About one in three people between the ages of 23 and 65 have roommates. That’s a number we’ve seen go up by about 10 percent since 2005.
As the cost of living continues to trend upwards and salaries stay stagnant, we expect to see more people pool resources with others to get ahead. If you become one of many that look to split your living expenses with someone else, our advice is to tread carefully!
Finding a roommate is easy enough. Finding a roommate that won’t drive you crazy or cause you severe financial problems can be more challenging.
Fortunately, there are ways to hedge your bets on the roommate front. To find out how to give yourself the best odds of finding the perfect person to live with, exercise the following tips.
1. Ask Your Friends If They’re Interested
If you have a circle of close friends, chances are, you know those people well. Given your knowledge of your friends and their intricacies, you should be able to make a good call on whether or not they’re roommate material.
Assuming one of your friends does strike you as having potential, work up the courage to ask if they’d be interested in moving in. If they say yes, you’ll have streamlined your roommate search considerably.
A word of caution: Be sure that the friend you move in with shares the same sensibilities as you when it comes to things like cleaning, managing finances, etc. A falling out with a roommate that’s a friend could cost you your relationship.
2. Talk to Multiple Applicants
If friends are a no-go, let strangers know on websites like Craigslist, Roommate Finder, and others that you’re on the prowl for a flatmate. Once prospects start pouring in, look over the applications you receive and plan on talking to a handful of people.
The more people you interview, the better idea you’ll get of what you’re looking for in a roommate and what you’d prefer to avoid.
3. Think Carefully About Your Questions
We’ve seen a lot of people conduct interviews when finding a roommate, like what they hear from prospects, and then end up hating the person they picked. Usually, that’s a by-product of conducting a weak interview.
Take time to think over your interview questions carefully to give yourself a great chance of getting to the bottom of who a person is.
Sure, tough questions may catch recipients off guard. Believe us when we say though that you’ll both be glad your truest selves were showcased during your initial discussions.
4. Be Crystal Clear When It Comes to Money
The reason why most people get roommates is to avoid money problems so when questions come up as to who needs to pay for what, conversations can go south.
To avoid money problems, be clear from the get-go about what financial expectations you have of your roommate. They should be able to know immediately what they’ll be liable to pay for each month and what unique circumstances (apartment damages for example) they’ll have to reach into their pockets for.
5. Run Appropriate Checks
No matter how great your roommate seems in an interview, there’s a possibility you’re not getting the whole story. To go beyond what your roommate is telling you about themselves, run appropriate checks.
Checks that are common during roommate searches include background checks, credit checks, and reference checks from apartment complexes they’ve previously lived in.
Any potential roommate that is hesitant to allow you to dig into their past isn’t worth taking a risk on.
6. Make Agreements Clear in Writing
When roommates agree to their living arrangements in principle, that’s great. What’s more important though is agreeing to living arrangements in writing.
More people than you think say yes to things on handshake deals and then double-back as soon as things become inconvenient. By getting deal terms in writing and having a roommate sign, you take the “he said, she said” out of the equation and instead have an objective document to fall back on.
7. Get a Sense of a Person’s Ability to Communicate
Communication is key when managing a relationship. That’s why we always advise people to pay attention to their potential roommate’s ability to communicate during an interview.
If prospects are not contributing to conversations, are not understanding what you’re saying, or seem very hard to get a read on, all of those same problems will exist if you end up living together.
It’s always best to bring on a roommate that you vibe with on a conversational level so you can work through issues concisely when they crop up.
8. Check to See What a Potential Roommate Wants From You
Choosing a roommate is as much about you interviewing people as it is about them interviewing you. So, be sure to ask prospects if they have any questions for you.
You being honest with potential roommates about your tendencies can help them determine if you’re somebody they’d like to live with and their happiness will go a long way when it comes to yours.
9. Don’t Forget About Chores
Don’t make the mistake of forgetting to discuss chores when meeting with a prospective roommate. If it’s not clear as to who is going to pick up what, resentment will crop up.
When all else fails, make paying for a weekly/bi-weekly professional cleaning service a required expenditure.
Take Your Time Finding a Roommate to Save Yourself a Headaches
The more time your spending finding a roommate, the less time you’ll spend resenting them. That simple truth is why it’s so important you pay attention to the tips we’ve just shared and not settle for just anyone that expresses interest in living with you.
Do you still have home/lifestyle questions? If you do, we welcome you to browse more of the content we have available on our blog!