Courtney Craig

Everything has to come to an end sometime – and not always on your own timetable. Maybe your roommate is graduating; maybe they’re getting married; maybe they found a great new job in another city and they have to move. Any way you slice it, they’re out and you’re left high and dry, not to mention all alone in your apartment.

That can make for an awkward situation, but it doesn’t have to be a bad one. Even if it seems like your soon-to-be-ex-roomie is leaving you in the lurch, this could be a good opportunity to start a new chapter in your life. Here are some questions you’ll have to ask yourself.

Decision #1: Can you afford the rent on your own?

If so, this buys you some time. Even if you have to pinch your pennies a little tighter, at least you’re not forced to find a new roommate or a new apartment immediately. If you’re madly in love with your place, you’ll probably want to continue living there, but you’ll have the leisure of exploring several candidates for a new roommate. And if you’ve secretly been jonesing to live alone, your ex-roommate just did you a favor!

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Decision #2: How do you go about finding a new roommate?

Choosing someone to live with is very tricky business. Do you choose an existing friend or a stranger? Do you prefer to live with a man or a woman? How do you feel about pets? Figure out what you’re looking for before you start screening potential new roommates.

If you choose to ask an existing friend to move in, make sure you pick someone you know to be responsible, courteous and in a good financial situation. Your friendship will go south very quickly if your new roomie blares music late at night and doesn’t pay his or her fair share of the rent on time. And, when you ask them, don’t be hurt if they say no. Living with someone is very different from just being friends.

If you put out an ad for a new roommate on Craigslist, be prepared to do some heavy screening.
If you put out an ad for a new roommate on Craigslist, be prepared to do some heavy screening.

If you decide you’re better off finding a compatible stranger, use Facebook or Twitter to ask your friends if they know anyone who needs a place to live – a recommendation from someone you trust goes a long way. If you go with Craigslist or some other anonymous message board, be prepared to screen heavily. You’ll want to do a credit check, ask for recommendations from former roommates and landlords, and definitely meet face-to-face more than once before asking them to move in.

More advice on finding the perfect living partner:

Decision #3: Is it time to downsize?

Maybe you want to live alone, but you can’t afford your current place now that your roommate is moving out. That means it’s time for you to move, too, and you’d better start your search soon. If your lease is up, it would be best for you and your roommate each to move at the same time so neither of you is stuck with the rent on your own.

First, decide what kind of place you want. Are you OK with a one-bedroom apartment, or do you want a little more space with two bedrooms? What location would be ideal? What kind of amenities are important to you? Once you figure all that out, ahem, we know a site that makes it really easy to find the perfect apartment for you.

More on finding your ideal pad:

Have you ever been left by a roommate? How did you handle it?

Photo credits: Shutterstock / wavebreakmedia, tab62




About The Author

Courtney Craig is an editor and writer for the Apartment Guide Blog. She rented apartments for 12 years in 4 cities before buying her first house in Atlanta. Find Courtney on Google.