Finding a roommate is a lot like dating. There has to be chemistry and common ground to create a match that’s made in heaven. At the end of the day, a good roommate should be someone you can enjoy coming home to — whether it’s a friend, a family member, an acquaintance or a total stranger. Finding the right fit can be the difference between living happily ever after and living in a nightmare. These tips will help guide you on choosing a suitable roommate:
Early riser or night owl? Friends over often? Parties soft, hard or not at all? Finding out about a potential roommate’s lifestyle and daily habits can help you figure out what you don’t mind living with, what you can compromise on and what are deal breakers for you beforehand. Meet over coffee or drinks to break the ice — especially if it’s a multi-roommate situation. Don’t forget to ask about the little things, too — like housekeeping styles and how they manage the thermostat.
Are you looking for a non-smoker? Someone who loves pets? Be upfront about what you’re seeking in a roommate — including sharing household chores and sharing toiletries or food. More importantly, let a potential roommate know when rent is due so there are no misunderstandings. Knowing what expectations are from the beginning will help you avoid any conflicts during your time together.
Make sure he or she has a history of paying rent on time, with a steady job or another source of income. College students may have parents or a stipend that can help cover costs, but beware of a non-college student who jumps jobs often — it could mean trouble for you down the road.
If you are deciding whether to live with a stranger, ask for references from past roommates to vouch for someone’s character, reliability and livability. If you don’t have another roommate that can weigh in, ask a friend who is a good judge of character to help you vet him or her. A trusted friend may be able to spot any red flags that you may have missed.
If possible, give yourself at least one to two months in advance to find a roommate. Otherwise you could rush right into sharing a space with someone who pushes your buttons — and your sanity.
Above all, make sure a roommate is someone you can trust — who can respect your space, personal items, food and — if you have any — your pets. Remember that most typical leases are for a year, so once you sign with this roommate, it’s usually a done deal. Lastly, be the kind of roommate that you’re searching for. Follow all of the tips above!
Do you have any additional tips on finding someone to live with? Share yours in the comments below!