Renting with roommates can be a new and exciting journey, a first step into independence, and a great way to save on soaring living expenses. But, like with anything, it’s not without its trials. 

Here are ten mistakes to avoid when sharing your space. Whether you’re a seasoned sharer or a first-time roommate, avoiding these mistakes is crucial in helping you create a peaceful living situation.

1. Not Establishing Clear Communication from the Start

Communication is so important for any relationship– not just when it comes to who you’re living with. Don’t just assume your roommates can read your mind. Be open about your expectations, habits, and boundaries from the beginning. This includes discussing schedules, noise preferences, and pet peeves.

2. Overlooking the Importance of a Written Agreement

Having a written agreement can save you from countless headaches and potential financial trouble in the future. A good written agreement should outline the division of rent, utility costs, and other shared expenses. We also recommend including house rules and responsibilities.

If you’re renting a room from a live-in landlord, the rules might be different, and you’re likely to have a written agreement in place already. This will outline your responsibilities, expectations, and which bills are included.

3. Failing to Respect Personal Space

Everyone needs time to themselves, especially when they’re living with others. It’s so important to respect each other’s personal space and belongings. This means asking permission before borrowing anything. Even if your housemate let you borrow their hairdryer before, don’t take for granted that they will again. It’s always better to ask.

Unless it’s an emergency, avoid going into your housemate’s room without permission, even if you’re happy for them to come into yours.

4. Neglecting Cleaning Duties

A clean home is a happy home! One housemate might be happy to take the trash out a few times, but it will soon get tedious for them if they’re the only one doing it.  Creating a cleaning schedule can help you avoid future conflicts, prevent resentment from building up, and ensure shared spaces stay clean and tidy for everyone. It’s also a great way to see if any housemates aren’t pulling their weight.

5. Being Financially Irresponsible

Remember, your financial actions affect your roommates, too. Pay your share of the rent and utilities on time to avoid tension and conflicts. Financial irresponsibility can strain relationships and may even lead to legal complications, so if you’re struggling with money or something unexpected has come up (such as an unforeseen bill), make sure your housemates are aware of it before it’s too late.

6. Ignoring the Importance of Compromise

Living with others is a huge lesson in compromise. We’re only human, which means you won’t always agree on everything, from the thermostat setting to the volume of the TV. Learn to give and take and find solutions that work for everyone.

7. Forgetting to Set Boundaries

Just because you live together, it doesn’t mean you have to do everything together. It’s okay to set boundaries. Whether it’s quiet hours, visitor policies, or shared food rules, make sure that everyone is on the same page from the offset. Keeping quiet and learning to live with something that makes you uncomfortable will just make you miserable in the long run and may even ruin your relationships with your housemates.

8. Not Resolving Conflicts Maturely

Disagreements are inevitable, but it’s how you handle them that truly matters. Address issues directly, but don’t forget to be respectful about it. 

Avoiding resolving conflicts completely can be so much worse than addressing them disrespectfully. You may think you’re avoiding arguments, but letting frustrations simmer can lead to tension in the house. If you feel like another roommate is upset with you, ask them politely if you can talk about it.

9. Underestimating the Power of Courtesy

You may not be the best of friends, but simple acts of courtesy can go a long way. This includes saying ‘please’ and ‘thank you,’ keeping the noise down during late or early hours, and showing appreciation for your roommates.

10. Not Utilizing Resources like SpareRoom

Finding roommates can be a daunting task, especially if you’ve never done it before. This is where resources like SpareRoom come in handy. 

SpareRoom is a website that allows you to search for compatible roommates based on your location and living preferences. By using this platform, you can increase your chances of finding roommates who align with your values, reducing the potential for conflict. And with thousands of rooms available around the US, you don’t have to venture far for the perfect roommate.

SpareRoom also has loads of handy tips, tricks, and informational guides for you to sink your teeth into. Compare prices and more.


Living with roommates can be an enriching and unforgettable experience, but that doesn’t mean it’s without its challenges. By avoiding these common mistakes, you set the stage for a positive and harmonious shared living environment. Remember, it’s all about communication, respect, and a little bit of compromise.