Looking for someone to fill a bedroom or looking for a bedroom to fill? Hoping to save money on rent by splitting a bigger place? It all begins with finding the right roommate. These three tactics, in order, are the most surefire way to fill the vacancy.
The Three Best Roommate-Finding Methods
1. Ask Around
Word gets around fast when someone is looking for a roommate. Your friends, classmates, and coworkers may know someone. Best of all, they can personally vouch for the person and tell you about them before you meet. If you’re not comfortable involving others in your roommate search, or want to look at more options, that’s when you can turn to the Internet.
2. Use a Roommate Finder
Using a roommate service is safer than making a listing on Craigslist. Before making an account, each person must submit their photo ID and get screened by the website. That means everyone is who they say they are and in genuinely invested in finding a roommate. Craiglist may take less time to use, but everyone there is a stranger.
Most roommate finder apps charge a $20 subscription fee, such as Roommates.com, Roomie Match, and Roomster. Roomi is the largest roommate finder service that doesn’t charge admission. On the website, you can browse apartment openings or list your own. You can also search local roommate profiles and get to know potential roommates. Roomi is still growing and may not have coverage in your area, but it doesn’t hurt to check.
3. When all Else Fails, Craigslist
One great and terrible thing about Craigslist is that it’s always there when you need it. The anonymity of the site means you will probably get messages from a few weirdos, but there are also other people like you who are just looking for a roommate. This is the last best option for tracking down a roommate, but still better than posting your name and number on a phone pole.
Before You Sign the Lease
Whether you are planning to move in with your best friend or a total stranger, sitting down with them beforehand is vital to a positive roommate relationship.
To even the playing field, consider meeting your potential roommate for lunch in a public setting. However, this same conversation can be held online.
You may begin by getting to know each other, asking about hobbies and interests. You may find you both like the same activities, which can make apartment life lots of fun.
Eventually, you will have to talk about household responsibilities. How clean do you want the space kept? How will you handle dishes and other chores? Make deals on who does what.
Talk about daily life. How will you work out personal space? When people come over, should you ask permission or just let your roommate know? Discuss which things are common ground: furniture, dishes, appliances, etc.
Find out early how you might end up rubbing elbows. Do either of you have noisy habits? Do you smoke or have pets? What do you want your roommate to know in case it might bother them later? Can you negotiate limits or times of day?
One Last Thing
Set up an IM chat with all of your roommates. Post memes, invites, random thoughts, and whatever else, but most of all, keep communication open. Use it to let them know your friend’s coming over, or to mention that the washer is loud at night. Use it to work things out before things get heated. Some roommates prefer to talk in person, but this tactic will save you 99% of the time.
Sometimes it’s not about finding a roommate who is just like you. Sometimes your best bet is to find someone you get along with and sort out the details as you go. With a little patience, you can avoid roommate nightmares and enjoy the best years of your life.