Roommates can be a great way to save money, and possibly develop new friendships. If your dream apartment comes with a not-so-ideal price point for one, look no further for some great advice on how to make it through the process of choosing a great roommate.
1. Know Thyself
Chances are, you will have a hard time finding a roommate that meshes well with your lifestyle if you don’t take a moment to pinpoint what makes you tick. Are you a party animal, or do you prefer lazy weekends indoors? Are you a night owl, or an early riser?
The key to finding a roommate who meets your needs and preferences, is first figuring out what kind of a roommate you will be to them.
2. Play Detective
If you are vetting through listings on Craigslist or another site, make sure to do your research on your potential housemates before signing a lease together. Your roommate will play a crucial role in your life –to both your comfort and, more importantly, your finances.
Be sure your candidates are truly able to share the load financially. Find out where your roommate candidates work, how long they have worked there, and if they plan to stay long term. A good roommate will have a steady income, and won’t leave you in the lurch when the bills arrive.
Don’t feel uncomfortable about asking questions; remember if your name is on the lease or a utility bill, your credit can be affected by overdue payments. Simultaneously, a roommate who causes damage to the apartment can cost you your security deposit, and even if all roommate’s names are on the lease, if one roommate breaks it, all can be evicted.
3. Be a Good Communicator
Good communication plays a pivotal role in smoothing out roommate tensions before they combust. Begin with an open path for communication from the start. Be upfront with potential roommates about your goals and expectations for joint living; you might find that good communication now, can save you both a large conflict later.
If someone expresses interest in rooming with you, ask to meet up for coffee and chat. Use this time to see if you communicate well, and mesh well personality-wise. You may not be looking to get a best friend out of your roommate, but you certainly don’t want to butt heads from the beginning.
4. Plan to Compromise
Roommates work well together if both have similar habits or habits that are similar enough to compromise easily. Living with another person will require a certain level of tolerance and compromise. You will also need to learn what you can realistically adjust to long-term, and what are deal breakers for both of you.
A roommate agreement is a fantastic way to follow each other’s wishes and living preferences in a way that allows both of you a forum for compromise. Prioritize what you cannot live without (like a block of quiet study time if you are attending school) and be willing to compromise on issues that don’t mean as much to you.
5. Get Creative With Your Search
If you don’t have a roommate in mind already, and asking friends or acquaintances to put the word out hasn’t produced results, get creative with your roommate search. Go beyond posting a catch-all Craigslist ad, and think about what places you frequent and why. If your favorite coffee shop is within walking distance, or if you belong to an city art club, ask to post a flyer there.
In the end, be safe and conscientious during your search. Follow basic internet safety when responding to, or posting listings, and be weary of red flags that indicate scams. If you are already in a place and need to find a new roommate or are hoping to sublet, be sure to talk to your landlord beforehand.
Above all, enjoy the process! You’re on your way to finding a great new person to share a space with, and that is something worth celebrating.
Our contributor, Brentnie Daggett, is a writer by day, and a renter by night; when she’s not blogging for Rentec Direct about the latest rental trends, you can find her perusing the internet for fun DIY projects to begin.