Top 7 Things You Need to Know When Looking for a Roommate 

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Roommate
source (istockphoto.com)

You may well be searching for someone to live with due to moving into university accommodation, or conversely, have just graduated and are planning on a big city move and need someone to help with their share of rent and bills.

Whatever your reason, you have certainly come to the right place! Continue reading to learn about the top seven things you need to know when looking for a roommate.

1. Similar Lifestyle Preferences

Imagine the situation: you find the most perfect person to move in with or else take the last place in a student flat-share, and everything seems to be in order.

To your horror, when they bring their belongings up into the apartment, they turn out to be a huge exotic pet enthusiast and have brought along just a few of their favorite tarantulas. Whilst you will not want to find someone and indeed, this would be fairly difficult, who has exactly the same interests and extracurricular pursuits as yourself, asking potential roommates about their passions and hobbies will certainly stand you in good stead.

2. A Certain Level of Financial Stability

Even if you’re in a situation where you’re wondering how to find a roommate quickly, it’s still worthwhile to commit to learning all you can about the process. Taking the time to conduct a few checks beforehand can help you avoid potential issues in the future.

Obviously, the most important element is that they are financially secure enough to guarantee payment of their share of the rent, bills, and other household necessities and, in an ideal world, you will have a formal cohabitation agreement drawn up before you move in together.

3. Be Honest with Your New Roommate

Just as important as it is to fully ‘vet’ any potential roommates, it is also crucial to be honest about your own lifestyle, living habits and, importantly, how messy, or indeed, overtly tidy you are in general.

Cleaning schedules should be drawn up and discussed amongst you; make sure to involve anyone else who shares the house and adhere to said schedules – this is as much your responsibility as your new roommate.

4. Be Clear as to What You Are Looking For

Just as important as checking that any new potential roommate has similar core values, ethics, and attitudes to cleanliness and tidiness, you should also spend time analyzing yourself and what you are like to live with.

As yourself the following questions:

  • How do you solve an issue and what methods do you use for resolution
  • Are you the type of person who cleans up after a meal immediately?
  • Do you respect and value other people’s privacy?
  • Will you be bringing friends back to the apartment regularly?
  • Do you tend to spread out your belongings around your home?
  • Are you someone who is always willing to compromise?
  • How much time do you spend at home in an average week?
  • Are you someone who manages their finances in a timely fashion?

5. Look Outside Your Core Group of Friends

Unless you have lived with one or more of your best friends in the past, or you have spent a week or more on holiday with them and are, therefore, fully aware of each other’s living habits, it can be decidedly risky to move in with a close friend.

There are many reasons why you should approach such a suggestion with extreme caution, not least because mixing personal life and enjoyment with friends and money is always a risk.

In addition, even if you have known your best friends for the majority of your life, the more time you spend with anyone, be that family, friends or a relative stranger, the more likely you are to have disagreements. The last thing you would want is to fall out with one of the most important people in your life.

Other risks associated with moving in with a friend include the following:

  • Working from home could be more than distracting
  • You may struggle to move independently after living with your friends
  • Your social circle will be more limited than if you picked to live with someone new
  • You may start to take your friend for granted
  • It is much harder to challenge a friend on housing issues than a simple roommate

6.  Utilize the Internet

Whether your job role requires you to use the internet on a daily basis and you are highly skilled in search engines and working out how to separate the proverbial wheat from the chaff, or else you only really use the internet for social media purposes, there is a wealth of opportunity to help you on your search for a roommate online.

Facebook groups are one of the standout ways to search for someone to live with, especially as you can find a group that is specifically aimed at the area you are looking to move to, which is the best way to hone your search.

As with any other endeavor conducted online, you need to be absolutely sure to make your safety a priority and to always meet a potential roommate, or indeed a new friend, in a public place. Keeping yourself safe online also takes the form of always ensuring you have the latest firewalls and application updates installed, your data is regularly backed up and having 2SV (two-step verification) switched on.

Additionally, changing your passwords regularly, especially those linked to each of your social media accounts, is also strongly advised.

7. Learn From Past Experience

The seventh and final piece of advice when looking for a new roommate, either to share the apartment or house you are currently renting, or else when searching for a new place to live in another city, is to learn from your past experience.

If, for example, you were embroiled in a living situation that ended badly and in which the friendship could not be salvaged, make sure you are aware of how you would change your behavior to ensure a similar incident will not happen in the future.