As of 2017, almost 79 million adults in the U.S. lived in a shared space with at least one roommate, and many for good reason, as there are plenty of benefits to renting or owning an apartment or home with others. It makes things more affordable, everyone chips in to take care of the home, and if you can room with your close friends, you’ll always have a built-in support system!
But, finding a good roommate isn’t always easy, especially if you’re new to a city or you’re trying to replace a roommate that was already great. What can you do to find, recruit, and keep a good roommate around? We’ve got a few tips for you, so you don’t get burned by rotten roommates.
Before you begin your roommate search, decide on the qualities you’re looking for in someone. That might make it sound like you’re getting into a relationship — but, in a way, you are. You’ll be living with this person, so it’s important that they line up with the things that are important to you. You might consider the following:
- How often are you comfortable with letting their friends/family come over?
- Do you want to form a friendship?
- How do you want to split costs?
- How much noise can you handle?
- Are you willing to split chores? –
Don’t be afraid to ask potential roommates these tough questions, and ask what their expectations are of you, in return.
Also, keep in mind that no one is perfect and a roommate might not answer all of these questions in the way you would prefer. But, asking yourself these things can at least give you a starting point to know what to look for (and what not to look for). From there, you can officially start your search online, or by posting ‘roommate wanted’ ads around your city.
One of the biggest benefits people find in having roommates is that it cuts down on utility bills since multiple people are sharing the costs. But, in some areas, electricity, water, the Internet, and heat can still cost quite a bit of money.
When you have a potential roommate who is interested in moving in, chances are you will make your space more enticing by touting low utility bills. In order to do that, you can make your living space more energy efficient. That, on its own, can be a big draw for some people. Plus, it’s easy to do with just a few simple changes, like:
- Installing LED lightbulbs
- Air sealing your home
- Regularly cleaning/replacing air filters
- Using a smart thermostat
The safety of a neighborhood and the individual home is often a major concern for people before they choose where to live. Potential roommates can (and likely will) do their own research on the neighborhood of your home. But, you can help them to feel more secure by installing a security system or a doorbell camera.
Even installing fake security cameras can help to deter thieves, and they are much cheaper than the real thing. Everyone should feel safe in their home, so take extra measures to make sure a potential roommate knows the place is secure.
If you have potential candidates for roommates, one of the best ways to get them interested in the offered space is to make sure it’s as clean as possible. While almost everyone can be found guilty of a little clutter here and there, no one wants to go into a living situation feeling as though they’re going to share their space with someone who is extremely messy.
Think about the things in your home that don’t often get cleaned, including:
- Ceiling fans
- Oven racks
By doing a deep clean before any roommate candidates come over, you’ll be showing off the home or apartment in the best light possible, and it will show those candidates that they won’t be living with someone who doesn’t clean up after themselves.
The outside of your rental unit is just as important as the inside. Most people think about “curb appeal” when they’re selling a home. But, having a great outdoor living space can be attractive to potential roommates, too.
So, take some time to focus on your landscaping if your property has a yard. Choose the right shrubs and trees for privacy, add some color with a flower garden, or grow your own food with a vegetable garden. You can even create a welcoming outdoor environment with a patio or deck, which can make any place feel more like home, especially during the summer months.
Finding a good roommate can be stressful, but it’s not impossible if you’re willing to make your living space appealing, and commit to being a good roommate, yourself! Keep these tips in mind as you search for a new roommate, and you’re bound to find the right person to live within no time.
Ainsley Lawrence is a freelance writer that lives in the Northwest region of the United States. She has a particular interest in covering topics related to good health, balanced life, and better living through technology. When not writing, her free time is spent reading and researching to learn more about her cultural and environmental surroundings. Find her on Twitter.