Living with a roommate can be a great way to save money and still live in the area in which you want to live. However, the challenge comes in finding the right person to share your space with. You don’t want to dread going home at the end of the day or feel like the person you live with can’t be trusted.
It’s completely possible to find a roommate that is compatible with your lifestyle that you can also feel comfortable living with. Follow these tips on choosing the right roommate to make sure you make the right choice.
Tips on Choosing a Roommate
Know what your boundaries are (and discuss theirs)
Before you start your search for a roommate, it’s important to get very honest with yourself about what you are comfortable with and what you expect from them. Laying out these expectations ahead of time will help you communicate them to potential roommates so you can settle everything ahead of time. If you ignore things that matter to you, you’ll likely regret it down the line once you’re living together and stuck in the situation due to a lease or contract.
Some things to think about are:
- Is it okay if they have pets? If you have pets, do you expect them to take on any responsibilities like taking them outside when you aren’t there?
- What are your thoughts on smoking and alcohol?
- Do you like the noise level to be kept to a minimum after a certain hour?
- Any health concerns?
- How do you feel about guests being invited over? And how often?
Think deeply about your living habits before starting your search for a roommate, then be very honest with them about what they are.
Conduct an in-person interview
Once you find a potential roommate, meet with them in person so you can interview each other. Don’t settle for only speaking over the phone – meeting in person is vital to seeing how well you mesh together and to gather other important information about them, such as their hygiene and how they conduct themselves. You can pick up on a lot about a person by spending some time with them. What sort of vibe do you get? If there are any red flags whatsoever, move on. You don’t want to regret going against your gut down the line.
Don’t be afraid to ask them plenty of questions and be sure to give them enough time to ask you questions, as well.
Ask for references and do a background check
Before setting anything in stone, it’s important to do your homework. Ask for references from other roommates, landlords, employers, or other sources that can vouch for their character. Do a background check, as well, to cover all of your bases. You’ll be sharing your home with this person so it’s important to know you can trust them.
Be upfront about costs
It’s never good to assume that everything will work itself out in terms of finances. Be honest from the get-go about all of the costs associated with living together, including rent, groceries, utilities, amenities, and housekeeping. Go over how everything will be split up or who will be responsible for what. It’s never a comfortable situation if the bills come in and they’re higher than one of you was expecting because you didn’t discuss it ahead of time.
Get everything in writing
Always put everything in writing that you’ve agreed upon with your roommate. This includes expenses (exactly how they will be divided and who is responsible for what), chores, and other agreements including pets, curfews, etc. This will avoid any awkward confrontations down the line if anyone forgets the terms of your original agreement.
Don’t rush it
If something happens and you find yourself suddenly and unexpectedly in need of a roommate, you may feel the pressure to find someone ASAP. However, settling for the first person you can find can cause a lot of headache down the line. Do your due diligence and don’t rush it. Saving yourself some stress now by rushing to choose someone can cause you much more stress down the line if the choice turns out to have been the wrong one.