Maybe they’re too loud when you’re trying to get some z’s, their girlfriend/boyfriend never leaves your place, or they never clean up after themselves: when it comes to complaints about college roommates, we’ve heard them all. Let’s face it, it’s not easy to find your potential roommate. Even if you’re lucky enough to be moving in with your best friend, living together can be a whole different story.
But it doesn’t have to be that way! We know that finding the right roommate is essential to making the best out of your college experience. Whether you’re looking for someone to share the cost of off-campus housing rent, or just because you prefer the company of a housemate, here is some advice when searching for a potential roommate:
Start Looking Early
Waiting until the last minute to look for a roommate can be a recipe for disaster. You run the risk of settling for someone that isn’t right for you. Give yourself at least 2 months to search for the right person: you’ll be able to get to know them better, think things through, and ask any all the questions necessary, to save you from future trouble.
Make Sure They Can Cover the Cost
It’s not all about personality. When looking for a new roommate, the most important thing to consider is whether they can cover their part of the rent and extra costs. You don’t want to be left having to pay double because they suddenly couldn’t do it. Ask how they’re planning on paying for rent, and if they can put down a deposit (if possible, it’s always a good idea to run a credit check).
More importantly, make sure it’s someone who will commit to the lease: life can throw plenty of curve-balls, and you want to make sure you and your potential roommate are considerate of each other in case something changes.
Ask the Right Questions
There are many things you should know about your potential roommate before deciding to move in together. But, the most important ones have to do with the space you will be sharing: What are their cleaning habits? Are they messy or organized? Do they smoke? Do they have friends over often? Do they have pets? Think about the habits that you might have to deal with on a regular basis and be direct about what you’re looking for.
The Devil is in the Details
If you can be picky about someone else’s habits, they can be picky about yours; your quirks can also lead to conflicts while sharing a space. For example, if you’re the kind of person who rushes out of the house in the morning, and occasionally leaves things around, it might be helpful to point this out at the beginning and figure out what you are willing to compromise on, and what you are not.
Being honest with your potential roommate can encourage them to be honest with you, helping to ease the process of getting to know each other.
Meet Up in Person
Everyone looks great on paper and social media, but you can tell a lot more about someone when you meet them in person. Plan to have lunch, or meet for coffee. If you have shared interests, you can decide on something you both enjoy doing and lighten the process of getting to know each other.
Look for Shared Interests:
Yes, there are roommate relationships that can survive on the basics: respect for each other’s space, privacy, and lifestyle. You don’t have to be friends to be civil and live together, but, let’s be honest: if you’re going to be seeing each other every day, you might as well consider someone that you can share time and experiences with. Ask about their hobbies, what music they prefer, what their favorite food is- you might find many things you can bond over.
Go the Extra Mile:
If you want to be more at ease with your decision, asking for a background check is always ok. There are plenty of reliable, easy-to-use background check platforms, such as YouCheckCredit or TruthFinder, that will give you access to public information to help you make the final decision. Always make sure to ask for the other person’s permission before you run a background check!