7 Tips to Find an Ideal Roommate
A perfect roommate – is it a case of mere luck or a result of thorough research? Getting ready to start the university might seem daunting and so finding the right roommate can be a combination of both. Finding the perfect match is a big task: you will be sharing the same space and spending some of the best times of your life together, so we’ve decided to help you out and list 7 tips that will help you to find your ideal roommate and partner in crime.
1. Define what you want
Be honest and set your preferences upfront. If you are a homebody and prefer a peaceful atmosphere, an active outgoing person would not be a good choice. Prepare a set of questions to find out about their habits:
Are they early risers or night owls?
Do they like going out a lot?
What about alcohol?
Do they smoke?
What are their hobbies?
Do they have any pets?
Are they neat or messy?
The more questions you add to the checklist, the better chances you have to find a roommate with a similar lifestyle.
2. Use social media
We all know roommate searching websites like easyroommate.com but let’s be real – social media is a way more powerful tool that connects billions of people around the world. If you have not tried it before, check Facebook for relevant groups that are looking for roommates, type #roommate on Twitter, narrow down the search and start conversation with anyone in just a second. Social media helps to reach out to people immediately and there’s no need to send forms, emails and wait for a response.
3. Conduct your checks
This is a MUST for everyone who is looking for a roommate. Google is your best friend here – you can find out about your potential roommate a lot from their Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn profiles (you never know, it might be Ed Sheeran). Also, don’t forget to ask for references from their past roommates or landlords to learn about their timeliness for paying rent, cleanliness and relationships with the household. Even though their Facebook profile may look decent and they sound lovely online, references should play the most important part in making your final decision.
4. Meet them in person
Once you’ve shortlisted potential candidates, the next step is to meet them in person. You can either invite them to your accommodation and show them the surroundings or arrange to meet somewhere in the town. Either way, make sure to have a friend or family member go with you – this is for your own security and twofold experience. Beware of red flags – if the way a person speaks or behaves gives you bad vibes and you feel something “off” about them, seriously rethink your decision.
5. Agree on the house rules
Before you move in with your roommate, make sure that you speak the same language – define what the words “clean” and “quiet” mean to them. Some people may see “clean” as not leaving pizza boxes on the sofa, while you see it as wiping the surfaces and mopping the floors.
Having a chore chart is very handy for every household – agree how often you are going to clean and who is responsible for what. You can switch every week and take turns in cleaning the kitchen, the bathroom, etc.
Another thing is to agree on privacy, sleeping times and sleepovers:
Privacy – respect each others’ private space and agree how much of it can be shared.
Sleeping times – it is advisable to set “quiet hours” because there’s nothing more important than having a good night’s sleep. You may have different opinions about noise, lights and sleeping hours, so make sure to discuss it all and find compromise.
Sleepovers – it is common for roommates to have overnight guests, and if you are not OK with that, you should be specific about it beforehand. Otherwise, agree on how often you can have guests over and how soon you should be notified.
6. Discuss costs and lease terms
Whenever you agree on lease terms, utility prices and other expenses, make sure to document everything in writing. This is a very important step and I cannot stress this enough – keeping the record of it will help to solve the problems that may arise in the future. As for rent, the common practice is that everyone is splitting it in half and the landlord takes the security deposit from each tenant personally. Utility bills are usually part of the rent if not stated otherwise. If utilities are the tenants’ responsibility, you have to decide with your roommate how are going to divide the bills and who is responsible for paying it.
You should also agree on household expenses: cleaning and washing supplies, toilet paper, and so on. Make a list for the things that you need for a week ahead, calculate the expenses and divide the costs. Another tip is to chip in a fiver each month to buy the necessary supplies.
7. Ask only one question
If someone asked you “Would you rather be a lion or an antelope?”, what would be your choice? This is the only question that Jon Ronson, the author of The Psychopath Test, recommends asking to find out whether a person would be perfect roomie or a complete psycho. He explains that the point of this question is to get a person talking about how they see the world and perceive things. Psychopaths tend to “view everything in terms of predator and prey” so if a potential roommate chooses a lion so that he could destroy things, watch out for this one! It is a simple question but the answers can be very surprising and insightful.
So here you go – these are the tips we recommend to make your roommate search a little bit easier. The most important thing is to be honest with yourself and with your roommate upfront. If you ever experience any problems with your roommate – be open about it! Share your concerns as they arise and don’t be afraid to ask questions – it will help foster an honest relationship and make the flat a nice place to live in. If you need any help finding a room just get in touch and the team at Best Student Halls will always be here to help.