With rising housing costs and an increasingly competitive job market, more and more young adults are choosing to live with roommates to save on housing expenses. In 2017, almost 79 million adults lived with roommates in their home or apartment.
However, finding the right roommate can be a challenge — from cleaning habits and sleep schedules to personality traits and interests, there are a lot of factors to consider when searching for a good roommate. In this article, we will offer tips for how to find the right roommate to make your roommate search as smooth and safe as possible!
1. Know What You Want in a Roommate
Before diving into your roommate search, make a list of the qualities you are looking for in a roommate. Include any traits you want — such as a roommate who is clean or one who will help with household chores — as well as any pet peeves you have that could make a roommate relationship go sour — such as letting dirty dishes pile up in the sink or listening to loud music at night. Clearly defining the lifestyle habits, personality traits and interests you want in a roommate will help you find the best match for you.
2. Look in the Right Places
Now that you know what you want in a roommate, it is time to start searching — but where should you look for a roommate?
If you are searching for a roommate in the city where you currently live, your first thought may be to ask your best friend if they want to move in. While rooming with your best friend may sound like a great idea, living with close friends can sometimes reveal annoying habits that end up ruining your friendship.
This doesn’t mean that you have to rule out living with a friend entirely, though — simply make sure your friend goes through the same interview process as a stranger would. Pay attention to small details and let them down gently if you think that you might not enjoy living together. Saying no to living with a friend now could save your friendship in the long run!
If you are moving to a new city, you may need to take your roommate search online to find a good match. Here are a few places to begin your roommate search no matter where you are moving:
- Friends of friends: Ask your friends and family members if they know anyone who is looking for a roommate. Someone who shares a mutual friend or comes recommended by a family member will likely be a trustworthy roommate. They may even share similar interests to you and end up becoming your friend too!
- Facebook: In addition to asking your friends in person, you can also create a post on Facebook to reach a larger network. Include as many details as possible about the qualities you want in a roommate and the apartment you are planning to rent. Encourage your friends to share the post with anyone they know who might be interested.
- Craigslist: Craigslist is another popular online resource for finding roommates. Just create an account and then post an ad. Make sure your ad includes all the essentials about your roommate needs and any photos of your apartment if you already have one. You can also browse the site for other posts from people looking for roommates.
- Reddit: Similarly to Craiglist, Reddit has a roommates thread for people to connect with others who are looking for roommates. Simply create an account, subscribe to the thread and then create a post. You can also search the thread for other posts from people looking for roommates in your area.
When posting online, make sure to include as many details as possible about the kind of roommate you are looking for. If you already have an apartment or place in mind, include details about the size of the apartment, number of bedrooms and rental costs. When responding to online posts, use the safety tips discussed later in this piece to make sure you are finding a trustworthy roommate.
3. Ask the Right Questions — Even the Tough Ones
Once you have found a few potential roommates, it is time to begin the interview process. Meet with each candidate in person and ask questions about their lifestyle and habits. Use the list of what you want in a roommate to make sure that their lifestyle complements yours. When talking to potential roommates, don’t be afraid to ask tough questions, even if it seems awkward. Asking about their sleeping habits, cleanliness and personality will prevent you from choosing a roommate who ends up driving you crazy.
Your list of questions should reflect the qualities that matter most to you, but here are a few roommate interview questions to get you started when meeting a potential roommate:
- What is your work schedule like?
- What time do you normally wake up?
- What time do you normally go to sleep?
- Do you spend a lot of time at home or go out often?
- How often do you have friends over?
- Do you like to hang out or spend time alone?
- Do you listen to loud music often?
- Do you watch TV or play video games a lot?
- Do you drink, smoke cigarettes or use drugs?
- What are your hobbies and interests?
- How often do you clean?
- Do you have any food restrictions?
- Do you have any health concerns I should know about?
- How was your previous living situation?
Remember that the “right” answers to these questions will simply be those that fit your lifestyle and personality. If you enjoy loud music and hate cleaning up after yourself, then a loud and messy roommate may be exactly what you want. If you prefer a quiet and private lifestyle, then look for someone who shares those values too.
After you have worked through your own list of questions, provide time for them to ask questions about you. Answer these questions as truthfully as possible — being open and honest from the start can prevent conflicts down the road.
Even if your first roommate interview goes great, make sure to talk to a few candidates before signing a lease. Even if the first person seems like a good fit, the next one may be even better. If you are not sure that someone is quite the right fit, keeping looking before you settle. Once you have narrowed down your search to a few possible candidates, meet with each of them again to get to know them better before moving in together.
4. Discuss Household Chores and Cleaning Habits
Household chores can be a common cause of conflict between roommates. Talk about cleaning habits and chores during your initial roommate interview to avoid a fall-out over dirty dishes or an overflowing recycling bin. Ask potential roommates if they are okay with splitting housekeeping duties like cleaning the bathroom, vacuuming and taking out the trash.
When setting cleaning standards for your future roommate, keep in mind your own cleaning habits. If you often leave laundry on the floor or take a few days to wash your dishes, give your roommate the same leeway. If you are a neatnik who lives by closet organizers and wants your apartment to be tidy all of the time, look for a roommate who shares your organization and cleaning standards. You will get along with your roommate a lot better if you have a compatible lifestyle and similar cleaning habits.
5. Talk About Money Upfront
Although many people shrink away from discussions about money, it’s important to make sure your potential roommate will be able to pay for their portion of the rent and utility bills each month. Look for a roommate who has a stable job and a steady source of income. Ask what they do for a living and approximately how much they earn.
Before getting too excited about liking the same TV shows or sharing similar interests in music, talk to your potential roommate about how you will split your rental expenses. If your name will be on your utility bills and lease, it is even more important to make sure they will be responsible for their portion of the payments.
If you plan to share any household items or share groceries, discuss how you will split those costs as well. Consider any other monthly expenses — such as Internet, cable and phone bills — and decide upfront how those expenses will be handled.
6. Find the Right Apartment
Now that you have interviewed potential roommates, asked the tough questions and organized your expenses, it is time to find the perfect apartment to call home. The size and layout of your apartment will also play a role in selecting the right roommate.
If you like privacy, look for an apartment that is large enough for you and your roommate to have space to yourselves — a two-story townhouse or two-bedroom apartment with a roomy layout may be the best choice. If you do not mind getting cozy with your new roommate, a smaller apartment with shared living spaces might work well.
Here are a few things to consider when searching for the right apartment for you and your roommate:
- Number of bedrooms: Will you each have your own bedroom or are you planning to split a bedroom? If you are sharing a bedroom, decide how you will split up closet space and make sure there is room for both of your dressers.
- Number of bathrooms: Decide if you are okay with sharing a bathroom or if you would rather have your own. Ask about your potential roommate’s morning routine — if they typically spend an hour in the bathroom putting on makeup every day, an apartment with two baths might be a better choice.
- Size of the kitchen: If you and your roommate both like to cook, make sure you have enough space to do so without getting in each other’s way. Consider cabinet space as well to make sure you have space for all of your utensils, glassware, dishware and kitchen appliances.
- Size of other living spaces: If you enjoy having friends over or like to entertain, look for an apartment with a large living room or full dining room. Make sure there is enough space for you and your roommate to spend time with your friends without getting in each other’s way.
- Apartment layout: Consider how much privacy you want to have and look for an apartment with a layout that fits your preferences. If you like a lot of privacy, you may want an apartment with bedrooms on different ends of the apartment.
The size of your apartment may not be as much of a concern if you and roommate both work a lot or are not home often. But if you plan to spend a lot of time at home, make sure you have enough space that you and your roommate are not stepping on each other’s toes. If you are sharing a bedroom with your roommate, it is even more important to find a roommate with a compatible sleep schedule and that you get along with well.
7. Give Yourself Time to Find the Right Match
As you begin your apartment hunt, you are probably excited to get into a new apartment as soon as possible. However, taking the time to find the right roommate instead of rushing into a lease with someone who is not the right fit will pay off in the long run. So, how long does it take to find a roommate?
Finding the right roommate could take just a few days or a few months. If you are moving in the spring or fall when a lot of other people are also looking for a new place, you will probably have an easier time finding a roommate. If you’re trying to find a roommate in the winter, it may take longer to find someone else whose lease is also ending.
How particular you are about what you want in a roommate will also influence how long it takes to find your ideal roommate. Being picky about the qualities you are looking for in a roommate will help you find someone you get along with well, but may also make your roommate search take a little bit longer. If you want to find a roommate sooner, focus on the qualities that matter most to you— such as cleanliness, noise levels and sleep schedules— to find a compatible roommate more quickly.
If you have already found your dream apartment but do not have a roommate yet, it is a good idea to make sure you will be able to afford two to three months of rent on your own before you sign the lease. This provides some buffer time so you can take the time you need to find the right roommate.
How to Find a Roommate Safely in a New City
If you are looking for a roommate in a new city or interviewing roommates who you do not already know, you want to make sure they are trustworthy and reliable. Here are a few tips for finding a trustworthy roommate in a new city:
- Be wary of scams: If you are looking for a roommate online, be certain anyone who contacts you is not a scammer. Make sure they can provide legitimate contact information and that the language in their emails sounds natural. Only reply to posts that sound legitimate and include details about the person and their apartment.
- Bring a friend along: When you are meeting with a potential roommate for the first time, meet in a public place and bring a friend along. Do not give them a tour of your apartment until you are sure they are safe and trustworthy.
- Do a background check: Performing a background check may sound extreme, but it is a critical safety precaution if you are considering a roommate who you do not know very well. If the potential roommate refuses to perform a background check, this is a red flag that they may have something to hide.
- Check their credit score: Even if you have already talked about money, it is still a good idea to do a credit check on your potential roommate. Make sure they have been reliable with paying their bills in the past and have a good credit score.
- Ask for references: If you do not know a potential roommate very well, ask for references who can attest to their character and reliability, such as their previous landlord or last roommate. If they readily offer references, they will probably be a trustworthy roommate.
- Get everything in writing: Even if you have found a roommate who seems reliable, make sure you also put any verbal agreements you make on paper. If you plan to split the rent, put both of your names on the lease or create a sublease for your roommate. If you plan to split utility bills and Internet payments, get this in writing too. You can even create a roommate agreement for housekeeping chores, sharing groceries and other general apartment rules.
When you follow these tips for how to find a roommate safely, you can find a safe and reliable roommate in any city and sign your next lease with confidence.
Rent Your Next Apartment From Triple Crown Corporation
By using these tips for how to find the right roommate, you find an awesome roommate who is trustworthy, reliable and compatible with your lifestyle and personality. And, when you search for your next apartment through Triple Crown Corporation, you can score your dream home, too.
Triple Crown Corporation offers beautiful apartments and rental homes in the Harrisburg area with a variety of different sizes and layouts to fit your needs. Whether you are looking for a comfortable townhouse on the West Shore or spacious two-bedroom apartment closer to the city, we have the place for you. Many of our rental communities also feature extra amenities like fitness centers, wood-burning fireplaces and community pools.
Explore our rental communities in Harrisburg, Camp Hill, Mechanicsburg and New Cumberland to fall in love with your next home or apartment today.