Of course, there’s no such thing as the perfect roommate, but it is possible to find the perfect roommate for you. The best roommates accommodate each other’s personality and can get along easily without unnecessary conflict. For example, if you are messy, you would probably drive a neat freak crazy, but living with someone who is downright sloppy is likely to result in an apartment much messier than you’d prefer. Bearing all this in mind, here are some steps to finding your ideal roommate.
Decide what you’re looking for in a roommate.
Find a roommate is a lot like dating. What are your priorities? Do you want someone who shares your interests and would make a good friend, or do you spend a lot of time out of the house and just want someone you can coexist peacefully with? Do you prefer a roommate who is quieter, or are you unbothered by a bit of noise? Do you mind if your roommate has frequent guests, or are you more private? Know where you’re flexible, and which things are non-negotiable.
Assess your own strengths and weaknesses.
Be honest about what you’re bringing to the table—both with yourself and with prospective roommates. Know your preferences for cleaning, your good and bad habits, etc. Don’t optimistically tell people that you’re really clean if you haven’t vacuumed with the Eufy 11S vs 15C since the last time your mother visited…a year ago. Eventually, everything comes out when you’re living with another person, and exaggerating your cleaning habits in hopes that living with a neater person will keep you on top of things is a recipe for strife.
Start by networking.
Obviously you need to start searching, but the key here is to give yourself plenty of time so you don’t accept the first applicant out of desperation. Networking is a great first place to start. Ask friends and family if they know anyone looking. An easy way to do this is post on social networking sites and asking your friends to pass the info along to anyone who might be interested.
If networking fails, expand your search.
Many websites offer roommate-matching services, much like online dating. Some even promise to prescreen prospective matches for you, but be sure to do your own homework.
Think carefully about moving in with a friend, coworker, or family member.
Bear in mind, just because you like hanging out with someone, whether once a month or twice a week, won’t automatically translate to a good roommate relationship. It probably doesn’t bug you that your best friend enjoys spending their weekends sprawled out in the living room binge-watching Netflix, but this could be a problem with a future roommate if you have other plans for your common area. Good friends can make great roommates, but living with the wrong friend can destroy your relationship.
We can’t say this enough—finding a roommate is so much like dating. If you’ve met someone over the internet, meet them first in a neutral setting to see if you mesh. However, unlike dating, where you can enjoy getting to know the other person at a leisurely pace, you likely have a limited time period to find a new roommate. So cut right to the chase and start talking about your compatibility. Discuss your expectations and their own expectations.
Do your research.
Just because you hit it off with someone, you need to find out more. Your goal here is to make sure your future roommate is a safe person to live with and is likely to pay their share of rent and utilities on time. It can be a good idea to run a criminal background check, if you don’t know the person or do not share friends in common. For a financial history, it’s easy for your prospective roommate to obtain their credit report—they’re entitled to an annual free report through www.AnnualCreditReport.com. You can also ask for references from previous landlords and/or roommates.