Whether you are starting a new school year, moving to a new apartment, or embarking on a new adventure across the country, finding roommates that fit your personality and lifestyle can be a tall order. How can you find a set of people to share your house with that you will remain compatible with?
Think long term. If you find yourself at the end of your lease with nowhere to go, its easy to work yourself into a panic, overlook red flags and move in without thinking it through. This could turn out fine – or, it could result in a disaster. If possible, start looking for a roommate about 2 months before you will actually need one. This should give you time to meet up with several possibilities, and think through the options carefully. If you have to find a new place on very short notice, consider subletting a place or a room until you have found a living arrangement that you feel comfortable with in the long term rather than signing a lease with someone less than ideal.
Know your own habits, and what you will put up with. As nice as it would be to live with someone who will clean up after you, if your room mate is a clean freak and you are a slob, it is not going to work out for either of you. Try to find someone with a lifestyle and preferences that match yours. If you prefer to stay at home, have alone time, and like the quiet, a party animal room mate or someone who is always entertaining is likely not going to be a good match.
Don’t overlook red flags. If all you want is a quiet place to read when you get home, and they keep talking about loving to jam on their drum kit, or watch tv all evening, you probably won’t be a good fit. If they have a history of unpaid debts don’t just assume they will pay you the rent on time. Don’t panic that you won’t find someone and settle for someone you will have friction with later.
Be honest. Are you a very light sleeper? Are you always coming and going late at night? Does having meat in your fridge offend you? Do you love having parties at home? Be up front with your lifestyle so that both of you can make an informed decision on whether the fit is right.
Do a background check. Verify that their job is what they say it is, talk to former roommates, and do a credit check. Add them on social media if you can. People might display very different parts of their personality in an interview setting than they do on social media.
Make sure the space works for the arrangement. As cool as lofts are, a loft without defined bedrooms might not work so well when sharing with roommates, especially if they are loud. If you end up with the tiny bedroom and no space of your own, will that work with how you like to spend your time? Who should get that better bedroom, anyway? Will they pay increased rent?
Have you ever had a roommate that was not a good fit? Share your stories in the comments, or, find a new roommate on Kijiji!