4 Tips For Finding the Perfect Roommate
It’s a sad fact that most adults can’t afford to live alone anymore. Particularly in the more expensive living states, such as a California, adults of all ages are left to find roommates who may or may not get along with their overall personalities. Sadly, because saving money is more important than finding a roommate who makes your life easier, many renters are left sharing their apartments with less than desirable persons. From polar opposites being forced into tiny quarters, to complete strangers having to share a rental, finding a roommate is often crucial to finding a tangible living situation.
While I’ve been lucky to have the best roommate a girl can ask for (I’ve only ever lived with my husband), many are not so lucky. Especially when push comes to shove and there’s a rush for filling an empty room to supplement that extra $700 a month. If you don’t believe me, check out the episode of Friends where Chandler is forced to find a new roommate when Joey suddenly moves out. The episode is a dramatized version of real life, of course, but still does a good job of representing the many troubles people face when trying to find a new roommate (spoiler alert: the roommate turns out to be crazy).
So, how do you find the right roommate for you?
Know Where To Look
These days, most people rely on the Internet to find what they’re looking for, even when it comes to finding a roommate. Though a lot of sites provide you with valuable information, it’s important to realize that these are people you haven’t met—no matter how good their online profiles might seem. For this reason you should be careful not to rush out and find the first roommate you come across. Do your research, prior to meeting anyone in person. That being said, here is a list of the most popular places to find a roommate:
Perhaps the most popular of all is Craigslist, that one-stop-shop for just about anything you can think of. Need tickets to that sold out Charger tickets? Just take a quick look on Craigslist under tickets. Are you trying to get rid of that couch? Post an ad in Craigslist and watch it disappear. Likewise, a quick search on the site will reveal dozens of people looking for a place to rent. The con for Craigslist, however easy it may be to use, is that it does not provide a background check, which means you’ll need to do this on your own.
Much like a dating website, Roommates provides two way matching services to ensure that both parties are a good fit for one another. For those having a hard time finding a roommate in your local area, this is a great solution for you.
Get ahold of your local property management team and see if they know of any tenants looking for a roommate. Because tenants go through a screening process, a property manager is a sure-fire way to find the perfect roommate for your situation.
If you have a Facebook it’s a good idea to post on your social media that you’re actively searching for a roommate. You’d be surprised at how many friends and family member will have a recommendation for you, meaning you’re likely to find a trusted roommate who already comes highly recommended. Also, send out an email to your friends, family, and even your coworkers. You might be shocked to find that your second cousin is actually in the same boat as you.
Know What To Talk About
Once you’ve found a potential roommate, it’s a good idea to discuss their habits with them (and vice versa). Be upfront about cleaning habits, weekend habits, television habits, ect. Create a list of things that are important for you to know. If you’re a light sleeper, for example, it’s important to know whether or not your potential roommate likes to party until the wee hours of the morning. Likewise, if you’re someone who likes their place clean and tidy, it’s important to know beforehand if your roommate is someone who doesn’t mind leaving plates to sit for a day or two.
Do not wait until you’ve signed on the dotted line to discuss money matters. All expenses—rent, cleaning, food, ect—should be talked about before you decide to move in together. Money is often the most uncomfortable topic to come up and will only get more uncomfortable the longer you wait. Decide beforehand exactly how much rent will be for each person (especially if one person has a larger room than the other), whether you’re planning on paying for a cleaning crew weekly, and whether or not you’ll split the cost of food or buy your own food each week.
This changes on a situation basis. If you are inviting a new roommate into your home, for example, it’s not expected that you’ll need to change your décor to match their taste and vice versa. However, if you’ll be moving into a new place together then you’ll want to come to an agreement about the overall décor of the living room and kitchen.
Do A Background and Credit Check
This might make you uncomfortable, it may even make you cringe to be that person, but regardless you should always perform a background and credit check. Ensure that the person you’ve just met with is the person that they say they are. Don’t take their word for it, instead run a background and credit check to make certain that they are good on their scores, and have no hidden skeletons they make have forgot to mention.
When In Doubt Follow Your Gut
Trust your gut instincts. If everything checks out but you’re still not sure about whether they make a good fir for you, then don’t force it. There’s nothing worse than finding out further down the line that you found a roommate that isn’t a good match for you and being stuck in your lease. Instead, take a breath and move onto the next option. Roommates should not be chosen in haste, but with a thought out and clear mind.