How to find a roommate when moving to a new city
August 08, 2019 / Tips and tricks
Planning to relocate for a new job?
You're in the same boat as plenty of Americans.
If you're moving to a new city, you may not be ready to own a home. Chances are, you'll look to have some roommates to help split the cost of renting instead.
Great roommates aren't just a way to save money, though. They're people you trust to respectfully coexist in your personal space, handle their share of the chores and equitably split bills and expenses. On the other hand, a bad roommate - or a roommate who simply isn't a good fit for you - can be everything from a minor but persistent annoyance to a total nightmare. Consider this advice for making sure you find a roommate in your new city, and making sure they can be much more of an ally than an enemy.
What do you want in a roommate?
Before you start looking at apartment listings and online posts seeking out roommates in your city, make sure you have a clear idea of how you like your living space. Consider things like:
- How often do you want your roommate's friends, family and significant others to visit the apartment? What time can they arrive and stay until?
- How much noise can you deal with before you get annoyed?
- How tidy do you need your apartment to be, beyond the basic need for cleanliness? Are you OK with clutter or dishes in the sink if they're cleaned up eventually?
- Do you want to split costs beyond the necessities like utility bills, like groceries? What about cooking together and sharing food?
- Are you open to forming a friendship with your roommate beyond being respectful and courteous to each other? Would you rather not?
Your new roommate doesn't have to align perfectly with this list of ideal traits to lead. However, you should be sure that the items that are most important to you are carefully considered before you make a final decision.
Finding a roommate in a new city
With a basic understanding of what you're looking for in a roommate, you can more confidently move forward. Consider these strategies for finding a roommate:
Using online services for finding roommates
Sites like Roomster and roommates.com allow you to seek out roommates based on a number of characteristics, from the type of housing you're looking for to specific traits of potential roommates. Of course, you can also make a profile that allows other people looking for the same thing to discover. These services help you answer many of the questions detailed above in a relatively quick fashion. Make sure to keep them in mind when you start your search.
Leveraging your existing network
Depending on where you plan to move to and your past experiences, this strategy could easily work out or not be particularly viable. However, it's usually worth a shot. Asking friends and family who live in the area you plan to move to if they know anyone looking for a roommate offers a very valuable consideration: an endorsement (or lack of one, on the negative side) of your potential roommate from someone you trust. You can either directly reach out to people you know well or cast a wider net - which may offer more, but not necessarily better, results - by posting on social media.
Doing your due diligence
Once you identify a potential roommate, don't be afraid to ask for references or have a conversation or two to see if you're compatible with each other. Remember that two perfectly well-adjusted people simply may not be a good fit to live in close quarters for an extended period of time, but also keep in mind that you may find a dependable roommate or even friend in the process. If their references are positive and you don't see any red flags, whether for your subjective pet peeves or objective concerns, you can move forward. At worst, you can always start the process over once your lease expires.
Now that you have a good handle on how to find a roommate in your new city, make sure you have dependable and positive movers and packers to get you there. Get in touch with your local Atlas agent today!
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