7 Things to Keep in Mind When You're Trying to Find a Roommate
Written by Hannah Hildebolt
Trying to find a roommate might sound like a daunting task. How do you find someone you’ll want to share a home with? It’s true––inviting someone into your space can come with some risks. However, if you search carefully, a good roommate can quite literally pay off. Not only will you be splitting rent, but a good roommate with be someone who makes your home a better place to live. So how do you find a wonderful roommate? Here’s a few tips to get started.
1. Talk about how you’re both handling the pandemic and what your comfort levels are with leaving the apartment.
If you’re trying to find a roommate right now, one of the most important things to do is ensure that you and your potential roommate are on the same page about how you’re both navigating the pandemic. This will involve discussions about how often you’ll both leave the apartment, where you’ll be going, and who else you’ll be seeing. Double-checking that your potential roommate is following the distancing and masking mandates in your area is also important.
2. Considering a friend as a roommate? Think carefully.
It might seem fun to live with one of your close friends, but it’s probably a good idea to think twice. The same qualities you want in a friend––like excitement and spontaneity––might not necessarily be the ones you want in a roommate. It would be upsetting to lose a good friend if your relationship with your roommate goes south. On the other hand, if you really do think that you and your friend are compatible as roommates, it might benefit you socially and emotionally to have someone you love so near to you. The process of finding a roommate might also be easier and faster than it would be if you had to interview strangers. It all depends on exactly what you’re looking for in a roommate and how your friends might or might not fit that ideal.
3. Make sure the apartment itself is in line with your needs.
The way your apartment’s space is laid out can prove essential to a functional relationship between you and your roommate. Is there enough space in the kitchen for two people to move around each other, or will you have to take turns? Are your bedrooms far apart or would a roommate wake you up if they moved around too much at night? These are all things to take into consideration as you decide who your roommate will be and where you will live together. Considering what’s possible within your budget will also narrow things down in your roommate search, and that will allow you to find a roommate more easily.
4. Pick someone with whom you can communicate easily.
Communication is the golden key to a healthy roommate relationship. Conflict will inevitably arise, even over things as small as who left dirty dishes in the sink, and you’ll have to deal with it together. This means that you want to make sure you’ll be comfortable expressing your concerns to your roommate. It’s probably a good idea to talk to your roommate over video chat or in person, appropriately masked and distanced, before moving in together. This gives you a chance to hold a conversation and see how it flows. If talking to a potential roommate feels unnatural or uncomfortable, you’ll probably feel the same way when you’re considering how to bring up the dirty socks they keep leaving in the living room. You want to find a roommate who makes those conversations easy.
5. Think about how your roommate's schedule might, or might not, line up with yours.
It's a good idea to consider what you want your ideal roommate's schedule to be like. If you want to find a roommate with whom you can spend lots of quality time, it’s important to ensure that your schedules line up. On the other hand, if you’d rather have lots of time in the apartment to yourself, it might be better to have a roommate on a completely different schedule so that you have the space you need. You’ll also probably want to ask about your roommate’s sleep schedule so that you can understand what the noise situation will be like in the mornings and the evenings.
6. Have a discussion about cleanliness and divide chores up evenly with your roommate.
Another factor to keep in mind when trying to find a roommate is cleanliness. Take a look around and think about how clean you like to keep your space. Is there not a speck of dust in your room? Is there a little clutter? Or maybe a lot of clutter? This is the kind of thing you want to be on the same wavelength about with a potential roommate, because it could definitely become a source of conflict if it’s not addressed directly. Having a talk about dividing up chores is also a good idea, and maybe you could even talk about splitting the cost of a house cleaner. Getting these realistic details out in the clear will save you time and energy down the road. Finding a roommate who is clear on all of these details and willing to talk about them is key.
7. Make sure your roommate is able to hold up their end of the bargain financially.
The last thing you want to have to worry about is whether your roommate will be good for rent money from one month to the next. This might be an awkward conversation to have, but ensuring that your roommate is in a stable enough situation to keep up their end of rent, utilities, and whatever else you’ll be paying for together is important. Things are difficult enough with the circumstances of the pandemic, and living with someone who you can depend on to hold up their end of your financial bargain will be one less stressor. It will also further ensure that your relationship remains healthy and resentment-free. You want to find a roommate who won't make that part of your life any more difficult.
Picking someone to live with can be difficult in the best of times, and COVID-19 makes everything harder. However, by asking the right questions and taking the right things into consideration, you can find a roommate who will help you maintain a space you’re glad to come home to.
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