Choosing the right roommate
Sharing your home with a roommate can be the best thing you ever did for your budget and schedule, and it is easy to find one by advertising in the classified section on a website like Kijiji. He or she may pay part of the rent or mortgage, split utilities, and possibly even help you keep the place neat and tidy. However, not all roommates are created equally. From clashing personalities to theft, some roommates can turn out to be a real nightmare. This is why it is essential to find one who is perfect for you and your lifestyle.
When interviewing potential roommates, it is important to get an idea of that person’s schedule. For example, do they like to stay up all night listening to loud music? This might not be so great if you like to be in bed by 10 pm. If you work from home, you may want to choose someone who works outside of the house so that you are not competing for phone lines, quiet time, or office space.
While schedules can be a big conflict of interest between roommates, cleanliness can be just as important. Unless you are planning to turn your life into a sitcom like “The Odd Couple,” you want someone who cleans up after themselves or who is okay with you leaving a few dishes in the sink because you tend to be a little bit more of a slob.
If your roommate is always late with the rent or asking you to borrow a few dollars, it can end up costing you more money than it saves. Ask any potential roommates about their work history. Do they have a good job and have they been there long or do they have a different job every few months? Get an idea of how financially responsible the person is before signing any contracts. Make sure the deposit you request will cover the rent in the event of an issue.
Discuss the Rules
Before inviting someone to live with you, make a list of rules about things like pets, smoking, alcohol, and guests. Find out if the potential roommate is comfortable with these rules or if the two of you can come to a compromise. For example, if he or she smokes, maybe you will allow it outdoors only. If the person has a dog, will you allow it to live with you if they pay a pet deposit?
The best way to find out about your new potential roommate is to talk to their former roommates and landlords. If the person is not willing to share reference information, consider that a red flag.
Get to Know Each Other
Finally, you need to make sure you get along with the roommate. Invite him or her out to lunch or dinner and spend a couple of hours together chatting about life beyond your living arrangement. If you do not feel that the person is someone you can get along with, it may be time to continue your search.