If you’re having trouble balancing rent costs with everyday necessities like food, clothing and gas, taking on a roommate can be an effective way to ease your financial burden. It’s important to note, however, that not all roomies are equally obliging. Failure to properly vet prospective roommates can result in you getting stuck with someone who’s relentlessly noisy, financially irresponsible, consistently inconsiderate or any combination thereof. To ensure that you don’t wind up with a dud, keep an eye out for the following qualities when interviewing potential roomies.
Has Consistent Income
The absolute last thing you want is a roommate without a job. No matter how charming someone seems in person, they’re unlikely to be timely or consistent with their rent payments in the absence of regular income. Additionally, the job this person has should pay enough to comfortably cover his or her half of the rent. If a prospective roomie claims that they’re not currently employed but will soon be starting a job, ask to see concrete proof of this. Similarly, if someone is unemployed but claims to have substantial savings, you’re fully justified in asking for proof. Since the primary goal of finding a roommate is offsetting rent costs, financial uncertainty is not a desirable quality for applicants to possess.
When searching for rental properties, have a look at each building’s policy on roommates. This will provide you with a solid understanding of what actions to take if your roomie turns out to be a flake.
One can never be too careful when searching for a roommate. Even people who seem perfectly nice and normal when you first meet them are liable to do a complete 180 once they’ve moved in. If you’re considering rooming with someone you don’t know well or don’t know at all, ask to speak with previous roommates, employers or landlords who can vouch for their character. You’re always taking a risk when placing your trust in a roommate, but speaking to people who have worked and lived with this person can help you make an informed decision.
Has a Personality That’s Compatible with Your Own
Even though you’re looking for a roommate, not a best friend, the person you choose to live with should have a personality that’s compatible with your own. Having similar demeanors, common interests and a shared consideration for each other’s feelings can make cohabitating with a roommate so much easier. You don’t necessarily have to be close friends with your roomie, but being able to get along with one another long-term is a definite plus.
Living with a roommate can be a great way to save money and prevent rent costs from becoming unmanageable. However, this isn’t to say you should simply welcome the first person to come along with open arms. When searching for the right roommate, it pays to be discerning and do your homework. By limiting your choices to people who meet the previously discussed criteria, you can increase your chances of landing someone who’s reliable, responsible and easy to live with.