It’s not difficult to find a roommate – it’s actually really easy in some cities – but finding the right one? Now, that’s tricky. You don’t need someone who will mistreat or annoy you or be rude and hard to get along with. You might be living with them for a long time, and the decision isn’t an easy one.
Ask friends and acquaintances
People you know will probably know someone who’s looking for a place to stay. If your friend vouches for the person, the decision is straightforward.
Tell your friends and acquaintances what kind of person you’re looking for and provide a lot of details so they can be sure they’re recommending a good fit. They need as much information as possible.
Post an ad
You can post an ad on your social media that you’re looking for a roommate. Social media are still a great way to find someone in 2023. People you’re friends with on the networks might share your ad with someone they know. Facebook is a great place to start. Most cities have many groups for roommate and apartment seeking.
You could also post in groups that are not specific to housing but are home to like-minded people, like college students or people who share interests. Post in at least three groups and add pictures of the place and the rent amount. You can send direct messages to potential candidates or make a status on your social media that you’re searching for a roommate.
If you’re not comfortable providing details and pictures, try Reddit or Craigslist. These platforms are more anonymous but cast a wide net. They can help you get in touch with a person who could be a good fit.
Some special sites and apps help people find roommates. You can try reputable platforms like Roomi, Roomster, and Roommates.com.
How to learn more about the person
When you have a candidate, make use of the special services available to find a person online and learn more about them. Ask them for references. Not being able to provide any is a bad sign.
It’s important to note who their references are. A former roommate or employer is a green flag. Using such a person as a reference shows you can trust them.
Settle financial matters in advance
Talk to your candidate roommate about financial matters. Ask what they do and their level of income. If they don’t work, who will pay their share of the rent? If they do work, how long have they worked for their current company? Do they change jobs often?
It’s best to put their name on the lease so you’re not the only one liable for rent payments. Usually, roommates split the rent 50:50 if there are two of them. However, factors like a beautiful view, area, direct access to a bathroom, etc., could require adjustments.
Decide how utility bills will be paid. Consider heating, telecommunications, electricity, and other potentially shared expenses.
Will one person be making the payments? Set up automatic payment directly to the landlord to save time.
Discuss how the prospective roommate would secure money for rent and utilities if they lost their job. Agree on what would happen if you or they needed to move out early. They could agree to keep paying rent until they find a replacement roommate.
Your first face-to-face meeting with the potential roommate should be in public, like a café or restaurant. Ask them where they live now, why they want to move, if they drink or smoke, and if they have a partner who will be spending time with them at your place. It can be quite annoying to have someone’s boyfriend or girlfriend over every day, lounging around and maybe even eating your food.
Be respectful and answer any questions they have about you, your job, and your habits.
Give yourself enough time
One can’t always avoid a last-minute living adjustment, like if your roommate gets a new job and has to move. Ideally, though, give yourself as much time as possible to find a new roommate. You can ask around, interview several people, and generally have time to make what can be a critical decision. The time you need varies depending on the rental market in your area.
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