Do you find yourself struggling to make your rent payment each month? If you’re in this situation, a roommate may be the perfect way to overcome overwhelming living costs. While finding a roommate can be a great way to save some money, you need to make sure you get a roommate who is compatible with you and your lifestyle.
We found all the information we would use when looking for a roommate and included it all in this handy list!
1. Ask Your Friends for Roommate Referrals
When you decide you are going to have a roommate, start talking to your friends about it. They may be the best judge of character especially since they know you. Tell them you’re looking for someone and give them your expectations. Most people know someone who is looking for a place to live. Make sure you establish with your friends there should be no hard feelings if their suggestion doesn’t work out.
2. Advertise Wisely
There are many apps and websites that can help you find a great roommate, find one that works for you:
- PadMapper offers a free app for Android and iOS. People can search for roommates using a map, you can list your home for free.
- Roomi allows you to create a custom roommate search. It is $2.99 for three days of the service.
- Facebook can be helpful if you want to connect with someone you sort of already know.
- Craigslist is useful as a last resort not only because of the infamous horror stories but also because it offers your roommate listing to anyone within a 50-radius. There is no personalized matching.
3. Use an Application
Do applications. An application is a great way to learn more about a potential roommate. This application is free to print. If you don’t have a printer, you can print things for a very low cost at most libraries. If you don’t have access to a few cents or a way to get to a library, you can send the questions in an email!
4. Know Your Costs
Before you start looking for a roommate, you need to know the cost of a few things. This will help you make wise decisions about splitting expenses and can help you answer some of your potential roommates’ questions.
- Your rent
- Heating (if separate from electric)
- Other home-related costs
5. Think About What You Want
Having a clear idea of what you want from your roommate will help you make the choice in people you are interviewing. Consider whether you want someone who likes pets, someone who works an opposite schedule from you, someone who likes to cook or someone who will be happy to split the cleaning chores up.
6. Interview Potential Roommates
During the interview, you will need to ask them a series of questions. Keep in mind, they are moving into your home. Even if you feel like some of the questions are off the wall, they can really give you a great idea of what the person’s character is really like. Remember to always write the answers down so you don’t forget!
- Do you have or want pets?
- Are you a person who likes to entertain guests?
- Do you keep a normal schedule?
- Will you be using the kitchen or eating out more?
- How often do you watch TV? What type of shows or movies do you enjoy?
- What are some things you do for fun?
- How often do you think we should clean?
- Are you prepared for unexpected expenses or emergencies?
- Do you have allergies?
- What is your worst habit?
- Is your relationship with your parents a good one?
- What does your arrest record look like?
- Do you prefer putting a fan on or opening the window?
- Are there any pet peeves I should know about?
7. Split the Bills
Your costs for electric and even internet may change when someone else moves into your space. Choosing to split the rent plus all of the bills will make your life easier and can help you save money even if your roommate causes your utility bills to increase. When you are advertising, be sure to include, “plus utilities” with the rental amount you’re listing.
8. Play Hardball
Be prepared to negotiate. You’ll be amazed at how many people will trade cleaning the apartment for not having to pay for their share of the internet. These situations can get messy so keep that in mind before agreeing to any type of deal. If you don’t want to negotiate terms of the roommate agreement, be sure to let any potential roommates know everything is non-negotiable.
9. Get it In Writing
The roommate agreement is going to be your best friend if things go bad with your roommate. Before you do an agreement, check with your landlord that having a roommate is acceptable. Also, check state laws to make sure you do not need to have a document notarized for it to hold up in court. While you may not want to think about it when you’re first starting out with a roommate, you should always consider the worst case scenario.
10. Stay Safe While Looking for a Roommate
Even if your potential roommate laughed at your arrest question and assured you there was nothing, you should still check to be sure. Arrests are a matter of public record. Find your state and use your potential roommate’s information to find out whether they have a criminal record.
Unless you have safety measures in place, never do an interview in your home and never give your address until you have interviewed. Use this list to find the perfect place to meet up for an interview!
Nervousness is common during interviews, but if the person you are talking to seems extremely nervous or has strange quirks, you may want to consider looking for someone else. You can choose not to have someone live with you just because of a gut feeling. Trust your instincts!