A Short Guide for Students to Picking the Best Roommate

Worst case scenario, you could always live out in the woods for free.
June 23, 2019
7 mins read

Being a young adult, and especially a college student, it’s almost inevitable that you’ll have to find roommates and share a living space. What at first seems like a new and exciting opportunity to meet new people can quickly become a strenuous, awkward and even unsuccessful venture.

Not only is being slapped in the face with the reality of adulthood difficult enough, but finding a roommate for your own place isn’t as easy as the automatic roommate assignment you were given by your college your freshman year. Of course, sometimes those people were less than ideal too, but there was no sense of financial responsibility to make them a necessity yet, and in the worst case scenario, there was always the option to swap with someone.

Fast forward to living off campus and finding whatever kind of living situation makes the most sense for you. Talking about a lease or even sub-letting implies some sort of commitment, which for some, can be intimidating to the point of terror. Having concerns of whether your future roommate could be messy, a kleptomaniac or unwilling to chip in for their portion of the rent and bills are natural reactions to horror stories passed on by so many.

Thankfully, finding someone to live with has never been easier, which might reassure you that the odds of finding a good one is possible. The following three steps result in seamless efficiency and comfort in finding the best fit in a roommate for you.

1. Use Apps, Websites and Social Media

The one benefit of having to find a roommate is that there is always an abundance of people who are in the same situation. Whether you’re looking for a place to live or for someone to live with, there are plenty of options.

One of the best apps for finding a roommate is Roomi. Downloading an app straight to your phone with the option of push notifications makes finding someone super easy and accessible, especially when you’re in a time crunch. Not only that, but you’re able to see photographs of people, set your personal preferences and confirm background checks, which of course, are vital for safety reasons. Another great option is Diggz roommate finder, a free service that connects between like-minded prospective roommates with similar lifestyles and preferences, leveraging a proprietary matching algorithm.

A little bit more of an old-school option would be to post an ad on Craigslist. Although this better-known website might not be ideal in the sense that it has a lot of spam responses and very few safety verifications, there are definitely still people who use it to find people to live with.

If you’re still in college, another great way to find people is to post flyers around campus on your school’s bulletin boards. The benefit of sharing living space with another student is that they understand that schedules are constantly changing and consist of countless obligations. If both you and your roommate are students, living together also gives you both the opportunity to talk about and understand each other’s struggles and successes in school.

Before you advertise on social media or on campus though, use your own social circle to get the word out about your search. Friends and family are a great way to find someone compatible since they can act as character references towards the people they know and give great insight on what they’d be like to live with.

2. Treat the First Meet-Up Like an Interview

One of the most important steps in finding someone to live with is getting to know them before they’re actually confirmed to move in. Don’t assume that just because someone appears to check all the right boxes in what you’re looking for means that they will be the best fit for your living situation. If the rise of social media has taught us anything, it’s not to trust everything we see.

This is why, after carefully selecting a few people, you should treat the chance to meet up with them almost like a job interview. While the meet-up shouldn’t be like an actual job interview in that it should be light hearted, fun and an open space for letting personalities shine through, it should be taken just as seriously.

Agreeing to share a home with someone is a huge deal, especially if that person is a stranger. For this reason, asking detailed and even intimate questions is completely necessary to decide if the living situation would be a good fit for both you and a potential roommate.

Like any interview, the conversation should be a two-way street. Instead of asking all the questions and not sharing anything about yourself, be transparent about your lifestyle, what you’re looking for in a roommate and most importantly, the expected rules of sharing a living space. Being direct and putting everything out in the open prevents awkward conversations once you’re already living together.

3. Plan Ahead

As if trying to find a roommate isn’t stressful enough, not being prepared isn’t going to help matters and you might just end up settling for someone that won’t work out in the end anyway. Although there are a lot of people always looking for living arrangements, missing an opportunity with the perfect one would be a huge loss.

For the most part, as soon as you know that you’re looking for a roommate, being proactive in your search will help ease any stress that comes along with it. If you’re looking to go on a lease with someone, finding someone early on can help you both decide what you’re looking for in an apartment, and the process might even be fun.

One of the biggest stressors about finding a roommate, or even just your personal living situation in general, is the financial responsibility. Especially if you are subletting a room in your own apartment, there is a small chance that the room might not be filled in time to help pay the rent. Being able to have enough of a financial safety net to cover rent for the month is just as important as finding a roommate. Saving money is easier said than done, but shared living situations don’t always work out, and it would be better to have some cash to fall back on in case a certain situation doesn’t work out and rent happens to be due the next week.

Overall, finding a new roommate can be exciting and it can open up a lot of social opportunities. For most, having the experience of sharing a living space with someone who could become close friends is something that only happens during early adulthood, so it’s something to be enjoyed.

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