7 Steps To Finding The Best Roommate
October 18, 2016
Searching for a compatible roommate can be just as stressful as finding ideal apartment rentals. In many ways, it feels like dating. You need to find someone who you are fairly confident that you can live with because it goes without saying that your home should be a comfortable, tranquil environment.
So before you decide on a complete stranger as your future roommate to rent an apartment with, familiarize yourself with these seven steps to help you find the best roommate:
- Consider people outside of your circle of friends.
If you truly believe that you and your friend would make great roommates, particularly in regards to lifestyle compatibility, feel free to ask. However, more often than not, living with friends can cause a rift in the relationship once it becomes painfully obvious that the two of you have conflicting lifestyles and expectations during the apartment rental. For this reason, it’s always good to explore resources like free newspaper ads and online roommate matching services to widen the pool of potential roommates. You can also ask your friends for roommate recommendations based on people they know and trust.
- Interview your potential roommate in person.
Meet up with your potential roommate at a coffee shop or a bar to conduct an informal interview. The meeting should feel more or less like a platonic date, where your sole objective is to establish some reasonable expectations for one another. Be sure to ask the person a number of questions that will give you a firm understanding of whether the two of you are compatible. Ask questions about the individual’s employment status, if he or she has had roommates before, whether the individual smokes, how often the person has people over, and how comfortable he or she is in sharing common spaces as well as household and food items.
- Make sure you and your potential roommate’s expectations align.
It makes sense that if you ask the previously mentioned questions to your potential roommate, you should be expected to reciprocate. Make sure to let the person know if you are a smoker, if you aren’t the neatest person, or if you typically have people over a couple times a week. It is better to establish realistic expectations now than to run into a series of awkward situations after the two of you rent an apartment together.
- Compile a list of realistic expenses.
You and your potential roommate should brainstorm together a list of individual and shared monthly expenses. It is crucial for the two of you to come up with an accurate accounting of finances from the beginning or it will likely cause serious problems once you move in with each other.
- Conduct a background check.
Some of you might find this to be a little intrusive, but the truth is, it’s always a good idea to do a background check on someone unless you’ve known the individual for a while. Without doing a background check, you are potentially putting yourself at risk. Although conducting a criminal background check and credit check will help you determine whether or not you should rent an apartment with a person, you should — at the very least — Google or check the person’s social media presence to get a better idea of the individual’s history.
- Make sure the space works for both of you.
When living with a roommate, it is best to find a space where you’ll have a private and comfortable space of your own. Large bedrooms and a rooftop patio or balcony is the key. Make sure you and your roommate find a space that is conducive to your respective lifestyles.
- Sign a roommate contract.
Before you sign the apartment rental lease, make sure to sign a contract with your roommate that clearly outlines your respective contribution to the newly-established partnership. Although this isn’t considered a legal document, it will serve as an effective method of communicating the details of your living arrangement. It is also important to include as many of the terms in writing as you can.