A good roommate is hard to find. It resembles Russian roulette with roommates. It will either work out or bust. While no roommate is perfect, the roommate's attitude, bad habits, personal issues, and weird superstitions make for an awkward and stressful living.
Stop tossing roommates to the curb and learn the best methods on how to find a good roommate.
The comfort zone in roommate searching is reaching out to people within our network. A secondary source is online via Craigslist or a roommate finder website. The sources are not the main problem.
The problem is the planning stage. Instead of assuming the roommate is great because of a friend's recommendation, a thorough plan is necessary to reduce mistakes.
A bad habit roommate finders have is grabbing someone impulsively. A person we just found online or through a mutual friend is suddenly the perfect roommate (or that's what we think).
In some cases, our friend needs a place to stay and we accept it because we hang out with them regularly. This is not how to find a good roommate. The best solution is to plan.
Allow one or two months prior to moving day to learn more about the person who will share this space for a year (at least). Besides, last-minute roommates are likely to end badly.
When evaluating friends and family, remove the favoritism and treat them the same as the remaining candidates. The favoritism shown to friends and family means less research because you hang out with the person.
This doesn't equal great roommates as roommates share more than hobbies and phone conversations. For that reason, remove the loyalty blinders and act impartially in research.
The devil is in the details
Advanced research is exactly how to find a good roommate. Therefore, dig deeper in the planning stages and treat this meeting like a date. Meet in person and ask questions.
Use prior roommate issues to brainstorm good questions and concerns. As the answers arrive, get a general reading for this person. Analyze the answers and channel internal instincts.
This person will see you in the best and worst light, so trust ‘gut reaction' and eliminate untrustworthy candidates. Over the phone is acceptable, but it's difficult to interpret motive and hidden agendas based on voice.
Never stop asking questions. Enter the next phase of finding a good roommate by immersing in the roommate's natural habitat.
Because a roommate is most relaxed at home, their home says a lot about their habits. Most roommates won't allow entry into their house, so ask the second set of questions pertaining to their lifestyle. Brainstorm and ask questions about…
• recreational activities
• loud music
• a homebody vs. hanging out vs. party animal
• vegan vs. vegetarian vs. meat eater
• cleaning habits – neat freak vs. slob
• home decoration
• bathroom/bedroom sharing vs. separate bathroom/bedroom
These are ideas to consider. Allow this to stem supplemental questions and concerns to the roommate. Likewise, understand that roommates won't change bad habits. What you see is what you get, and in a living environment, the habits may get worse.
A component pertaining to how to find a good roommate is cost. Price is a concern worthy of a separate header. Mention bills and purchases.
Rent, utility, cell phone, and cable companies care less if roommates can't agree; complete payment is their priority. For this reason, be upfront about the amount, payment methods, and due date.
Mention food costs and ask whether the roommate is comfortable splitting the costs or going Dutch. A good roommate won't fuss about payment. Those roommates are moochers, so kick them to the curb.
Show your hand
In card games, showing your hand is about revealing all the cards held in your hand. The good roommate search does not begin and end with the roommate.
Answer the same questions the roommate answered. Allow the roommate to decide if you are a fit for him/her.
After the interviewing process (on both ends), perform a background check. This seems cold, yet necessary in finding a good roommate.
Yet, it's necessary to ensure the person doesn't carry a criminal record. Since it is illegal to perform a background check, get written permission from the roommate.
A credit background check is also wise. If the person objects to this, consider it a red flag. If the roommate requires written consent for a background check in return, give permission after getting their written consent. A random person should not gain access to confidential information.
An alternative method of finding a good roommate is requesting references. Ask the roommate for one to three personal or professional references, and vice versa.
Call those references for insight. If something is amiss, it's best to cross this person off the list. Use this strategy as a substitute for or as an addition to a background check.
This outline isn't perfect. Regardless, let this information guide fingers toward a reasonable roommate. Sign on the dotted line when comfort sets in concerning the roommate and the roommate has a mutual feeling.
Nonetheless, it's possible the best roommate could fake everything and be a nuisance after all the trouble. This is where compromise is handy.
Continued discord forces searchers to repeat the how to find a good roommate process. Add this lesson to previous ones to find another. Dump the roommate when the lease expires. That way, someone will move in as the horrible roommate leaves.
What to remember
In closing, a roommate can make our life miserable or bliss. We can research our brains out and still make mistakes. The decision to invite these people into the home/apartment is ours.
If a mistake occurs, it is our decision to drop the roommate and search for a better one (fingers crossed). Don't dread the living space due to the roommate's antics. Get proactive and use these methods.
As always, get everything in writing and ensure both parties sign the agreement. If a party refuses to sign, end the living arraignment now. If possible, draw up and sign a roommate agreement to set the tone for the living arrangement.
Finally, always gravitate toward someone who respects you and your space, and you respect the roommate in return.
Have these suggestions worked? Share additional suggestions on how to find a good roommate in the comments section. YouQueen readers are eager to hear your advice on how to find a great roommate.
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