warning signs even before you meet someone. Are they 30 but still living with their parents because “they do everything for me, why would I leave?” You don’t want to be this guys pseudo mother.
- Look out for signs they are extremely tight with money. Indications may include if they search your couch for loose change before they leave. Do you really want to live with someone who will make you chip in when you use a squirt of toothpaste? Think twice.
- Be aware of people that describe themselves as laid back. Everyone has a different definition of ‘laid back’. The best way to find this out is to ask them extremely personal and/or offensive questions such as “and how old were you when you first got your period?” Then you will see just how laid back they really are.
- Before they arrive for the interview ensure the house is much cleaner than it normally is. You want to set the standards high and get someone better than you in every way. You don’t want a new housemate who is just going to sloth about in their own filth as you do. Ask them if they are clean. Watch their reactions. They are lying. No one that lives in share houses really ‘likes cleaning’.
- When showing them around the apartment be sure to point out all the things you are going to do to improve the place once they move in. “Oh yeah we’re getting this broken step replaced soon, and the water should be back on any day now, once we have paid the bill”. Don’t worry that you are filling them with false hope, you can knock this out of them once they move into your slob palace.
- Once you have chosen your future urban family member, don’t message them straight away. Leave them hanging for a day or two so they maybe think you have found someone else. Then hit them with a casual text. They will be stoked and you will all live happily ever after… (until your landlord decides to sell the house in six months).
Do you have any other tips for share-house-hunting? Please share with the group.