Finding a Roommate

Written by Posted On Monday, 02 July 2018 09:07

The cost of living is a big concern today, especially as it continues to surge in major metro areas like Atlanta, Denver, and Seattle. If the rent on your house or apartment is going up, you have a few options. One is to move out of the city, but that’s not a great solution if you have a good job in the city and don’t want to deal with a big commute. Another option is to find a roommate. If the cost of a one-bedroom in your city is $1,500, but the cost of a two-bedroom is $2,000, then getting a roommate is an easy way to save at least $500 a month, and may be more than that once you factor in splitting the bills. It comes with some adjustments to the way you live, but those can all be worth it if you find the right roommate.

Don’t Hesitate to Be Honest

Living with a friend can be a quick way to ruin a relationship, so it’s understandable if you don’t want to go down that route. However, you can still ask your friends if they know of anyone looking for a roomie. Finding a trustworthy person to live with is the most vital part of this whole process, and you can’t afford to cut corners. Don’t just talk to a person once for 15 minutes and figure that’s enough. Doing so makes about as much sense as agreeing to marry someone you’ve been on two dates with: Sometimes it works out, but it’s more probable that such a marriage is going to end in a quick divorce. If you talk to someone on the phone for a few minutes and they seem easy to get along with, go out for coffee or drinks with them at least once before you sign a lease together. If you’re able, you should take at least a couple of weeks to get to know this person before signing a lease with them. A month or two is better, but that’s often unrealistic if you live in a market where getting a house or apartment requires you to act fast.

Don’t try to “be nice” and agree with them about everything just because you’re afraid of conflict. That’s not going to work in the long run. Let’s call your prospective roommate Joey. If Joey says they like to go to bed at 9 p.m. because their job requires them to get up at 4 a.m., don’t pretend you also like to go to bed early, when you have a swing shift job that means you sleep until noon and work until midnight five days a week. Working opposite schedules isn’t, by itself, a deal breaker. However, it does mean that one roommate can’t play video games at maximum volume in the living room, while the other person is trying to sleep.

Check Their Background

Doing a background check on a prospective roommate can make you feel like you’re being paranoid, but in most cases, it makes sense. If you’re moving in with a friend you’ve known since junior high, you can trust that they don’t have any felony convictions lurking in their past. However, what if you’re renting a house with a friend-of-a-friend? In that case, it’s a wise to run a background check through a service like Golookup. It’s true that not everyone is out to get you, but it’s also true that not everyone is going to be your friend, or even a decent housemate.

Landlords ask for references, and that means it’s OK for you to do that, as well. Even if you have a friend who works with your prospective roommate, it’s more than OK to ask for the name of another person or two who can vouch for them. Be upfront about the process, and invite them to talk to your references or run a background check on you, as well. If this person reacts to the idea of you asking questions about their past, that’s a definite red flag. It may feel awkward to back out, but it’s much better to say, “I’m sorry, but I don’t think this is going to work” before signing a year-long lease together.

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James Stevenson

Hi, My name is James and I've been involved in the property and real estate industry for 10 years now. I hope people will like to read about my thoughts and experiences in the industry and please contact me if you want to discuss my articles further!

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