Let’s face it – sharing your space with another person can be tough. Signing a lease with a friend can be the equivalent of signing away your right to leave dishes in the sink, keep your laundry in a heap on the floor and blast your music as loud as you like. And yet, as rental rates continue to rise, many are left with cohabitation as their only option.

Before bunking up with a pal, read these articles for advice on living out your lease in relative harmony.

1. Three Ways Your Roommates Can Wreck Your Credit

Fair warning: This article from Money magazine is a bit of a buzz kill. It may dampen the excitement of moving in with your best friend, but it’s important to remember the serious financial responsibilities you’re counting on the other person to fulfill.

2. Taking Care of a Pet When You Have Roommates

Having a pet can be a great way to bond with your roommate. You could always invite your roomie along when you take your dog for a walk, or show him or her the joys of watching a cat chase a laser pointer. However, a furry inhabitant can also lead to roommate discord if you don’t proactively discuss the issues highlighted in this Petfinder.com article.

3. How to Keep the Peace While Sharing a Tiny Bathroom

Confident you can trust your roommate to meet their financial commitments? Great. Agreed on a dog walking schedule? Awesome. Ready to share a bathroom? Yeah, this one isn’t quite as easy. This blog from Apartment Guide should help ease some of your anxiety.

When you’re ready to find a place of your own, buying may make more sense than renting. Start by contacting a RE/MAX agent to explore your options: http://www.remax.com/officeagentsearch/#agentsearch.