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Ah, roommates. Since bunking up with a best friend is usually not a risk worth taking, most people looking for a roommate find themselves wondering where to start. Worry not: The difference between a good roommate and a bad roommate is really just finding someone who is financially reliable and whose habits and co-living values align with your own.
These are things you can discern from good questions, careful research, and smart timing. Here are nine tips for upping your odds of roommate compatibility. Sometimes last-minute living adjustments have to be made — like when your current roommate gets a job and has to relocate quickly — but you should try to give yourself as much lead time as possible. That way, you can ask around and advertise for roommates, conduct multiple interviews, and have time to make what is a vitally important decision without feeling rushed.
The amount of time you should set aside for the search may vary depending on where you live and what the rental market is like — finding a roommate in NYC will look a little different than in Chattanooga — but across the board, more time is better. So, before you even start the search, think about which factors matter most.
Finally, a valid reason to spend time browsing social media. Facebook is a wonderful way to look for roommates, and most cities have multiple groups deated for apartment and roommate searching. Another option is to put a call out in groups that are non-housing specific but host a network of like-minded people.
For instance, you might try a college classLGBTQ-friendly groups, your Nextdoor site, or a neighborhood association. Post in multiple groups, making sure to include rent amount and pictures of the apartment if you already have onea little bit about yourself, and a few factors that are important to you. Facebook in particular is convenient because you have the advantage of finding mutual friends and can learn a bit about potential roommates by poking around their profile. While Reddit and Craigslist use a more anonymous format for initial pre-screening, they cast a wide net and can be helpful sites for connecting with potential roomies.
Some sites and apps specialize in helping people find roommates. While they may charge a small fee, some offer extra services for helping you vet potential matches. Established roommate finders to try include:.
Arrange your first meeting in a public place where you feel safe, and consider bringing a friend with you. You should always leverage your own social circles both offline and online. Even if no one comes to mind right away, they can keep an ear to the ground and ask around for you. If you belong to a church, that can be a great place to connect with potential roommates. Putting the ask out to your colleagues is a smart idea, too. Many larger employers offer intranets or digital bulletin boards you can use to get the word out to a wider group of people.
Important steps to cover include:. You should also establish a mutual agreement about what happens if one of you needs to move out before the lease is up. For example, if one person is planning a move, they should give as much he up as possible, and maybe they agree to continue paying rent on the room until an acceptable replacement roommate is found.
Good to know! Duly noted. It can seem weirdly intimate to jump right into queries about personal habits what time of day do you like to shower? And, like a job interview, the conversation should be two-sided. Make sure you really listen to their answers and respond to their questions as truthfully as possible.
As many are either staying put or moving out of cities and in with family in small towns, fewer people may be looking to swap places at the moment.
Interviews might be even more personal than normal, and you should consider asking a few extra questions, such as:. Here are a few questions to answer together, prior to move-in day:. That way, if wrinkles arise, you can iron them out by looking at the guidelines you established together, and talking it through from a common starting point. Give yourself plenty of time to find the right person Sometimes last-minute living adjustments have to be made — like when your current roommate gets a job and has to relocate quickly — but you should try to give yourself as much lead time as possible.
Are you a vegetarian who would rather avoid the smell of cooking meat? Does a sink full of dishes really grind your gears? Is finding a cat or dog lover a must because you have a pet? Use social media and online outreach to your advantage Finally, a valid reason to spend time browsing social media.
Established roommate finders to try include: Roommates. Ask friends and colleagues You should always leverage your own social circles both offline and online. Important steps to cover include: Asking for income and employment information — how long have they worked for their current employwer? Determining how much each of you will pay toward rent. In many cases, an equal split makes sense, but factors such as square footage, direct access to a bathroom, a window with a view, or a walk-in closet could call for adjustments. Here are some good questions to ask potential roommates: Why are you looking for a new roommate?
What did you like and dislike about your last living situation? Can you commit to a yearlong lease? Or, how long do you anticipate living here? Can you tell me about your cleaning habits? How often do you cook? When do you generally get up and go to bed? Do you prefer to shower in the morning or at night? How much time do you spend at home on average? What are your hobbies? How do you like to spend your weekends? How often do you tend to have visitors over? How social do you like to be with your roommates?
Do you smoke? Do you have pets, or allergies to pets? Do you have any dietary restrictions I should be aware of? Do you have any accessibility concerns? Can you provide references? Interviews might be even more personal than normal, and you should consider asking a few extra questions, such as: How are you doing?
Everyone could do with a check-in right now, and this is a nice way to ease into the conversation. Do you work from home all or part of the time? How have you been social distancing? Regardless of the rules in your city, people can have vastly different attitudes and comfort levels about precautions. Can we establish a regular cleaning schedule? Keeping a hygienic home is particularly important during this time.
Would you be comfortable taking a FaceTime video tour, instead of an in-person tour? The fewer strangers parading through your pad, the better. Here are a few questions to answer together, prior to move-in day: Furnishing the apartment: What do you have room for, and do either of you already have some furniture to bring? If one of you is already living in the apartment, should you do some decluttering to make room? Utilities: Whose name with the bills be in? Or, if one roommate has a TV in their room, or someone needs super-fast Wi-Fi for working from home, will you decide on a proportional division?
Insurance: Renters insurance is a good idea whether or not you have a roommate. Talk to your agent about how to share a policy or if you should get your own. Sofia Rivera is a writer and property editor for Boston Magazine. Share. Tweet. Pin. Share Article Share .Seeking roommate to move in with for short while
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Find a Roommate, Fast: 10 Online Roommate Finders