Whether you’re looking for a roommate for the first time or seeking a new roommate after moving, you’ll want to be sure you find someone who is reliable, friendly, and trustworthy. We’ve put together five tips for finding a new living partner to help make the process less stressful.
1. Skip Your Friends
It can be tempting to ask your close friends if they want to live with you, but your best friends may not be the best choice. While you may enjoy spending time with your friends on the weekends, they may have daily habits that don’t match up with yours, ultimately causing tension and a poor living situation, which could damage your friendship.
Despite not making the best roommates, your friends may be able to help you on your search for a compatible person. Co-workers and relatives of your friends may be good options. Using your friends as a reference for potential roommates can provide peace of mind during your search.
2. Ask Tough Questions
It may feel awkward to ask a potential roommate very personal questions but being upfront can help limit any surprises down the road. Inquire about their work status and job responsibilities to get a better idea of their schedule and whether their job is reliable. Having a roommate without steady employment may mean that you could end up being responsible for unexpected costs that arise or their portion of the rent if they can’t come up with the cash themselves.
Ask about their hobbies, such as playing music or having frequent social gatherings. Do they have pets? If so, you’ll need to be sure they’re a responsible pet owner and that you don’t have any conflicting allergies. When interviewing your potential roommate, ask what they liked and didn’t like about their previous living arrangements. Inquiring about personal details can help you determine if you’ll be a good match or if their living habits will be a burden.
3. Get it in Writing
No matter how familiar or comfortable you are with your new roommate, it’s in everyone’s best interest to get your agreement in writing. Your landlord will likely have you sign a lease detailing the monthly obligations, rules, and restrictions regarding the property. Make sure all roommates are listed on the lease. This will help avoid any future issues in the event of costly damages or missing rent payments. Having a written agreement between roommates is a good idea, too – it’ll keep house rules top of mind.
4. Set Clear Expectations
Before you sign a lease with someone, be clear about your expectations. Discuss how you’ll split rent payments, who will make the payments, and how other utilities will be paid. Is one person responsible for collecting the money and making the payments, or will you each take on one expense every month?
You’ll want to cover any house rules, like how late guests can stay, if you expect quiet hours, and who’s responsible for buying household goods. The last thing you want is to run out of an important item, like toilet paper, and argue with a roommate about who’s responsible for buying more. Setting clear expectations prior to moving in together can give each person a better idea of what type of roommate the other will be.
5. Be a Good Roommate
Not only will you want to find a roommate who’s easy to live with, but you’ll also want to make sure you’re a good roommate in return. Be sure you can support yourself financially and are ready to contribute to the household equally, from splitting utilities to cleaning the bathroom. Be realistic about how you live, and communicate that to your potential roommate. They’ll need to know if you like to host parties on the weekends or if your job requires late nights that may interrupt their sleep schedule. Being honest and upfront will help clarify what living with you will be like for your roommate.
Roommates can help lessen the financial burden of living on your own but before you sign a lease, use these tips to help you make the right choice. By knowing what’s important to you and looking for someone who feels similarly, you may have an easier time finding the correct match. For more financial tips and tools, visit our WalletWorks page.