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There are a ton of reasons why wanting to live with a roommate can be a good thing. A roommate can be someone to go out and do activities with, and you’ll never have to worry about coming home to an empty apartment. If you’re planning a trip, a roommate can look after the apartment while you’re away. And let’s face it: times are tough, so having someone to split rent and other expenses with can be a great option. It may seem easy in theory, but it’s actually a lot more difficult to find a roommate you can actually live with. Everyone has had their share of roommate horror stories, so before you sign a lease and say “I do” to a roommate, read on to find tips and tricks on how to find your roommate “soulmate.”
First things first: before you go out on your search for what you want in a roommate, you need to figure out what you can and cannot live with. Do you prefer having a quiet night in with a book, or are you a night owl looking for the next party? Are you looking for a best friend, or do you want more privacy? Do you prefer a male or female roommate, smoker or nonsmoker, pets or no pets? How do you feel about visitors or overnight guests? Are you a neat freak or a pig? Once you determine what you’re looking for, it will be a lot easier to screen potential candidates.
Screen, screen, screen
It may seem a little intense, but the best way to find a great potential roommate is to treat the process like a job search. Run a credit check to rule out applicants who might not be able to pay rent consistently and on time. Ask for the contact information of former roommates and landlords. Investigate a potential roommate’s current employment situation and work history, as well as residential history. Avoid pursuing a roommate that has bounced around from job to job and place to place. Set up a few phone calls with candidates and, if you don’t get a good vibe, don’t waste your time with a face-to-face meeting.
Communication and awareness
Once you’ve found a suitable roommate, make sure everyone’s on the same page about the big stuff. What is everyone’s share of the rent? How will paying for utillities be handled? Which bedroom belongs to whom? Will there be a cleaning schedule? Will there be any shared responsibilities, such as shopping for food or cooking? Will there be a quiet hour when TVs and stereos should be turned off? Once the rules and regulations are established, it will become a lot easier for everyone to coexist peacefully.