How to find a roommate that you actually like

Spend time interviewing candidates to avoid problems in the future.

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Your relationship with your roommate can make your home a dream or a nightmare, so it’s worth taking your time to create an ad and interview potential candidates. But resist the urge to skip checking references if you find someone you click with.

Skip ahead

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Create an online account
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Write a great advertisement
🧑🏻‍🤝‍🧑🏻
Meet potential roommates
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Check references

1. Create an account with a roommate advertising service

Sites like Roommates.com, Roomie and even Craigslist can help you find potential roommates.

Start by deciding which site you want to use, and then sign up for an account. You may need to specify if you have a room to rent out or if you’re looking for a room to rent.

Important
Be mindful of scammers and never accept money from someone you haven’t met. If you’re unsure of someone’s identity, contact the online provider.

To get responses from good roommates, you’ll want to put together a thorough ad.

1. Create an engaging headline

Keep your headline short and simple, giving information on the living situation and highlighting the property’s main benefit. For example, “Roommate wanted for 4-bedroom house downtown” provides information about the size and the main benefit, which is the location.

2. Identify what you’re looking for in a roommate

Your online ad is your first opportunity to clearly lay down the ground rules. So get it all out in the open.

Here, you can establish the values and norms of your household. For example, “We’re an anti-smoking household that respects one another’s privacy” or “We’re a bunch of working professionals that are hermits during the week and social butterflies on the weekend” both identify behavioral expectations for a future roommate.

If you have any preferences or criteria for a housemate, you should include these in the ad. Things you may want to include are gender, age, smoking status, spoken language/s, whether or not they have pets, their employment status and whether children or dependents are welcome.

3. Describe the property

You should provide an accurate and detailed description of your property. Include:

  • The address
  • Nearby restaurants, transportation, parks and other highlights
  • Property type
  • How many people live in the home
  • Home features, such as if the home has air conditioning, a fitness area, a deck or a backyard
  • What parking options are available
  • Whether or not the home and/or room are furnished
  • Anything unique or attractive about the home, like if it’s in a convenient location or historic neighborhood

5. Describe the available room/space

Offering a description of the available rental room is a crucial step in completing your profile. You should cover the following:

  • Bedroom size and included furniture
  • Bedroom features
  • Whether it has a private or shared bathroom
  • The availability period of the room

6. Describe the current occupants

Provide a description of the current occupants of the property and include information about how you and any other occupants use the property. This can help eliminate people who don’t have similar interests or needs as you.

7. List rent and fees

List what the monthly rent is, along with a security deposit if there is one.

In addition, list ongoing bills such as Internet, cleaning expenses, water, electricity and gas and clarify how they’re split up among roommates.

8. Upload photos

Upload photos of the property from the outside, all of the common spaces and the room that’s available for rent. Make sure that the photos are high quality and accurately reflect the condition and nature of the property.

Important
Remember to update and deactivate your profile if you find a roommate or if your situation changes.

3. Meet potential candidates

Once you’ve uploaded your ad, you’ll start receiving messages or requests from potential roommates. Start by getting to know them online. If someone seems like a good fit, invite them to the home or to a public place to meet in person.

When you meet potential candidates, take time to observe their body language, mannerisms and general attitude to see whether this is someone you’d like to live with.

Finding a good fit

Go over ground rules and expectations for the home early on so you can weed out candidates that won’t be a good fit. Ask open-ended questions about their lifestyle to find out how they’ll fit in the home. Ask about their:

  • Personality type. Are they an introvert or extrovert? If you’re someone who prefers lots of quiet alone time, you may do best with a roommate who is also an introvert.
  • Alcohol consumption. How often do they drink, and how much? Are you looking for a roommate to party with, or would you prefer someone who is pretty tame on the weekdays?
  • Sleeping schedule. Find out when they usually go to bed and get up, and what their morning routine looks like. You don’t have to be identical, but if one of you is banging around making breakfast and cleaning the house while the other is sleeping, it could lead to problems.
  • Cleanliness. Look for someone who has similar expectations for how clean they like their home.
  • Privacy and boundaries. Are you allowed in each other’s bedrooms? Will food in the kitchen be shared or kept separate? Are you looking for a roommate who can be your new best friend, or would you prefer to keep things professional?

4. Check references

Once you’ve met several candidates and narrowed them down to a few, it’s vital that you check their references to confirm their identity and the type of person they are.

Make sure you request references from previous roommates, landlords or property managers, or even previous employers to gauge the type of person you could be living with.

You want to know that these people can vouch for the applicant’s likability, responsibility and ability to maintain and function within a household.

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Bottom line

Finding a new roommate is an important decision that involves some groundwork, but if take time to write a good ad, interview candidates and check references, you can find someone who fits in your home. And to minimize the chance of a broken appliance or stolen laptop leading to problems in the future, require that any new roommates take out renters insurance before they move in.

Frequently asked questions about choosing roommates

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