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Learning More About Real Estate

After finally saving up enough money to use as a down payment, I decided that it was time to hit the market. I met with a lender, got pre-approved for a loan, and then started visiting different properties. However, I quickly realized that I didn't know as much about real estate as I would have hoped. I wanted to find a great neighborhood and know what to ask the professionals, but I could tell that I needed a little help. To point me in the right direction, I started working with a great real estate agent who was familiar with the area. This blog is all about educating the general public on real estate matters.

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Three Things You Need To Discuss With Your Potential New Roommate Before You Sign The Lease

by Nathan Olson

Living with a roommate for the first time is a major adjustment. Even if your new roommate is your best friend, you've never lived together. You probably don't know about all of your friend's annoying habits or how your friend handles taking care of various responsibilities. So, before you start looking for the perfect two-bedroom apartment, you need to discuss a few things with your future roommate.

Splitting Expenses

Living with a roommate means splitting the cost of all of your living expenses. However, in order to do that you need to determine what expenses you plan to split. Roommates typically split the cost of rent and the utilities, but what about all of your other household expenses? You need to determine how you plan to divide the cost of groceries and other household expenses as well. To do that:

  1. Determine what personal items each roommate will purchase for themselves. For example, are you going to be responsible for purchasing your own shampoo or will that be an item that is included in your shared household costs?
  2. Set a maximum monthly budget for groceries and household items.
  3. Divide the total of your monthly budget in half. This is the amount that each roommate will be responsible for paying each month. If you don't spend as much as you expected to one month, you can split the leftover cash or save it in case you go over your budget in the future.

Paying Bills

Before you move into your new two-bedroom apartment, you need to determine which one of you will be responsible for paying the bills each month. This way, bills don't go unpaid because you both assumed the other person paid them. If neither of you want to take total responsibility for paying the bills, consider rotating the responsibility each month. Also, you need to determine whether you want the roommate who isn't paying the bills to give the other roommate a cash payment each month or you prefer to open a joint checking account to use as a household account. Opening a joint bank account makes it easy for both parties to deposit a specific amount of money each payday and for your to keep track of your expenses.

Set a Rule for Overnight Guests

Even if you and your roommate are single when you rent your two-bedroom apartment, you might not stay single for the duration of your lease. So, it's important to discuss how you want to handle overnight guests. You don't need to be overly detailed about your rules for overnight guests, but you do need to set some guidelines. Specifically, you need to determine how often significant others are allowed to sleepover before they become responsible for a portion of the bills, and how you'll split the bills if one person's significant other moves into the apartment. After all, it's not fair for your roommate to continue paying half of the grocery bill if your significant other is eating breakfast, lunch, and dinner at your place.

Living with someone else isn't always easy, and the last thing you want to do is allow small details to ruin your friendship. So, before you start hunting for a new two-bedroom apartment, take some time to make decisions about your shared expenses and set some ground rules for issues of importance that might arise.

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