How To Split A Shared Vacation House

“Should we split the check?” This dinner table cliché is just one part of an age-old sharing conundrum: should group costs be divided evenly among all parties, or allocated based on actual usage?

On holiday vacations with friends or other families, we are frequently confronted with these anxiety-inducing decisions. Items like lodging and transportation are often paid in advance, and a single person will often purchase groceries or supplies for the whole group. To add to the confusion, people will occasionally lend each other money (“Don’t worry, I’ll cover you and you can pay me back”).

It’s never pleasant to deal with these questions after the fact, so allow me to present some original research and a helpful tool that should take the stress out of settling the bills.  While some cost-sharing choices remain a matter of personal taste, there is broad consensus on how to share the most significant vacation expenses.
Continue reading How To Split A Shared Vacation House

Loud Sex And The Noise Calculator

Hey all – just posted an article on Forbes all about loud sex. That survey was also used to create the new Noisy Neighbors calculator.

Very few survey respondents actually would offer to pay cash to a roommate based on disrupting them. It’s a more of a guide to the value of the appropriate gift for, or to how much value your apartment would lose on the open market if you knew how frequent the disturbances would be.

The way we calculate the number comes from linearly extrapolating loud sex to all other cases.  Specifically, loud sex is worth (per incident) some number we get an average of from our survey. We take this as a fraction of the average daily rent contribution of our survey respondents. Lastly, we linearly extrapolate this percentage from the average badness of each sound type in the “how disruptive question” described in this article.

Make sure you use your personal rent contribution instead of the total rent for the apartment, or the number will be several times too high!

If you have questions about the procedure, feel free to use our contact form and I will respond as soon as I can (often well within 24 hours).

How To Share A Broker’s Fee

Today we answer our first question emailed to Dear Splitwise.

Dear Splitwise,

How does one split the broker’s fee fairly in a NYC apartment? If someone has their own bathroom, should they pay more, or is it split evenly by all roommmates?

Broke and Broker

Dear Broke and Broker,

It’s true that in New York, Boston, and other major metro areas you often have to pay a broker’s fee to the real estate agent to get an apartment, even one you would share with roommates. Which stinks.

So, Broke and Broker, your question is: if the bedrooms are different enough in quality that one bedroom should have a higher rent, the question is, should that person also pay a bigger share of the broker’s fee? Great question! Continue reading How To Share A Broker’s Fee

Guests in bedrooms

I neglected to post a link here to my most recent Forbes article yesterday – the last in the three-part series on guests. In it, we consider the merits of cold mutton and show some data on the question of what is fair for people living in your guest room for a long period of time. Check it out!

How much to charge a couch crasher

Image by Venturist via Flickr
How long before you ask her to pitch-in?

Your friend asked on July Fourth if she could crash on your couch while she looked for an apartment. You didn’t mind her doing it and you didn’t ask her to pay anything. But now it’s August and she still hasn’t found a place. You don’t mind letting her stay for free, but your roommate is starting to get cranky and there’s nowhere else for her to go. You feel like if she chipped in towards the rent, that might help smooth things over, but when is long enough to start asking for a contribution? And how much money should you ask for?
Continue reading How much to charge a couch crasher

How the furniture calculator works

The new furniture calculator is an awesome tool for helping you move out of an old apartment. As we mentioned in the introductory post, the calculator takes three things into account:
  • The purchase price of the furniture
  • The change in condition/quality of the furniture
  • How long the furniture has been in use since it was bought
It uses this information to calculate the current value of the furniture so that you can sell it to your housemates, or split up furniture fairly when moving out.  But how does it work?

Continue reading How the furniture calculator works

Survey results – Split the Rent accurate to within 10%

Fairness is a funny thing. One person’s fair is another person’s rip-off. So it is important for a rent-splitting calculator to jive with a broadly intuitive sense of fairness. It can’t just be what I think is fair – or what any one person thinks – or it won’t be useful.

In order to validate and calibrate the formula I used for the rent-share calculator on this blog, I did a rather in-depth survey on “apartment sharing fairness” with my friends. Here are the results – enjoy!

Continue reading Survey results – Split the Rent accurate to within 10%