Finding a roommate isn’t an easy task. We all know that nobody’s perfect, but remember, there are plenty of great roommates out there! Deciding to live with a roommate is an important decision and one that you should take time researching before making a commitment. Consider the following tips:
- Think outside your circle of friends!
If you’re confident a friend would be a good match for you in terms of lifestyle and financial stability, go ahead and ask! But, if you have any hesitations about living with a friend, you can use resources like free community newspaper ads and online roommate matching services to expand your search, including: Craigslist, Move.com, Roommates.com, RoommateNation.com, or RoommateLocator.com. You can also ask for recommendations from people you know and trust; word of mouth is a powerful tool!
- Interview your roommate-to-be face to face.
Grab a cup of coffee and interview your roommate-to-be (more than once, if possible), asking questions that will establish clear expectations for both of you:
- What is your employment status? (Ask for a pay stub and inquire about their work schedule)
- Do you drink or smoke?
- How often do you like to host guests?
- What is your comfort level in sharing common spaces?
- Do you mind sharing household and food items?
- Have you had roommates before? (Ask for references and don’t hesitate to check personal credit reports.)
- Find out what your roommate-to-be expects of you.
Be ready to answer all the above questions about yourself as well! It’s important to be honest with a potential roommate. If you’re a smoker, let them know. If you aren’t the neatest person ever, let them know that, too. It’s better to be up front now and avoid awkward situations after you sign the lease.
- Be realistic about expenses.
Present your potential roommate with an estimate of monthly expenses, both individual and shared. It’s important to have an accurate accounting of finances from the beginning of your partnership.
- It’s okay to ask for your agreement in writing.
Whether it’s cleaning the apartment or paying the rent, both you and your roommate should make a fair contribution to your new partnership. Before you sign a lease, it’s a good idea to write down everything you have discussed. This isn’t necessarily a legal document, but an effective way to clearly communicate the details of your living arrangement.