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Flying the nest, take two: Moving out of halls and into independent housing

Dos and don'ts to consider before you move in with the first people who'll have you

For most first years who have been gracing their halls of residence, it’s about time to think about next year’s housing. Although it seems like a simple choice, there is more to sharing a house than shacking up with whoever you got on with the most in your first year. Here are a few dos and don’ts to consider when it comes to choosing your accommodation for next year.

Don’t: move in with someone you fancy

So you’ve managed to convince that your crush move into the same house as you? Well, that’s fantastic news, right? Probably not. There’s a bit of a dichotomy of possible outcomes with this one. First: that they’ll like you enough to eventually sleep with you (the one you want to happen) and second: that they’ll never really see you as a sexual conquest (the one you probably don’t want to happen).

The first outcome seems pretty good, but you’re stuck with this person for a year, and unless you’re okay with moving in with a new girlfriend/boyfriend straight away, it’s not going to end well. A couple of months down the line, you’ll have one hot housemate who doesn’t really want to look at you ever again. Not the best thing when you share a bathroom, kitchen and living room - or bedroom walls.

The second isn’t going to be that great either. Once you’ve realised your eye-candy doesn’t want to be tasted then you’re stuck with a forbidden fruit-pop that most likely will be banging the walls all night with someone else (student housing normally has thin walls). So if you’ve still got the choice, I’d suggest picking people less likely to cause awkward social situations and late-night percussion sessions. Plus, this will increase your chance of being the best-looking in the house, which is good for your self esteem.

Do: get a natural cleaner

There are two types of people in the world: those who can handle mess and those who can’t sleep without a bottle of Dettol placed neatly on their plastic-wrapped pillow. The latter is a bonus in a student house. Now, I am not implying that you leave one person to do all the cleaning; you should look after you own mess, washing up and so on. Yet there are some messes that are not so easily divided into the "who done it" Venn diagram. This is when a housemate with Ataxophobia (fear of untidiness), or one who is a natural-born cleaner, as I call it, comes in handy. 

Someone has to do the bins, clean the sides, hoover the floor and scrub the bathroom, and if there’s someone in your house who does it, before you have the chance to grumble at the thought of it, then lucky you. Don’t confuse this type of person with a control freak though; a control freak will grab you by the neck and stick your nose in the mess until you understand not to make it anymore. Look for someone who has to keep things clean, but isn’t too aggressive about it. Most of all look for someone who enjoys it, then everybody wins.

Do: get someone who cares about money

I don’t mean a Monty Burns money lover. I mean someone who is aware that money is needed to pay bills. Many of you, who have had the luxury of halls in your first year, have been able to blast the heating and plug in all your gizmos and gadgets, you crazy futuristic kids, without worry. But now that you’re going to be paying for these utilities monthly, you’re going to need someone to keep it all in check or you’ll end up with a toasty, gas-cooked house with all the windows open and a big hole in your overdraft. Although you’re now all independent and living without your parents, you’re going to need someone in the house to tell you to stop shivering and put on another jumper. It’s either that or waste alcohol money… which conveniently leads to…

Don’t: move in with the really cool person from your halls who goes out every night and loves new, cutting edge, dumpstep-electro-house-mega funk bass and insists they play it ALL THE TIME

They might be fun now you can get away from them every now and again. But when you’re in a tiny little house, with walls so thin you can see silhouettes if you push them flat, you will see and hear them every single day. Don’t do it; everyone needs sleep. If you do, then about a month in you’ll wish you never had, and will be babbling plans to kidnap and torch their synthesiser. 

Do: give it a decent amount of thought

The main thing to think about is who you really want to live with for a year or possibly two. Being friends with someone isn’t enough, and sometimes it makes it harder to tell them something that is bothering you. I have heard of more than enough situations of people moving in with what they thought were friends, only to have the house fall apart within months. Finally, the best advice I can give is to not expect anything from people. If you enter a house expecting everyone to understand and agree with your comforts then you’re going to walk into hostility. Be open to compromises and you’re less likely to find yourself cursing the day you said, "yeah sure, I’d love to move in with you guys".