If you’re going to study abroad, work abroad or just live somewhere new for a while then you might need to find a shared house or apartment. And while apartment hunting at home is a pain, trying to do it in a new city, and maybe in a foreign language, can be even more stressful.
Luckily, this list of tips will make it super easy and pain-free for you.
Even though you may feel pressure to find a house or flat quickly when you arrive in a new place, don’t jump into a situation until you’ve seen at least three or four different places.Book a hostel for at least the first week so you don’t have to worry about packing and moving right away.
Next, when you go to see a place and meet your potential new flatmates be sure to ask all of the right questions.
What questions are those you wonder? Why, they’re written right here. Don’t be offended if some of them seem obvious. Sometimes it’s the most obvious questions that are the easiest to forget. Printing them out and taking them with you won’t hurt either.
Questions to Ask Potential Flatmates:
1. How much is rent? (Depending on the country, you might see rent listed as a weekly price, not monthly. Ask if a price seems too good to be true.)
2. How often is rent due? Weekly, fortnightly (every two weeks)? What day of the week? (All important information if you have a job that only pays once or twice a month and you need to budget ahead.)
3. How much is the bond/security deposit, and under what conditions do I get it back? (It can be equal to a week’s rent or a month’s, depending on who you rent from.)
4. Are there other bills that I’ll be responsible for? (Phone, gas, water…)
5. Is there Internet access, and do I need to chip in for it?
6. What’s the cockroach/bug situation? (Don’t laugh. Do you want to find out two days after you move in that all food has to be kept in the fridge because the cabinets are infested?)
7. Does anyone here smoke? In the house or just outside?
8. Is it alright if I use your kitchen appliances and cookware?
9. Do you share food?
10. Do you split the cost for items like toilet paper, dish soap, cleaning items?
11. Is there heat/air conditioning?
12. What’s the minimum amount of time you’d like a flatmate to stay? Is there a specific date I need to leave by? (In case a missing flatmate is moving back.)
You may also want to ask about proximity to public transportation, noise, where the nearest grocery shopping is, safety issues in the neighborhood, and anything else that’s important to you feeling comfortable.
Most of all, consider whether or not you can see yourself enjoying getting to know these people. The main advantage to getting a room in a shared house or flat instead of living on your own, is that you can live with some friendly locals. So make sure you pick locals who you can imagine turning into friends.