5 Ways to Find the Perfect Roommate
I heard somewhere that choosing a new roommate is kind of like choosing a new girlfriend or boyfriend. I totally agree with this motto. But, when things go sour with the girlfriend or boyfriend, you can always break up with them.
Unfortunately, this isn’t the case for a roommate. When choosing a roommate, you all will have to sign a lease, so you all will be stuck together throughout the lease, unless one decides to break the lease, and in this case, you’ll be stuck trying to find a replacement. So, what I’m trying to say is choose wisely. Use the following tips to pick the perfect roommate and avoid uncomfortable living situations.
1. Look Beyond Your Good Friends
Just because you guys are great friends, it doesn’t mean you will make great roommates. Your great friend could have an annoying habit you may uncover once living together, and essentially make you want to tear your hair out, and vice versa.
You don't want to ruin a good friendship just because you need a roommate. A realtor is a great resource for helping you find a suitable roommate outside of your immediate social circle. You can find a roommate online on sites such as Nooklyn.com. Most notably, several online roommate-matching services let you create a profile or ad, search a large database, and meet potential matches. If things don't work out, at least you won't lose a close friend.
2. Make Sure They Can Pay their Share of the Rent
Your best friend may seem like the perfect roommate, but if they already owe you money, renting with them may be problematic. Don’t overlook this. Pick a roommate that you know can pay the rent each month, and on time. A good sign is someone who has a steady employment history.
3. Good Communication
Living with someone who communicates well is the key to a good roommate relationship. You and your roommate will be responsible for maintaining your apartment. You all will be responsible for cleaning up your messes and paying rent. To avoid messy situations, you need to live with someone who is willing to discuss how to share responsibilities. Even if you do have a roommate who communicates well with you, don't be afraid to confirm information. For example, if your roommate says he paid the rent, check with your landlord to be sure. Also, consider inquiring about the following depending on your lifestyle:
The person's work schedule
Whether he or she drinks, smoke cigarettes, or uses drugs
How often he or she likes to host guests
How loudly he or she likes to play music
How much TV he or she watches in common spaces
Whether he or she minds sharing household items
4. Find Out What Your Roommate Expects from You
Ideally, you're interviewing each other to make sure you can live together without many conflicts. Going over your own list of questions satisfies part of that. Your roommate(s) must also get the opportunity to ask their own set of questions. Be honest when answering questions, because being unscrupulous will only come back to bite you later.
Find out what your roommate expects from you. Can you adapt to those expectations? If you're used to living in an untidy environment, then you know you can't meet the expectations of a neat-freak. Thank the candidate for his or her time and explain why you aren't a good fit.
5. Find Someone Who's Able to Contribute
You want a roommate who will pitch in with household chores. Otherwise, you'll likely become resentful if you feel like you're doing more than your fair share. The same goes for paying rent and bills. Make sure that your potential roommate has a steady source of income.
It may feel intrusive, but it's important to ask potential roommates to provide information about how much money they earn. You don't want to find out that someone with a full-time job makes too little money to pay his or her half of the bills. That could lead to more than just hurt feelings and frustration. It could lead to small claims court.
*What are the most important factors for you when choosing a roommate? Have you ever had a terrible experience that convinced you to pay closer attention to the person you live with? Share your stories in the comments below.*