4 minutes by Valerie Mellema
Finding someone amicable, hygienic, and respectful to live with shouldn’t be so difficult! However, plenty of people out there struggle to find a roommate that checks all their boxes and who is compatible and enjoyable to be around. Here, we’ll help you explore some different methods to finding that perfect person to share your pad with.
Maybe you’ve got your first job out of college in a new city. Or, you might be just out of a relationship and looking for a platonic relationship to share space with while you get back on your emotional (and financial) feet. You might be simply deciding to get out of your parent’s basement and spread your wings. Whatever the situation, it’s important that you have all the information you need so you can make the best decision on who you’re going to be living with.
Living with a roommate—after you move out of your parents’ house and before you are in a committed relationship or marriage—is extremely common nowadays in our society. Over 80 million Americans (not even counting college students) live with at least one other adult who isn’t related to them or isn’t their romantic partner! We promise you are not alone in this search. Doing this helps keeps costs of living down and gives people someone to enjoy company with without the pressure of a relationship or strained family dynamics.
Of these 80 million Americans, only 1 in 2 roommates considered each other friends before moving in together. This means that the other 1 in 2 roommates were a mixture of "friends of friends," coworkers, and new acquaintances.
Although you might think that moving in with a friend is one of the best situations, that’s not always the case. In over a third of people surveyed (36%), people who lived with friends said they’d never do it again. About 25% said that it was even detrimental to the friendship. This could be for many reasons, some of which are living too close for comfort, realizing different values that the friends weren’t willing to compromise, or not having the communication skills to work through conflicts together.
In this article, we’ll explore living with friends and/or family, coworkers and/or peer students, and acquaintances and/or strangers as options for finding a roommate in 2022.
Living with Close Friends or Family
When you choose to live with people you already know and love, it might seem like the easiest choice. These people are used to you, know your quirks and habits, and you already enjoy spending time with them! Right? Sure, but there are other things to think about, too.
You need to think about what makes a good roommate for the long term. Do your schedules match up, or will you be constantly moving around while the other is trying to sleep? Do you both keep a tidy house, or is one person a neat freak and the other more laissez-faire? If one person is gluten-free, will that mean that the other can’t keep gluten food choices in the kitchen, or will you have to have different cooking utensils? How will you divide the utilities and household expenses?
These are all things to discuss beforehand to minimize the potential for conflict down the road. Even if you know each other well, there’s always more that will be learned!
Living with Co-workers or Friends of Friends
All the “issues” that might come up when choosing to live with friends or family members are also applicable in this situation; however, you and your new (potential) roommate obviously have less history together. This means that there are fewer things that “go without saying.” You’ll need to be cognizant of laying it all out on the table so that there aren’t any miscommunications.
If you think a colleague or mutual friend is a good potential living partner, ask them to grab coffee or lunch to discuss the option. Bring an outline or some ideas for what you want in a roommate or your ideal place to live. Talk together about some deal breakers for both of you, and see if you would be a good fit. Not every potential roommate has to be “the one,” either, so don’t feel bad if it’s not a good match! Better you move on to the next potential person than get stuck with someone you don’t really want to live with.
We also recommend trying a simple reference check to make sure you hear someone else's opinion too. EasyRef makes this simple and digital to get a verified response. It's fully digital and takes 30 seconds to send a request.
Living with Acquaintances or Strangers
There are a number of services out there to help you find a roommate. The age of the Internet has made it so easy! While some may cost money, we do recommend validating the person you plan to live with isn't scamming you and is a good fit for the year ahead.
- Diggz – This website allows you to search and list rooms for rent, but the coolest part is that you can create a profile and find others who match your living style! You can communicate with potential matches right on the website, and it only takes a few minutes to get your profile up and running.
- Craigslist – The first and foremost way to get your wants and needs out there! Craigslist is an oldy, but it’s a goody. Just list what you want and need, and tag your area, and it’s out there for the world to see! (In a good way, of course.)
- Silvernest – This website is full of helpful pieces to make your home-sharing journey a breeze. They offer templates for roommate agreements, a lease creator service, and expert tips for making your living arrangements positive. You can even interview people within the platform!
- Facebook Groups – What would we do without Facebook? It seems to be an essential part of our lives in many ways, and it can help you find a roommate, too. Facebook groups can help you find people you share commonalities with so that you know you’re living with someone who shares the same mindset and values.
Although there are so many services out there and this is quite normal, you want to make sure you’re staying safe throughout the whole process. Approach each interaction with caution. Ask for references from past roommates, make sure they pay bills on time, and check out social media accounts to get a sense if their job is legitimate.
Also, trust your instincts. They are there for a reason. Make sure to evaluate a potential roommate's communication style and your “gut feeling” when you meet the person. Once you’ve met for coffee or a walk around the park, ask if you can see each other’s place where you’re currently living to assess how your styles might mesh. Beyond keeping the place clean, it's important to feel comfortable in your house for the year ahead!
Don’t rush things, if at all possible. Living with someone is a big move, even if it’s not a romantic relationship. You’ll need to sign a lease, share utilities, and you’ll be opening up your life to someone! Make sure you have all the information you want and need before moving forward.
What to Do When You’ve Found Your New Roommate
Once you’ve found that perfect person to share your living space with, the first task is to agree on where to live and how much you can both afford to spend. Then you can apartment hunt together!
Once you find a place, have an honest discussion on the services you want and what you’ll need to split, such as cable, Internet, and other utilities. Come up with a plan on how you’ll pay bills and reimburse each other. WellPaid is a handy, useful service to keep track of bills and stay organized with who has paid what. Then, sign up for your services and start planning your move!
It’s always a good idea to have a roommate contract in which you state expectations for noise levels, guests, food sharing, etc. This keeps everyone on the same page and eliminates a lot of potential for disagreements later on down the road.