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Roommate Matching Tips

Read these 24 Roommate Matching Tips tips to make your life smarter, better, faster and wiser. Each tip is approved by our Editors and created by expert writers so great we call them Gurus. LifeTips is the place to go when you need to know about Room Mates tips and hundreds of other topics.

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How should I choose a roommate?

Making the Right Choice

Whether you're sharing a studio or a large house, your roommate is an important part of your life. Before choosing a roommate, think about the type of relationship you will want with him or her. You may want a roommate who will be a friend. Perhaps you are hoping for someone who will walk the dog when you can't or be your wingman.

On the other hand, you may want someone who won't be around too often and does his or her own thing. Whatever the nature of your desired relationship, keep it in mind during your search so you'll get the results you want.

   
How can I find a roommate quickly?

Speedy Roommate Search

As you begin your quest to find a roommate, you may wonder how long it will take to find a good match. There's no easy answer, as finding the right roommate could take a couple or days or entire weeks. Give yourself some time to find the right roommate and avoid jumping at the first candidate that comes your way.

If you're in a hurry to find a roommate, don't be lazy about responding to inquiries and checking references. Remember, you have a big influence on the success of you search. Handle tasks in a timely manner.

   
What should I consider when dealing with multiple roommates?

Dealing with Multiples

When looking for or moving in with multiple roommates, there are many things to consider. If you are not already friends with your new roommates, discuss personal likes, dislikes, and boundaries. Another issue that should be discussed before moving in is the division of expenses. This can get sticky when there are more that two people involved. Decide how all household expenses will be divided, including groceries. It can be hard for four people to share one fridge, so make sure you have a game plan!

   
What if I dont fit the requirements of an ad for a roommate?

The Right Roommate Wanted

When you're looking for that perfect "roommate wanted" ad, you may feel as if you will never find it. Many of the ads you find may be full of requirements you don't fit. However, there are plenty of websites to help you find the right place and the right roommate. At roommate finder sites, you can search using your own criteria, to find the right roommate for you.

   
Where can I find roommate matching resources?

Be Specific

The Internet offers many resources for roommate matching. There are innumerable websites dedicated to matching you with your ideal roommate. Some roommate finder sites are free and some charge a small fee to users. Many sites provide extensive questionnaires for you to fill out, making it possible for your match to be as specific and close to your criteria as possible.

   
Will I ever find a roommate?

Don't Give Up

Feel like you'll never find a roommate? Don't give up! Often you can find one without even looking. Aside from your search, just be sociable. You'd be surprised at what can happen. If you're in school, talk to your classmates. If not, talk to anyone you meet and let them know you're in the market for a roommate. Before you know it, you'll meet a likeminded classmate or a friend of a friend who's also looking for a roommate.

   
Am I responsible to pay all of the rent if my roommate suddenly moves out?

New Roommates and Leases

Going through the process of roommate matching and the work involved to find a roommate, the last thing you want to think about is something going terribly wrong. However, you'd be wise to put that thought into your head before your new roommate moves in. Once your landlord has given the okay for a roommate to move in, he or she will likely revamp the rental agreement to include the new tenant. This will most likely involve an increase in rent, and possibly another security deposit to cover the new roommate. If the rental agreement states that you are jointly responsible for the rent, the other person must pay the balance if, for whatever reason, the other roommate can't. For that reason, it's really important to make sure your roommate is mature enough to handle the responsibility that comes with being a roommate.

Two of the most important things you'll encounter when searching for a roommate are the new lease agreement, and the maturity of the person who'll be sharing your bills. Hopefully, this situation will never happen to you, but in case it does, try to have at least one month's rent saved in your bank account. That way, if something happens, you'll be able to pay the rent and have a little time to find a new roommate.

   
How do roommates handle food and groceries?

Food and Roommates

Believe it or not, food is one of those things that can make or break a friendship, especially if you're constantly dipping into their stash of potato chips or drinking all of their milk. When you're looking for a roommate, food and groceries (specifically, how the groceries will be divided up) should be incorporated into your interview questions. It might not seem like a big issue, or something you can figure out later, but it's really a good idea to have a chat with your new roommate, or your potential roommate, on things like:

1) Does your new roommate have any serious or severe food allergies? If so, you may have to make some changes to your own diet, or be very careful to clean up the area after you've eaten.

2) In the beginning, you may want to allocate space in the refrigerator (your stuff on one shelf, for example, and your roommates stuff on the other) and space on shelves for your new roommate to store their groceries.

3) Now that you've got all of these groceries stored away, who is going to cook meals? Are you each going to look after your own meals or can an arrangement be made for cooking duties?

The more of these types of details you have nailed down before the roommate moves in, the less likely for conflict. After all, you don't want to have go back to roommate matching to find a roommate again !

   
How can I overcome the awkward phase of a new roommate moving in?

Overcoming The Awkward Phase

Finding roommates is the easy part, but learning to live in tandem with a stranger is much tougher. No matter how busy both of your lives are, you're going to cross paths sooner or later whether it's in the kitchen over breakfast or while getting ready for work. The degree and length of the awkward phase depends a lot on your personality. Do you make friends easily? Have no problem striking conversation? Or are you a loner by nature, shy, or more of an introvert by nature? If you're finding it difficult to break the ice after your new roommate moves in, try these tricks to ease the transition:

1) Show your true personality. Don't try to be someone you're not. If you do, it will come across as being artificial and stiff. If you were honest right up front, your new roommate should already have a good idea of what you're all about.

2) Recognize that your roommate might be feeling a little out of place while he/she becomes accustomed to the new environment and living situation. Invite the roommate to incorporate some of their personal artefacts (photographs, art, etc.) into the living area to make it feel more like home to him/her.

3) Don't let your new roommate hide in his/her bedroom on the evenings when you're both home. Ask him or her to invite a couple of friends over, and then invite some of your own friends for an evening getting to know each other. Play a board game, get out some wine and cheese, beer and pizza, or have a fondue party!

Just remember, it might be a little awkward when your new roommate first moves in, but it's probably worse for them while they familiarize themselves with their new surroundings.

   
Is an online gay roommate matching site a good place to find someone I could eventually have a relationship with?

Roommate or Relationship?

If you've got a room to rent and you're looking for a gay roommate, make sure to understand exactly what you're after. Are you looking for a gay roommate simply to hang out with someone who shares the same sexual orientation? Or are you ultimately looking for a relationship? It might take a little soul-searching, but it's important to be honest with your self. There's nothing wrong with searching for a partner, but if that's really what you're after, using an online dating service for that. That way, there's no confusion about the type of relationship you're looking for.

If, however, you just want a gay roommate to share your living space and help pay the rent, there are some great gay roommate matching sites geared specifically for you. They work the same as any other find-a-roommate website and include the ability to meet and chat online in a public forum, post roommate wanted ads, and respond to the matches you choose to accept. One of the main advantages of using a gay roommate matching service is that you don't have to feel as if you're discriminating in any way. There's no need to specify “gay roommate” because it's already implied in your use of the website.

The important thing, no matter which type of site you choose, is to be honest with yourself and your prospective roommate about the type of relationship (if any) you're ultimately looking for.

   
What type of roommate matching method should I choose?

Matching A Roommate Search To Meet Your Needs

The amount of time, effort, and money you put into finding a roommate has a lot to do with your needs. There are a number of different scenarios you could find yourself in, some of them listed below. The following are a few common situations, with suggestions on ways to go about advertising for roommates:

Situation #1

Retired, single, looking for someone to share the bills and some of the household responsibilities. This person may need someone capable of doing some basic fix-ups around the house, helping with light housekeeping, etc.

Roommate Matching Suggestion:

Consider registering with a site that offers more than just a Roommate Wanted posting. With many fee-based sites, you can fill out a detailed questionnaire to really hone in on the type of roommate you're looking for.

Situation #2

Recently divorced, widowed, or separated. This person might have a room to rent simply to help pay the bills. He/she might not be looking for a friendship per se, but needs someone they can trust in their living space to help with the rent or mortgage payment.

Roommate Matching Suggestion

If time is an issue and you need a roommate as soon as possible, consider using a variety of methods including posting old-fashioned newspaper ads, along with using an online roommate matching site.

Visit a free online roommate matching site and post your ad. You'll have to weed through the responses, and make your own decisions on who you want to interview.

Whether you're a student, widow, retired single, or single working professional, how you find a roommate is essentially up to you. If you're too busy to do some of the background work (references, etc.), find a matching site that does it for you!

   
What's the difference between an online roommate matching site that you pay for and one you don't?

Free Or Fee - Making A Match

Everyone loves to get something free, and online roommate matching is no different. There are many ways to find a roommate, and many online sites to advertise a roommate wanted. Of course, like any savvy consumer, you have to wonder if “free” really means “free.” In some cases, an online matching site to find roommates is completely free, others offer a free basic service up front and then charge for additional services, and some offer a small fee (usually around $20) for a whole range of services including things like:

1) A detailed questionnaire to help you not only find a roommate, but a kindred spirit you could develop a friendship with.

2) Authorization to request credit checks.

3) Will do a background reference check for you.

The roommate services that offer a basic membership with the option of upgrading to a paid membership, allow you to post a free ad on their website, but as soon as you get a match, you need to pay a small fee to contact that person.

And finally, there's the completely free online roommate matching sites. Think of them like a world-wide bulletin board where you can post your ad for free, and anyone in the world (some welcome responses; some not) can respond. That's not to say you have to reply to every person who sends a response, but it's important to know that because it's completely free, you might be exposed to a greater risk of scams and/or people with weird intentions. Whichever method you choose, just keep a clear head and use your best judgement.

   
Is it hard to use an online roommate matching site?

Online Roommate Matching Sites - So Easy!

If you decide to investigate various roommate matching services, you'll probably be surprised at the number of them out there. Finding roommates can be as simple and inexpensive as you want it to be. In fact, you can post a virtual roommate wanted classified at any number of free online roommate matching websites. Some sites allow you to register for a basic membership for free, but charge a registration fee to access more advanced services. Then there are online roommate matching sites that are completely free of charge. It's not difficult to use, and it'll get you started on your roommate search. Just remember, when you want to find a roommate online, you'll be required to post contact information that anyone in the world will be able to see and access. Rather than entering your complete mailing address, narrow it down to something like East London, or West Ontario, to give people a rough idea of where you're located. Once you speak with the person on the phone, or through email, you can decide then if you want to continue the roommate matching process and actually meet this person. Naturally, you'll have to give them your address at that point.

Sometimes people create a new hotmail account or email account just to handle roommate matching responses. Using your work email is a bad idea, and your home email might be bogged down with the number of responses you get. It really depends on the amount of space you have on your email account.

Just remember, there are a lot of people looking for a place to live. Who you take on as a roommate is completely up to you. Using a free online roommate matching service just takes a few clicks of the mouse, a little patience, and some common sense.

   
What should I consider before placing a roommate wanted ad?

Things To Think About Before Placing A Roommate Wanted Ad

If you've never had roommates before, there are a lot of things to take into consideration. Sometimes inviting your best friend to become your roommate isn't such a great idea. Your friend may be the life of every party, but as a live-in, he may not be so funny. When you're sharing a living space with someone, their faults become obvious all too quickly and if that person happens to be a best friend, you could risk damaging your friendship in the long haul.

So, when it's time to look for roommates, ask yourself a few things before placing a roommate wanted ad:

1) Do I want someone who is in early riser or someone who stays up until the wee hours of the morning?

2) Will I mind if this person works odd hours and shifts?

3) Will I be able to handle lots of visits from this person's friends and family?

4) How am I going to set boundaries on privacy?

It's not that it's hard to find a roommate, it's that it's hard to find someone to share your living space. The nicest person in the world, might not be a good fit for the simple fact that they never pick up after themselves. Nice people can also be slobs! If that doesn't bother you, maybe something else will. That's why when it comes time to find a roommate, really ask the questions you need answered before the person moves in.

   

The Benefits of Multiple Roommates

Roommates.com Tip: If you're looking for multiple roomates, post a query with a roommate finding service and be open to suggestions from potential roommate applicants. Your future roommate might know someone else who is looking for a new living situation.

   

Be Specific

Roommates.com Tip: If you choose to complete a questionnaire or profile, be very specific. Doing so will heighten your chances of having a successful roommate matching experience.

   
What is the best way to find a roommate?

No Single Approach

Finding a roommate may be easier if you are flexible in your approach. Place and respond to "roommate wanted" ads and submit profiles to roommate finder services. There's no single approach that is guaranteed to help you find a roommate quickly. Use multiple resources for the best results.

   
Should I choose a gay roommate?

New Territory

Do you have questions about having a gay roommate? Don't be shy about getting answers. If you're not sure about having a roommate of a different sexual orientation, do a little research. There are a lot of good resources to help you out on the Internet, and many roommate finder services have live client specialists available to answer any questions.

   
How can I make my roommate matching tasks easier?

Make a List

Roommate matching can be quite a task, but is an integral part of creating a happy living arrangement. To get started, you should make a list of characteristics and criteria you want in a roommate. For instance, you might include such things as cleanliness and a full-time job. Make another list of things you definitely do not want, such as pets or smoking in the house. Tailor your list completely to your preferences. Remember, the longer your list, the more targeted you can make your search.

   
How can I get to know a new roommate?

Get Out and Have Fun

Having a new roommate means living with someone you may not know well. Getting to know your new roommate can be fun, especially when one or both of you is new to the area. Check out local spots, bars, restaurants, and cultural events together. There are so many great ways to get to know a new person and a new city at the same time.

   
How can I streamline my roommate search?

Find the Ideal Roommate

There are many ways to find a roommate. A good tip is to really have a good idea of what you want. Narrow down your search criteria. Do you want a male, female, or either? Do you want a smoker or non-smoker? Student or professional? These are just a few basics to consider.

Decide what traits are important to you, and work from there. Once you know what you want in a roommate, you can start searching the Internet, and posting ads that express your needs.

   
How can I find a gay roommate?

Alternative Lifestyles

Finding a gay roommate doesn't have to be a challenge, even if you're not exactly part of a plentiful demographic. There are tons of websites dedicated to finding and matching gay roommates, in any part of the country. In addition to specifically gay sites, most roommate search sites offer the option to search for gay roommates. Don't forget to check out community resources, too!

   
Are there benefits to having more than one roommate?

The Benefits of Multiple Roommates

Having multiple roommates can be a wonderful way to get acquainted with a new city. Through roommates, you have an automatic social circle to start with. If you're moving in with others who are new to the area, you have people with whom you can share your new experiences. Two heads are better than one, and three or four are even better!

   
What type of house rules should I consider when taking in a roommate?

House Rules For Roommates

The boundaries and expectations you have from a roommate really shouldn't be any different whether your roommates are male, female, or of any specific ethnic background. Just make sure you're clear about your expectations right from the start, from the minute the person steps through the door for that first meeting. The "house rules" can include a number of things including:

1) No overnight guests without notifying the other person first;

2) Last person in at night is responsible for locking doors and turning off lights;

3) No "borrowing" personal items of the other person without asking;

4) No illegal drugs or illegal activity;

5) Divide and respect grocery items (don't eat all of the other person's food!);

6) Clean up after yourself, especially in shared spaces like bathrooms and kitchens.

7) Respecting property and furniture to keep it clean and free from damage.

These are just a few rules to consider when a roommate is moving in, but remember, they have to be clear and you have to follow them as well. It works both ways. Roommate matching isn't always easy, but life is much easier if the person knows and agrees upon the house rules before unpacking.

   
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Guru Spotlight
Sherril Steele-Carlin