Need help finding a roommate but don’t know where to start?
Living with a roommate has a long list of benefits, from staving off loneliness and feeling safer (especially if you’re a woman living alone) to having someone to lend a hand with cooking and cleaning. The biggest benefit, however, is having someone to help with paying the rent.
In order to enjoy any of these pluses, however, you have to first find a responsible roommate that will be a good fit for your lifestyle. Knowing how to find a roommate and what discussions to have before agreeing to share a living space with someone else will ensure that everything goes smoothly.
Finding a Roommate — Where Do You Look?
Over the last few years, the real estate market has shifted and rentals are on the rise. With this, more and more people are seeking out roommates. Demographics of people hoping to share a house or apartment range from young professionals hoping to maximize their salaries to older people who would like to cut costs or avoid living alone. This increase in people looking to rent has led to an increase in ways to find a roommate.
One of the easiest roommate-finding strategies is to go online. Peruse the listings on Craigslist, which is a huge collection of online classified ads. There are also a variety of different roommate finder apps, from Roomi and Roomster to Padmapper or Roomie Match. Some of the apps are free, while others charge a fee to connect with a roommate.
Another good online option is to post about your roommate search on Facebook to see if any of your friends know someone who would be a good candidate. Facebook is also home to a large number of pages and groups designed to connect those who are looking for a roommate.
Questions to Ask Potential Roommates
Finding a potential roommate involves more than simply locating a willing candidate; you’ll also need to make sure they’re a good fit. This will help ensure that you won’t end up back in the roommate hunt within a few months.
The first factor to discuss will be finances. It’s important to know if a potential roommate has a steady job and a steady flow of income. A good question to ask them is if they’ve ever had difficulty making rent payments in the past. Are they routinely late on paying utility bills? This will give you a good sense of their ability to pay and how they prioritize their financial commitments.
Next, it’s essential to have a discussion about lifestyle. Now is the time to find out whether this person has any pets (or any pet allergies or aversions if you have pets). Talk with them about their daily routine: when do they typically get up/go to bed? Do they like to have parties or invite lots of friends over?
Although it may seem personal, you’ll also want to talk about preferences that can cause problems as time progresses. What is their philosophy about keeping things tidy? How often do they clean? Do they smoke, drink lots of alcohol, or do any sort of drugs? Do they have any food restrictions due to health reasons or personal beliefs?
Go With Your Instincts
The process of finding a roommate is part business transaction and part going with your gut to find someone who will be a good fit. Even though you might not befriend and hang out with your roommate, sharing a living space with someone who has a wildly different schedule, approach to household responsibilities, or personality style can become problematic over time.
During your face-to-face interview, it’s fair to ask them, “If I spoke to a former landlord or roommate, what would they say about you?” and gauge their response. Beyond their ability to pay the rent, your instincts about their responses and personality will help guide you to the right roommate. While finding a roommate can be an involved process, taking the time to do it right will save you lots of problems later.