Read these 21 Roommate Online 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.
Anytime you invite a stranger into your home to become your new roommate, it makes sense to exercise a little caution when it comes to protection your valuables, and yourself! For example, your sensibilities might say…hey, I don't care if my roommate is male or female, even though you're a tiny female woman with no self-defence skills whatsoever. It could happen. There's no reason to fear everyone you meet, but it's important to be cautious and use common sense when inviting someone to actually live with you. The reality is, even if your work schedules will prevent you from actually seeing this person on a regular basis, this person is going to be sleeping under the same roof as you are.
The best way to protect yourself is to require that potential roommates present a completed and official criminal record check. People can request them (sometimes for a fee) from their local police department. Don't be satisfied with the fact that the potential roommate has a copy of one in his or her hand, actually make a copy and read it through before making your decision. Once you've accepted someone into your apartment as a new roommate, you can protect your valuables by keeping them in a small safe. If you don't want to seem obvious or rude, just keep the safe in your bedroom. It will give you piece of mind.
If you don't have unlimited access to a computer, your roommate search needn't be relegated solely to the Internet. Do it the old fashioned way: print ads in local newspapers, put flyers up on community bulletin boards, or even stick flyers to telephone poles around the neighborhood. You may be surprised at all the responses you receive!
A roommate search doesn't have to cost you money. There is a plethora of free search material on the Internet. Some sites may let you search for free, but require you to sign up to view contact information. Other sites don't require sign up at all. Take a look at both free and pay sites to discover which type is most beneficial for your roommate search needs.
A roommate search can feel like a major chore. However, you can make it more fun and productive by thinking of it as finding a friend. Look at your potential housemates as potential buddies. Try seeking someone with whom you have something in common or might want to hang out with outside the home. Be careful not to look for a romantic connection. Romance and roommates can be a volatile combination! However, a roommate with whom you truly enjoy living can vastly improve your quality of life.
Be polite when conducting your roommate search. Avoid being rude when turning a prospective roommate down. Once you've chosen a roommate, it's polite to notify all other applicants as quickly as possible so they continue to search for their roommate match. Try to make your decision in a timely manner. If you wait too long, your candidates may move on in search of other possibilities.
Looking for a roommate isn't always fun, but in the end, it's worth your time and effort. To help your roommate search along, try to narrow down what you're looking for as much as possible. Make a list of specific characteristics and wants vs/ needs. Knowing what type of person, what type of housing, and the best area for you can be key to an efficient search.
When searching for a roommate, one important thing to do is know whom you want to find. Think about your personality, schedule, and habits. Also consider pets and whether or not you can live with them. Be sure that the person who may be living with you will compliment your way of life, rather than disrupt it.
When it comes to selecting a roommate, be careful to find a dependable contributor. Financial issues aren't fun to talk about, but are important when the rent is due. Don't be afraid to ask serious roommate candidates for references and proof of employment.
If you're uncomfortable asking about financial issues, here are some tips to help you open the lines of communication:
1). Clearly state when rent is due and set guidelines. For example, "Rent is due on the first of every month and I like to mail checks one week before. Will that be a problem for your pay schedule?"
2). "I would like to call references, if that's ok with you. Would you mind if I call you current employer?"
3). Before the interview, make a list of the monthly bills and what each person would pay. Be upfront with your candidate about the bills and show him/her the budget. Then ask, "This is a breakdown of the monthly bills and payment due dates. Does it seem reasonable to you?"
Everyone has different ideas about what's appropriate, and we don't always remember to share them. For instance, you may find the perfect roommate, and a few months later, she's moved her boyfriend in without asking! Three's a crowd in a tiny apartment, so be very specific about what sort of living arrangements you are comfortable with. Discuss these things openly, from the very beginning, to avoid sticky roommate situations later on.
Here are some talking point suggestions:
1). Be very clear on your schedule. If you're an early-riser and are required to be at work at an early hour, make sure your candidate knows your schedule.
2). Talk about their personal lives. Living together is a personal thing and can create a very close relationship, so be honest. If your boyfriend or best friend is over all time, tell your candidate and get their reaction. Then have an open dialogue conversation about their friends.
3). If you're a homebody, entertaining the idea of a party animal as a roommate might not suit your personality. Find out up front what your candidate likes to do in their spare time.
If you don't know how to begin your roommate search, start on the Internet. Finding a roommate via the World Wide Web can be the best way to go. There are many websites that allow you to post ads, read listings, and even access discussion forums about roommates. You can find real estate, rooms for rent, and potential roommates, without even leaving your room. You can make your criteria known and connect with people in virtually any location.
Word of caution: Like all Internet chat rooms and message boards, be careful about posting personal information.
We all have different standards of living. Some people are clean, but disorganized; some are neat and tidy; and some will leave piles of dishes in the sink and candy wrappers on the floor. Even if you are living in a large space, be sure to consider and discuss these things with each potential roommate. If you are messy, let them know. If you want a meticulous cleaner, be sure to mention it. This short discussion will lead to a much more harmonious roommate relationship!
You've done the roommate search and now a new roommate is about to move in. Are you nervous? Want to make a good impression? Are you concerned about getting along with the new roommate? The best way to quell your fears and anxieties is by taking the lead in welcoming your new roommate to your home, apartment, or condo. Definitely give them the grand tour of the place (even if you already did that when you met with them in the initial interview), but consider going a little further with your welcome plan. Your new roommate might be from a different town, state, or even country! Plan to spend some time doing a tour of your favourite neighborhood haunts. Where do you love to eat? Where are the best night clubs? Do you have any safety tips to offer your new roommate in regards to their new geographical surroundings? As a local, you should be able to offer a variety of tips and tricks to make your new roommate feel welcomed, at ease, and safer. Even if your roommate is from the same city, he or she might not be familiar with the neighbourhood. He or she might not feel they need a physical tour of their new surroundings, but you could still offer some tips on the best places to eat, get takeout, see movies, theatre, or do personal business like banking.
Welcoming a new roommate can be as much or as little as you want. The more comfortable you can make your new roommate feel, the better it's going to be for both of you.
If you're holding down a full-time job and are worried about attracting a roommate who is too young, immature, or unemployed, consider carefully the wording you use in your online roommate match profile. People sometimes are afraid to give out too much information to the exclusion of things that really should be shared up front. As a working professional, you have different roommate requirements than someone in college or university would have. For one thing, the roommate has to be able to pay their share of the bills regularly. They also have to respect working schedules, allowing quiet time when the other roommate has to rest for work, etc.
So how do you go about attracting this type of roommate match without sounding discriminatory in your ad? There's nothing wrong with specifying that you need a roommate who is a working professional within a certain age group. You cannot specify sex, sexual orientation (unless you're advertising on a gay roommate matching site), ethnicity, religious affiliation, etc.
When you're looking for the perfect roommate, remember that you have to share not only your apartment or condo, but your lifestyle with this person. To avoid any conflicts down the road, be clear about the type of roommate you need, especially when it comes to looking for someone who is mature, and is gainfully employed.
If you're off to college or university for the first time, you might be a little concerned about your roommate match. Chances are, you were asked to complete a detailed questionnaire about your study, sleep, eating, and personal habits that affect how you interact with another person. A good match will bring fewer conflicts, enhance your study space, and add to the quality of your life on campus. A bad match will leave you stressed and unable to enjoy the college experience. But don't worry! There are things you can do to protect your interests without resorting to anything drastic.
A lot of colleges require you and your roommate to draw up a signed contract that defines what you expect from each other in terms of guests, personal property, cleanliness, study habits, sleep habits, smoking, drinking, personal space, shared costs, etc. Students are then required to make a copy for each other (to be posted where it's visible within the dorm room) and a copy submitted to the person in charge of the dorm.
If conflict do arise between you and your roommate, you can remind the roommate of the signed contract, try to work out a compromise with your roommate, or get a mediator (someone hired within the college or university to be an objective third-party) to help come up with a productive solution. Remember, giving your roommate a little slack now and then might come in handy when you need a break or a favour.
The landlord probably has insurance, but that only covers the building structure, not the personal belongings of you and your roommate. You and your roommate should take an inventory of all of your personal belongings (television, any electronic equipment including stereos, dvd players, etc.), your furniture, clothes, etc. Take a video camera and go through the apartment to get a snapshot of all that you and your roommate own. Keep the videotape in a safe place, preferably not in the apartment, so that you can access it to show the insurance company should a disaster happen.
If you and your roommate are considering getting apartment insurance, you should know that there are a variety of things that will impact the cost of your premiums including where you live, your deductible, your insurance company, and whether you need any additional coverage. If you don't already have apartment insurance, talk to your roommate about getting some.
Sometimes people move into an apartment under the impression that the landlord is at their beck and call for every little thing that goes wrong. It's true that the landlord has specific responsibilities, mostly related to your health and safety (smoke detectors, for example), however, the landlord isn't necessarily responsible for repairing damages to furniture, household appliances that belong to you, or damages to the apartment caused by tenant neglect. In the state of Michigan, tenants (you and your roommate) are required to pay the rent on time, keep the rental property safe and sanitary, notify the landlord right away if any maintenance problems occur (heating unit fails, leaking, plumbing problems, etc.), exterminate insects if they appear after you and your roommate have moved in, and leave the apartment in good condition when you and your roommate move out.
Keep in mind that responsibilities can be modified within rental agreements, but tenants do carry a fair amount of responsibility for their behavior and actions as they impact on their rental environment.
Just because you and your roommate have made a security deposit, doesn't mean you won't be charged for additional damages caused by neglect. Ultimately, an apartment is considered home to you and your roommate, but the property belongs to someone else, so treat it with care.
Now that you've got a new roommate, you've got to expect that he or she will have visitors every once in a while. The problem between roommates doesn't usually occur with the occasional visitation from a family member or friend, it usually escalates into a problem when it's a boyfriend or girlfriend who begins to stay overnight more and more frequently until, all of a sudden, they're just not going home.
You may not have a problem with that, and that's great! However, your landlord could have a serious issue with having a third party living in the apartment. With an extra roommate living on the premises, the landlord may have issues with insurance coverage, not to mention the fact that if you're housing a third person who isn't on the lease, you could find yourself facing eviction.
Defining when a visit becomes something more permanent is a bit difficult, but if your roommate's friend is leaving personal belongings and is staying overnight for up to a week at a time, on a regular basis, it might be time to have a conversation about it with your roommate. If you're on a month-to-month lease, there could be the possibility of having a new lease drawn up at the end of the month, taking into account the third roommate. On the other hand, the landlord may not be agreeable at all in which case your roommate is going to have to put a stop to the overnight visits.
Inevitably, moments are going to arise that are a bit awkward or tense, especially during the process of getting used to a new roommate. The trick is how you handle situations as they arise. Do you want your roommate to stick around a while, or do you want to drive them away? The following are two examples of situations that could arise and how you might handle them:
1) Roommate not doing his/her share of the housework.
If this starts to happen, rather than attacking the other person with complaints and demands, ask him or her how things are going. It could be that he or she has been working overtime, bringing work home, or are having other personal issues that have been keeping them preoccupied. There's no need to jump right into anger mode. Try to keep the topic light. By mentioning the fact that he or she has been too busy to pitch in with the housekeeping, your roommate might get the hint.
2) Loud Music
It's not that you don't like music, it's that you don't like your roommate blasting it at midnight when you have to get up to go to work or school the next day. Keep in mind that at night, when the television is off, none of the appliances are going, and the general hum of the day has quieted down, that music may seem a lot louder than it actually is. If it's a one-time occurrence, you might choose to stick in some ear plugs and ignore it. However, if it becomes a habit, you'll have to ask your roommate to keep the music down in the evenings. Suggest headphones for your roommate, or better yet, by him or her a pair!
Finding a roommate is easier when you know exactly what you want. One aspect to consider is your timeframe. Are you looking for a long term or short-term arrangement? Do you want a month-to-month lease or a two-year lease? You may be in the position to offer any timeframe, or you may find it necessary to work with the time constraints of another. Either way, knowing what you want is the key to finding the perfect rooommate match. If you're advertising for a roommate, make sure to state in the ad the duration of time you're seeking from a roommate.
During your roommate search, be sure to post ads, as well as search for them. There are many sites on which you can create a profile or ad, explaining what you are hoping to find. If you have limited space, make sure you highlight what's most important to you. For instance, if your main concern is that bills are paid on time, be sure to include that information in your ad.
Having a roommate is a great way to cut the costs of living. However, it should be clear, before you move in with someone, what your costs will be. Decide what's best for you before you start searching. Do you want to split the cost of groceries or fend for yourselves? Do you have extra household expenses, such as a cleaning service or satellite TV? Making these things clear to potential housemates will make your search more efficient and avoid future conflicts.
|Jennifer Mathes, Ph.D.|