Having a roommate is a great way to cut costs. It can also lead to a home that is safer and less lonely – but only if you have the right roommate. A bad roommate can turn your life into a nightmare. Keep your roommate experience pleasant by following these steps.
Look for someone with common interests.
To reduce the amount of vetting and rejecting you’ll have to do, start with your own social circles. See if your friends are looking for a roommate or know anyone who is. If you’re a student or a club member, consider putting out flyers targeting these groups. Try asking around work, too; if your new roommate is a coworker, you’ll get to carpool, and you’ll know the other person has a steady paycheck to cover rent. You can also use social media.
If you can’t find a roommate within your circles, you can put out a classified ad or a post on a website like Craigslist, but be sure to list your requirements and a little about yourself. You can also use a site dedicated to connecting roommates – roomiematch.com or roommates.com, for example – which can make it easier to screen for a good match.
Meet in person.
You want to get a good feel for any potential roommate, and it’s best to do that in person.
Before you meet, come up with a list of questions you want to ask. To do this, think about what you want from a roommate. Someone who can pay rent on time? Someone who’s quiet and neat? Someone who will never eat your yogurt? Ask questions about the things that matter most to you.
You should also spend time talking about your interests. For example, talk about the television shows and the music you like. If you’re going to share a living room, you want to make sure you’ll get along.
Remember, the other person is looking for a good match, too. Be ready to answer questions about yourself.
Your roommate should be someone you trust, but trust comes with time. Right now, get references and check out the person’s social media. Also consider conducting a background check. These precautions will help alert you to any red flags and give you an idea of the person’s personality.
To make sure your roommate will be able to pay rent, it’s also smart to ask for employment verification. A recent paycheck stub should do.
Establish clear expectations.
Once you’ve found a good roommate, make sure both of you know what’s expected. The most important details, including how rent and utilities will be split, need to be put in writing.
Also discuss who will buy cleaning supplies, how cleaning tasks will be divided and how much of a mess will be tolerated in shared areas. Talk about when guests are allowed over and acceptable noise levels. Decide whether any food will be shared. It’s easier to agree on these issues up front than to deal with arguments later.
Finally, talk to your insurer to make sure both you and your roommate have renters insurance. You may be able to share a single policy, or you may decide to get separate policies.