When you’re young, roommates can be a great way to make rent and other necessities more affordable. Think of it like businesses distributing overhead through managed services. It often isn’t simple to find roommates, unfortunately, and a bad choice can end up costing you more in the end. With that in mind, here are 10 tips that can help you make a better selection.
1. Take Advantage of Alumni Networks
When you’re attending college, finding roommates is relatively easy for most, but it becomes harder to find roommates when you graduate and take that first job. That’s why alumni networks can be an amazing resource because they can connect you with people in a similar position. Don’t forget fraternity and sorority alumni associations as well, which can often connect you throughout the country.
2. Advertise and Field Responses
Advertise and make prospective tenants come to you rather than you answering room wanted ads. How do you think property managers in West University Place search for tenants? Do they answer apartment wanted ads? No, of course not. A prospective roommate should want what you’re offering enough to take that step, and industry statistics indicate that the alternative results in a longer, more expensive and less effective process.
3. Meet Face to Face in a Public Place
Don’t determine your next roommate based on written communication or even over the phone. When you get to the point you’re interested, then schedule a time and place to meet in person. A local cafe for a nice cup of coffee or a flavored water in the afternoon is a great choice. Meeting in a public place helps ensure your safety and avoid stranger danger.
4. Approach Finding a Roommate Like a You Would a Love Interest
Take a page out of the book Match and other services use to match you with potential love interests. It may make you laugh at first, but the more you think about it, the more it makes sense that living with someone else requires a certain level of intimacy. You should strive for compatibility in terms of the kind of person you are in your career and also during your free time.
5. The Internet Is a Powerful Tool
Use the Internet to your advantage. Ask a person for their Facebook and Twitter account if you need to. See what kind of a person they choose to be online. It may tell you a lot, including throwing up red flags that you may just not want to deal with. Several angry partners on social media, for instance, may be the telltale sign of someone who gets involved in heated relationships.
6. Ask Questions About Employment
This can be a tricky one since it’s not a formal landlord-tenant relationship, but the bottom line is that you need to ensure that they can meet their responsibilities. You can be honest about it, or tell them it’s needed for the lease. As a general rule, you want income to be about 3.5 times the rent. So, if the rent is $1,500, and there are three roommates, each roommate should make at least $1,750 a month.
7. Conduct a Background Check
No property management company in West University Place would take on a tenant without first performing a background check, and neither should you. It may seem unusual to conduct background screening when trying to find roommates, but it can save you from evictions, a high turnover rate, people who are just a bad fit and people who participate in illegal and dangerous activities. You don’t have to screen everyone, just those you’re about to accept.
8. Be Honest About Who You Are
It’s often human nature to present ourselves in an idealized manner. This is particularly true when making a first impression. While that’s fine when making new friends or business acquaintances, it can work against you in a situation where that intimacy we mentioned earlier will be thrust upon you both.
9. Ask and Tell About Allergies and the Like
It’s also important to take about allergies, medical conditions and so forth. The goal here shouldn’t be to pry but to ensure that there aren’t some practical incompatibilities. Someone who requires a comfort dog, for instance, isn’t compatible with a person who’s allergic to dogs in general.
10. Sign a Roommate Agreement
Protect yourself by adhering to the approach property management companies take, such as requiring all adult tenants to be on the lease. Also, require any roommate to sign a roommate agreement. This document should define rules and expectations that apply to all tenants. If you find yourself in the unfortunate position of having to take a roommate to court, a signed agreement may provide the evidence you need to support your claim.