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6 best ways to spend the summer with your flatmate

6 best ways to spend the summer with your flatmate

It’s summer again and the days are so long and full of opportunities to have a great time spent together with your flatmate. Get some inspiration from our 6 best ways to spend the summer with your flatmate and create memories that will keep you warm during the cold winter days:

1. Throw an urban picnic
Who said that having lunch should be a boring activity taking place in your dining room? Avail of the sun outside and the shades of the closest park and throw an urban picnic for your flatmate! You can even use the food that’s already in the fridge so there’s no need to go broke for the sake of having lunch outside.

2. Attend a local festival
Do you know what’s great about summer? It’s full of outdoor events that are so appealing you just can’t say “No” to them! Look up the next festival you and your flatmate would be interested in attending and prepare for a night under the stars full of your favorite music.

3. Hit the road
No matter where you live, there are undoubtedly tens (if not tons) of beautiful must-see spots within an hour’s drive. Why miss all the fun when you can hit the road (together with your flatmate) and go on a road trip for a day (or more!)? Search online for the nearest places you both want to visit and start creating summer memories right now!

4. Go to the beach/pool
Depending on where you live, there is either a beach near you (lucky you) or at least a pool! Take the chance to escape from the heat and bring your flatmate to the nearest water source (natural or manmade) to get some tan and practice your swimming skills.

5. Eat ice cream
When did ice cream become a children-only treat? If you are among those who still voraciously lick their lips just at the thought of ice cream, bring your flatmate to the nearest ice cream truck (OK, the nearest shopping mall that sells ice cream) and spend an hour on a bench, chatting about your day, munching on your favorite ice cream.

6. Compete in a frozen t-shirt race
Yes, we’re saving the best for last… Here’s how to play: Soak a few of your oldest t-shirts in water, put them in plastic bags, and then freeze them for one night. The next day, compete to see who can “unfreeze” and pull on a frozen t-shirt the quickest. We bet you’ll leave yours on long after the race is over (especially if it takes place on a really hot summer day)!


5 ways to keep your rental deposit intact

5 ways to keep your rental deposit intact

Losing your rental deposit is among the most unpleasant scenarios of the end of your renting experience. After all, it is your money and you probably need it, especially if you need a new place to rent. Many tenants overlook the issue of dealing with their rental deposits the right way.

Here’s why we’ve gathered 5 of the easiest ways to keep your rental deposit intact:

  1. Take pictures when you move in

Taking pictures of the property when you move in gives you plenty of evidence you might later need in case your landlord insists on keeping your precious rental deposit. It’s strongly advisable that you take the pictures in the landlord’s presence. Be particularly active with your camera anytime you see something you might be sought responsible for (like a leakage, something already broken/not working, etc).

  1. Take pictures when you move out

It’s equally important to take the time and immortalize the moment you leave your rented space (and the condition you are leaving it in). Make sure to catch any details that might become an issue in case your landlord has doubts about handing you back your rental deposit.

  1. Stand your ground

Many landlords take advantage of the so-called “easy targets” – first time or inexperienced tenants who don’t know their rights and are not yet quite familiar with the whole renting process. A few hours spent online or at the local municipality/expat helpdesk/etc. will be enough for you to get the needed information and be prepared for a pleasant rental experience with no surprises along the way.

  1. Ask for a second opinion

Reducing the risk of losing your rental deposit starts way before you move into your new home. Signing a bad contract is a precondition for some “traps” your landlord has set for you with the hope to make you responsible for paying things you are not normally responsible for as a tenant. That’s why our best advice for you is to show your rental contract (before you sign it!) to a professional or at least to a more experienced tenant who is well aware of the common rental practices.

  1. Be a responsible tenant

Last but not least, being a responsible tenant will reduce the risk of having to lose your rental deposit to a minimum. How to do this? It’s easy – just think of the property you rented as of your own. After all, this is your home, be it a temporary one, so looking after it and keeping it in a good condition as if it was your own is always a good approach.


7 birthday present ideas for your flatmate

7 birthday present ideas for your flatmate

Your flatmate’s birthday is just around the corner and you want to surprise them and get them a small birthday present that will show them you care about them. That’s great! Check out these awesome birthday present ideas for flatmates, choose your favorite and be ready to be labelled the most thoughtful flatmate:

1. A sleeved blanket (a snuggie)
The snuggie is among our top choices for birthday presents for a flatmate! It’s comfortable, it will be used almost on a daily basis, you can find it online for less than 10 euro, and it’s unisex… What more do you want of a flatmate birthday present?

2. A set of wine/whiskey glasses
Every flatmate deserves to have their favorite drink in style, including you and your flatmate. Get your flatmate a set of glasses for their favorite drink and, voila, you might as well have treated yourself as well! Now all you have to do is set a date for [insert your flatmate’s favorite drink here] testing and get the party started!

3. A key chain
What’s great about key chains is that they can be found in so many different styles that it’s almost impossible to not find one you are sure your flatmate will love. You can even get a matching key chain for yourself and strengthen your flatmate relationship!

4. A personalized mug
This is one of the most often bought flatmate presents and there’s a reason for that! You can choose a funny design or have something printed especially for your awesome flatmate and they will surely love it.

5. A custom t-shirt
Another popular choice for flatmate birthday presents, a personalized flatmate t-shirt can say so many things… From “World’s Greatest Roommate” and “Best Roommate Ever” to “Rock Star Roommate”, your options are practically endless!

6. A gift certificate
You may not be sure what exactly your flatmate would want for their birthday but you definitely know their favorite bookstore/restaurant/online shop. Use this knowledge as a weapon in your flatmate birthday present hunt and get them a gift certificate (or a coupon) for any of these places. They will be over the moon!

7. A DIY gift
There are so many awesome DIY gifts your flatmate would fall in love with that don’t even cost you anything to make! If you like DIY projects, try your hand at making something special for your flatmate that they will appreciate. Here are some ideas that might inspire you:

• scrabble coasters (just glue the letters onto a piece of cork board);
• a tea wreath (you’ll need cardboard, clothes pins, and, obviously, tea bags);
• balloon burst surprises (just fill the balloons with sweets, tea bags, funny notes, etc).


4 things to do before renting an apartment

4 things to do before renting an apartment

Renting an apartment is far from being the most pleasurable experience. The time preceding the singing-of-the-lease moment is a period in which you ask yourself a lot of questions. You feel insecure as you haven’t still figured out your tenant situation and you need some help to make sure you do it right and take the most out of the renting process.

Here are 4 things to do before renting an apartment that will help you make the best decision:

1. Take your time

Hurrying through the renting process is the worst advice anyone can give you. Take your time, don’t panic, and give yourself enough time to measure all the pros and cons before signing the dotted line. If you feel the time is short and you have to act fast, just step back from the whole situation and think about where the pressure comes from. If it is your future landlord that is pressuring you, you might consider there’s something wrong with the property and/or the whole renting situation.

2. Put everything in writing

It doesn’t matter if your future landlord is your cousin or your best friend forever. Renting an apartment is a serious deal and should be treated as such. Make sure you require a written lease contract that has all the details in it. Getting all the landlord’s promises in writing will guarantee you a hassle-free problem solving if/when the time comes.

3. Visit the property at different times

It’s very important to tour and visit the property you want to rent during the so-called off times. These are the times that not many other potential renters choose. For example, visit the property at night and take a look at the neighborhood. Are there suspicious people you can tell are the usual suspects of the hood? Is there loud music coming from any of the neighbors? Perhaps the landlord conveniently forgot to tell you about the party animal living in the apartment above yours…

4. Thoroughly inspect the property

The final walk-through is compulsory for any renter that wants to feel comfortable (and safe) in the new apartment they’ve just rented. Your landlord will most probably be there during your inspection but you can also ask a friend to help you thoroughly inspect the apartment. Ask the landlord to turn the water and electricity on a few days prior to your walk-through and test everything – faucets, shower, hot water, lighting fixtures, etc. Flush the toilet, check if all appliances work, check the temperature inside the fridge, turn on the oven… You get the idea!


6 amazing things you’ll find out about your future flatmate after you start living together

6 amazing things you'll find out about your future flatmate after you start living together

No matter how hard you try to not miss any question you can possibly ask your future flatmate during the interview, there will still be a few things you’ll be amazed to find out after you start your journey as flatmates. For sure, you already know whether they smoke or not, if they have pet or a boyfriend/girlfriend, etc.

Once you start sharing the same bathroom, though, you will find tons of intricate details about your roommate and their lifestyle. Here are 6 of the most amazing things you’ll find out about your future flatmate only after you start living together:

  1. Their spending habits

Is your roommate a person who always splits the bill? Do they leave tips or keep all the change? Do they hate spending money at the supermarket but are willing to pay a 4-digit sum on an unplanned trip around Europe? There’s no way to find this out before you move in together!

  1. Their clothing style

Perhaps your future flatmate has a few pairs of underwear named “Monday”, “Tuesday”, etc. Or they have a favorite t-shirt they can’t wait to get out of the washing machine so they can wear it again? Do they neatly fold their clothes or leave them on a heap right on the floor? Their clothing habits will come into life before your eyes in the first days of your flatmate experience!

  1. Their cooking skills

Some people are blessed with flatmates that just love spending time in the kitchen preparing the next Jamie Oliver recipe in front of their bewildered flatmates who quietly wait for the deliciously smelling food to magically appear on their plates. Other (not so fortunate) people have to put up with a flatmate whose best cooking skill can be cut down to knowing the local pizza restaurant’s phone number by heart.

  1. Their sleeping schedule

I had a friend who couldn’t go back to sleep at 3 am unless she devoured almost a full box of chocolate cookies. We were friends for years before we moved in together but it was not until our first week as flatmates has passed when I found out about her strange middle-of-the-night-chocolate-feast routine.

  1. Their hangover tools

Everybody has their special remedies for an extremely bad hangover. Some of the hangover recipes are handed down from one generation to the next and you will rarely see two people who swear by the same hangover cure. The good news is that you now have another person whose wisdom to avail of after a tough night clubbing in town.

  1. Their family story

You might get a glimpse of your future flatmates family situation during the interview (parents live here and there, number of siblings, etc.), but the true picture of their family will be revealed to you after you become flatmates. After a few of their phone calls with their parents and several visits of said siblings, you’ll know pretty much everything about why they are not keen on their aunt Stella and why they don’t approve of their little sister’s affair with a local rock star.


5 ways to really bond with your flatmate

5 ways to really bond with your flatmate

Entering the kingdom of flatmates is so easy these days, especially thanks to awesome online services like Hibih! Once you find the perfect apartment and you have already unpacked, it’s time to get to know your flatmates…

Depending on how close you want to become with them (and vice versa), here are 5 ways to really bond with your flatmate:

  1. Watch TV together

There is almost nothing better than a favorite TV show that can bond you with your new flatmate. Among the few activities you can easily start enjoying together from day 1 is watching TV together. This is also a great way to see what interests you have in common! You can talk about what TV shows you can’t wait to start and what programs you just skip altogether and make a list of the things you both enjoy watching on TV. We bet you’ll have at least one favorite TV show/series you’d have fun watching together from now on!

  1. Cook dinner together

It is an unwritten rule that food (and preparing it) has the power to bring people together and make them feel close. If you are coming from a different culture, offer to prepare a traditional meal and ask your flatmate to help you. Or ask them if they are willing to show you how to prepare their traditional dishes! This is a great way to find out interesting facts about each other’s backgrounds and melt the ice.

  1. Have a drink together

Alcohol is famous for loosening people’s tongues. If are shy and you find it difficult to find the best way to approach your new flatmate and get to know them better, ask them out for a drink or (better yet) offer to make some cocktails at home! Once you’ve said “Cheers!” a couple of times, you’ll soon discover how many topics you feel comfortable discussing with your new flatmate.

  1. Share your dating/flatmating misadventures

Everybody has these stories about an ex-girlfriend/boyfriend/flatmate that include a handful of awkward moments just waiting to be shared with your new flatmate. Throwing some light on these misfortunes from the past is one of the easiest ways to feel more at ease with the new person you are about to share a flat, a rent, and your personal life.

  1. Shop online together

In today’s digital world everybody has their own online places to go to when they want to have a new (insert any food/drink/piece of clothing/gadget here). Share your favorite online shops with your flatmate and let them know the secret website you use to get coupons, etc. and they will tell you theirs! You may even find out you share an interest in a particular online shop together. What a better way to get that bigger discount (or free delivery) than ordering your favorite goods together as flatmates?


Falling in love with your flatmate – how to know if it’s mutual

Falling in love with your flatmate - how to know if it's mutual

 

Having a flatmate means letting another person into your personal space and giving them the opportunity to get to know you better than most of your friends. Sometimes it happens that you get attracted to your flatmate and you are not sure if it is mutual. How to deal with this? Should you discuss it with someone? Is it even possible for two flatmates to start a romantic relationship? What will happen next?

These (and many other) questions may already be in your head. To help you find out the answers, we’ve gathered some of the best tips and advice on falling in love with your flatmate:

Give yourself some time

Falling for your flatmate happens and it is completely natural. After all, you’ve finally found someone to share the expenses with and probably a new friend you feel you can tell anything. Suddenly, you find yourself thinking about your housemate more and more often, and your thoughts cross the friendship threshold. It’s a good idea to give yourself some time to cool off and see what it is that attracts you. If it is just the convenience of you both already living together, maybe a month or two without any action on your side will turn those romantic feelings to genuine feelings of friendliness.

Be on the look for signs

If you are already sure you have feelings for your flatmate, you have to determine whether those romantic feelings are mutual. Needless to say, if your housemate is already in a relationship (and they don’t complain about it), your chances are close to zero. If they are single, however, this does not necessarily mean they want to get into a roomie relationship with you. To see if you’ve both developed mutual feelings for each other, read their body language. Are they giving you their undivided attention when you talk? Do they laugh at your jokes? Is there eye contact? Do they touch your arm when you talk?

Consider your options

Whether it is mutual or not, you have to decide what you want to do about it. It’s a complicated situation as you are probably bound by lease agreements and it’s not just emotions standing between you. If they don’t feel the same way, are you going to move out? What if they decide to move out? These are all things you should carefully consider before you confess it all.


3 mistakes to avoid when choosing a flatmate

3 mistakes to avoid when choosing a flatmate

Choosing a flatmate is not easy. First, you have (usually) a limited amount of time in which to decide whether or not a complete stranger is the right person to share your personal space with. Second, even if you two hit it off during the interview, there’s no guarantee that your renting conditions will match their rental needs. For example, you may be looking for a long-term flatmate solution to your extra room while they may need a place for just a few months… The list goes on and on!

To help you find the best match when it comes to flatmates, we’ve covered some of the most common mistakes you should avoid when choosing a flatmate. Here they are:

Mistake #1 Skipping the talk about significant others and out-of-town friends
This is a rather neglected topic during flatmate interviews and it is perfectly understandable. A lot of people don’t feel comfortable enough when they first meet a stranger to dig into their personal life and ask about boyfriends, girlfriends, etc. It is, however, crucial to pop this question during the interview and ask your potential flatmate if they are in a serious relationship and/or expect their significant other to stay over. If you don’t bring this topic up, you risk ending up with an extra roommate that you neither chose nor is splitting the bills/paying rent. You don’t want this to happen, do you? The same applies to out-of-town friends – if there is a probability for countless unwanted visitors crashing at the apartment, you should be aware of that (and agree with it) beforehand.

Mistake #2 Forgetting to throw light on the money issue
No, we’re not talking about the obvious stuff, like paying the rent (on time), splitting the bills, etc. There are many other (smaller, but accumulating) expenses in a household that can become a real money issue one day. To prevent this, make sure you create a list of all the current expenses you make (like toilet paper, cleaning products, detergent, etc.) and discuss it with your future flatmate. Perhaps they will agree to a small deposit each month that you can both use for such minor expenses or they will propose a “your turn/my turn” scheme you haven’t thought about. The bottom line is you talk through this before it has emerged on the horizon as a threat to your good flatmate relationship.

Mistake #3 Sharing a flat with a friend without thinking it through
This one is very controversial as some people swear there’s no higher blessing than sharing your flat with a bestie while others curse the day they made this decision. To make sure you don’t fall in the latter category, you should very carefully consider your options. You have an extra room and your friend needs one. Does this mean you should offer it and agree with their moving right away? Definitely not. Sharing your flat with a friend is very tricky and delicate as many people feel uncomfortable discussing money issues (or girlfriend/boyfriend issues) with someone they’ve known since forever. So, you should take a look at the situation in the most unbiased way you can and come up with the best decision for both of you (hint: it’s perfectly OK if it doesn’t include you giving them any keys to your apartment).


4 mistakes people make when renting an apartment

4 mistakes people make when renting an apartment

Renting an apartment is certainly not as big as buying a home, but it still is a big step for any person trying to find a temporary home for themselves (and possibly their family). Even though you have to be able to act fast in today’s tight renting market, you should also consider each renting option carefully as making a renting mistake can lead to a lot of problems and complications.

Here are 4 of the most common mistakes people make when renting an apartment (and how to avoid them):

1. Signing the dotted lines right away
Not reading your lease agreement from beginning to end is one of the worst mistakes you can make when renting an apartment. This document includes all the details that can save you different issues with your landlords that could have easily been avoided. As any legal agreement, the lease should be carefully read from top to bottom by you before you put your signature on it. Remember that this is your responsibility and you should not skip it unless you want to end up struggling to get out of a bad lease.

2. Not getting your rights… right
As a tenant, except for obligations, you also have rights. Depending on what the lease agreement includes, you can see what you are restricted from doing (like smoking or partying hard after midnight), but there are also rights that you have as a tenant! The wisest thing to do to get to know your rights (if you already don’t) is to visit the local authority dealing with rentals and ask about your rights. Once you know what you are allowed to do by law, you will find it way easier to fight for your rights with your landlord.

3. Forgetting to do your homework
You may think you’ve found the apartment of your dreams and may want to sign the lease right away and start unpacking, but you shouldn’t act so fast! The wisest thing to do before any lease signing is to check out your future landlord, the building, the neighborhood, etc. A simple online search of the property address and/or your landlord’s name may reveal some invaluable information like reviews from previous tenants and, possibly, red flags to help you in your quest for the perfect apartment to rent.

4. Skipping renters insurance
Even though it’s not obligatory, renters insurance is highly recommended as its cost is relatively low and it can save you a lot of headaches and financial problems as a tenant. Your landlord may already have some kind of insurance, but this doesn’t mean it will cover any possible misfortune that may happen to you or the property while you live there. After all, if your personal property gets stolen or damaged, you are the one responsible for it!


How to be the best flatmate? 5 simple flatmate rules to followHow to be the best flatmate? 5 simple flatmate rules to follow

How to be the best flatmate? 5 simple flatmate rules to follow

The flatmate rules, whether in written or verbal form, are very important for all people who want to live in peace and harmony with their flatmates. It doesn’t matter whether you are a seasoned renter who has vast experience living with roommates and flatmates or you are new to the whole flatmate situation. If you follow these 5 simple flatmate rules, you’ll soon be declared the best flatmate ever:

1. Always clean after yourself
Have you just finished cooking a 3-course menu with a plan to enjoy every bite of it? Great! But first, you will have to do the dishes and leave the kitchen in the condition you found it in. There is a tricky part to this rule, though, as some people believe that cleaning after their flatmates is also a part of the deal. It isn’t. You shouldn’t feel obliged to clean somebody else’s mess just because you are sharing a flat. Unless you want to be the one cleaning after others till the end of your stay there!

2. Be polite and friendly with your flatmates
Just like when you are occupying the same office space with other co-workers, living with other flatmates calls for some socializing. While it is not advisable to be over-friendly all the time and demanding to be everyone’s best friend forever, letting your flatmates know you are OK with hanging around with them can win you new friends and new opportunities to feel even more comfortable at home!

3. Respect other people’s privacy
No matter how good friends you’ve become with your flatmate(s), always respect their privacy and personal space. If you want to socialize, you can choose the common rooms for doing it or you can leave the door to your room open as an invite for a chat with your flatmate. If their door is closed, though, don’t be pushy and just accept that everybody needs their personal space, including you!

4. When in doubt, put yourself in your flatmate’s shoes
Learning to live with a flatmate is not easy, and, even if it comes naturally to you, there will still be a lot of situations in which you will not be sure how to react or what to do (at least in the beginning). Our best advice in such situations is to simply follow the so-called “Golden Rule”: before you take action, stop for a minute and think about how you would feel if your flatmate did it.

5. Don’t gossip about your flatmate(s)
Gossiping is a very bad habit that’s equally disgusting whether your target is a friend, an acquaintance or your flatmate. Living with other people surely gets you a lot of instances for strange behavior or habits you may find funny, but this does not mean you should gossip about it. So, just don’t.