Friday, March 30, 2018

Renting with Family Survival Guide

As more and more of us are sharing living spaces to cut back on expenses, we find ourselves turning to family.  Living with family can be wonderful, harmonious, and healthy—not to mention an ideal way to save money or pay down debt.  However, the opposite can be just as easily the case.  Old patterns, frustrations, grievances, and annoyances with family can quickly resurface as soon as family members move in.  Despite this, by establishing a clear game plan, setting up solid guidelines, and remaining grateful, you can avoid these pitfalls and keep your family relationships in tact while living together.  

Have a Game Plan

Before your family member moves in, it is crucial to establish clear objectives, priorities, and timelines.  This way, all parties transparently know what the living arrangements include.  To do this, you need to have a conversation about what is hoped for and expected from the living arrangement, including finances (how much is required for rent and utilities), and timelines (when will they be moving in and out).  Determining the “what” and “when” of the living arrangement, in a clear and open manner, lets you avoid problems down the road.

Establish Rules and Guidelines

With a general agreement in place, the next step is to drill down to the details.  Every living arrangement will fall apart without clear guidelines, so take the time to determine, together, what the expectations are for cooking, cleaning, entertaining, and the use of communal space.  By figuring out what the roles and responsibilities are around groceries, meals, cleanliness, and individual boundaries, you can do a lot to create a harmonious home.  Being observant and respectful of each other’s space is particularly important.  For instance, if a parent is moving in and you happen to have children, be sure to implement clear ground rules governing when your child can knock on your parent’s door, and when they should allow your parent his or her privacy.

Be Gracious and Grateful

Unlike a casual roommate family is for life, so no matter how annoyed you might find yourself, remember to remain gracious, and to pick your battles.  Your familial relationships outbalance the small annoyances that might come from sharing a living space, so think twice before losing your temper.  It might be worth letting some dirty dishes go, if it means keeping the peace.  Also, by sharing your living expenses your family member is doing you a huge favour, so keep your gratitude level high when you feel the old annoyances and frustrations creeping back in.

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