Your roommates can make or break your living situation. If you’re moving to a new city or just changing apartments, it’s crucial to learn how to find roommates that are reliable and amiable.
It’s a struggle more and more young adults are facing. In 2002, roughly 25% of American adults lived with roommates. By 2012, that number increased to 32%. Doubling up in a living space comes with a lot of benefits, from finding new friends to splitting rent.
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The internet makes it easy to find people in your area looking for a roomie. Yet how do you find someone you can trust? Read on to discover tips on choosing the right roommate.
1. Ask Friends for Help
Your friends are there for you, no matter what. Plus, they likely have a wider network of local acquaintances, giving you an in with potential roommates. Make a social post and tag your local connections. You can also wait until you meet up in person to figure out who’d they suggest on the fly.
For example, they might know a schoolmate who’s looking for a new place to move. A recommendation from someone you know and trust is the best way to find a roomie. After all, your friends already know your personality and which types of people you mesh with.
2. Prepare Interview Questions
Not sure how to find roommates that you’ll actually get along with? Whether you find potential roommates through friends, family or the internet, you’ll need to prepare good interview questions to ask.
Instead of picking a person to live with, think of the person as hiring someone for a job. You’ll want to meet them a couple of times and ask the right questions to ensure they’re a good fit.
Think about questions like:
- Do you have allergies?
- Do you own any pets?
- What’s your daily schedule like?
- Are you a night or morning person?
- What do your cleaning habits look like?
You want to learn about a person before you move in together. Lay out your expectations now to prevent disagreements down the road.
3. Don’t Hide the Costs
Any potential roommate will want to know the costs. Outline their portion of the rent and include the cost of electric and other fees. Consider utilities like natural gas, sewage, trash and internet. Will you split the costs down the middle?
If you’re a homeowner looking for a roomie to help with the mortgage, calculate a fair price based on the location.
Don’t hide costs. If necessary, make copies of all bills and send them to your housemate. No one wants to be responsible for bills they’re not prepared for.
4. Talk About Preferences
Think about the people you’ve lived with in the past, even if they were family members. Did they have a personal preference that clashed with yours? Maybe they didn’t think twice about wearing shoes in the house or weren’t concerned about quieting down at night.
Those preferences will make or break a good roommate relationship. Don’t expect anyone to have the same views as you on everything. However, make sure compromises won’t wear you down over time.
Be honest with candidates if cleaning is important to you. Talk about your expectations when it comes to visitors and overnight guests.
5. Consider Asking for References
Another part of hiring someone for a job is calling references to double-check their claims. You could do the same for roommate candidates. After the first couple of interviews, ask your top three or five candidates for a list of references that aren’t family members.
Call each reference on the list and ask them questions about character and work ethic. Don’t assume the best referrals come from previous roommates. Some friends will lie to help others in need. Instead, ask for a reference from their employer.
6. Draw Up Paperwork
Most landlords require roommates to sign a joint lease. However, you can protect yourself by writing and signing a roommate agreement. This agreement isn’t a legal document. However, it outlines what you both expect from each other.
Write down the house rules. Who cleans what and how often? Do you have specific quiet hours, such as 10 p.m. to 8 a.m.? Who’s responsible for paying bills and sending a check to the landlord? You should also have stipulations in place in case one person needs to break the agreement early.
It’s good to talk everything out before signing a lease. You’ll know if you and a potential roommate are compatible before you get the keys.
How to Find Roommates Responsibly
Many people rush to find a roommate by a specific date. You don’t want to lose out on that fantastic two-bedroom! However, it’s crucial to take your time. A bad roommate can come with long-term consequences.
Talk with multiple candidates, ask a lot of questions and call references. The more you know about someone before you move in, the better your living situation will be.