Finding the Right Condo Roommate

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You’ve made up your mind to get a condominium. You’ve studied the rates of real estate properties in the Philippines in different locations. You’ve considered your options, whether to get a condo for sale or rent. Finally, you run through all the expenses … only to find that you do not have enough condo budget! Your solution? Finding a condo roommate!

A condo in the Philippines is typically open to room sharing or sub-lease options. This opens the chance to live in a home that is accessible to your school or workplace, without taking the financial burden all on your own. But finding a roommate is not as easy as finding a friend. In effect, you are looking for a financial partner and fellow condo dweller with whom to share your financial obligations and living space. So before jumping in, consider these steps in making a room sharing option work for you.

Consider your privacy

A good condominium search must precede a roommate search. Of all condo types, a multi-bedroom unit may be best for you. Although generally more expensive than a studio-type, having separate bedrooms (and bathrooms) allows you and your roommates your needed personal spaces. It also allows for multiple activities, like when you need to sleep while another roommate is working on a school project, yet another is entertaining house guests.

Seek referrals

Tell me who your friends are and I’ll tell you who you are. The best way to find a roommate may be through referrals, or having someone to vouch for the character of a potential roommate.  Of course, this does not fully guarantee a person’s character, since having a person as a friend is different from having to live with him. Nevertheless, referrals could give you valuable information to help you decide whether or not accept someone as a roommate.

Consider compatibility issues

No two people are alike. Don’t expect to find a roommate who thinks and acts exactly the way you do. Just like a married couple, there should be some room for tolerance and acceptance of personal differences. Before taking someone in, you need to ask a lot of questions, probe into your roommate’s personality, and then ask yourself how much of these “differences” you are willing to tolerate.

Spot potential conflicts

Although your personalities seem to match – your interests and preferences – this doesn’t mean that there are no more potential conflicts. Aside from personality, check on habits and lifestyle too – sleeping patterns, typical work schedules, bathroom habits, recreational habits (like drinking, smoking, watching television, listening to music) – and see if it conflicts with yours.

Check financial records

It would be good if your roommate turns out to be a good friend. But remember that your primary purpose is to seek financial partnership and not friendship. So check on your potential roommate’s financial capacity – his personal and/or family income. Check also on his reliability as a payer – his records as credit card holder or loan borrower.

Anticipate the expenses

One of the common condo buyer mistakes is lack of anticipation of expenses. There is more to it than the usual utility bills like water and electricity. Living in a secure environment and access to amenities are just some of the perks of being a condo dweller, but these perks go with a price, generally called homeowners association fees. Make sure to anticipate all the expenses so you and our roommates have a clear picture of how to split-up the expenses.

Share the responsibilities

As roommates, your shared responsibility extends from payments to chores. Have a clear and agreed set-up on who cleans the house, who cooks the meals, who locks the doors at night, and who runs outside to pay the bills. It is understood that everyone has a share in keeping your home a livable space, but it is not always clear as to who does what.

Discuss house rules

If you are the condominium owner renting out a room, or if you are the primary lessee of a shared condo for rent, then it is clear that you are the boss of the house. Hence, you get to set the house rules. But in cases where there is equal sharing among roommates, and all your names are in the contract, then there is not necessarily a single boss. In which case, the house rules must be agreed upon by everyone.

Whatever the case may be, make sure that the house rules are explicitly discussed. Rules on the use of stereo and television, accepting overnight guests, drinking and smoking, and other usual causes of conflict must all be included in the rules of the house.

Protect yourself

When you rent a condo, you sign a legally-binding contract with the owner of the condominium unit. This means that you are liable to pay for all expenses incurred for the use of the condo, including rentals, utility bills, damages and fees. For your protection, share this legal responsibility with your roommates by having their names in the contract too. If you are entering a sub-lease agreement, make sure you have a written consent from your unit owner, and a signed internal agreement between you and your roommates. Such agreement should stipulate their financial and moral obligations, including rental and bills payments, and abiding by condo rules and Philippines laws.

Exercise caution

When sharing a living space, it is always possible to come across situations when roommate takes things that you personally own, whether deliberate or unintentional. To avoid this, it is best to double-check your things or to lock them up in your drawer. And before you accuse anyone of stealing, make sure you have clear and hard evidence, and attempt to resolve the issue through a well-mannered conversation.

Like any relationship, communication is the key to knowing each other’s expectations and assessing compatibility. When searching new partners to share the space and expenses of a condo for rent, be open about your thoughts and take time to listen. Once you all move in, there should be no more surprises.



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