Whether you are looking to offset rental costs or simply seeking a friend to spend time with, getting a roommate can be a great option to avoid living alone. Of course, in order to make sure you end up with a roommate success story rather than a horror story, it is crucial to screen potential candidates before committing to a living arrangement. Here are a few helpful topics to consider.
1. Paying Rent on Time
Failing to pay rent or making late payments is one of the top causes of tension between roommates. Whenever you are entering into a shared financial situation with someone, it is best to establish clear guidelines for payment amounts and schedules. One way of determining a roommate’s financial stability is to ask if he or she currently has a job. If you feel comfortable doing so, you could even ask for proof of employment. If he is unemployed or has frequently changed jobs, beware that this could be a sign of trouble ahead.
2. Coordinating Daily Schedules
Even though you may think that your roommate’s daily activities will not affect you, in reality, having a coordinated daily schedule is an important part of living with another person. For example, if she works nights and sleeps in the day, this means you will have to keep your noise-level to a minimum, even during daytime. In general, try to ask questions to get a sense of what an average week is like in your roommate’s life. What are his or her work hours? Does she do other activities? Will friends be coming over regularly? Does he like to cook elaborate meals often? These are all things that may become relevant later down the road as you share your space with someone.
Since your new roommate will be occupying the same living area as you, you want to ensure that you are staying with a safe and trustworthy person. Once you have narrowed down your search to a few candidates, log on to an online people search service to find criminal records, sex offender status, social media accounts, and more. If someone has a history of theft or other criminal activity, you definitely want to find out ahead of time and not after it is too late.
4. Utility Usage
Do you like rooms hot or cold? Would you rather bundle up in the winter or turn up the heat? You and your roommate do not want to be engaged in a permanent battle over the thermostat or the utility bill, so it is best to discuss heating and cooling arrangements ahead of time. Also, be sure to discuss electric consumption and water usage habits.
This last point may seem obvious, but it is too essential to leave out of the list. Make sure you and your roommate have similar standards of cleanliness. This involves everything from running the dishwasher, to leaving dirty clothes lying around, to dusting regularly. People have varying standards of acceptable cleanliness, and compatible roommates should ideally have their standards mesh.
All too often, people immediately move in with their friend, and the situation ends up going south. There is more to successfully living with someone than having a good friendship, and asking the right questions beforehand can highlight any possible bumps in the road before you hit them.