Throughout my four years of college, I had my fair share of roommates. From a bank teller who moonlighted as a stripper, to someone I had known since high school and considered a best friend. I learned some very valuable lessons. If you find yourself in the market for a room to rent or a roommate to move in with you, take this advice to heart. It could save you some trouble and even some money!
1. Best Friends as Roommates
I’m not going to say don’t do it, because it does work out for some people to move in with their best friend. However, there are a handful of us who it doesn’t work out for, ending in broken friendships. If you are interested in rooming with your best friend, be very clear about things up front. How will this affect your friendship if things don’t work out? Be sure it’s a risk you’re willing to take.
2. How to Find a Roommate
Craigslist seems to be the most popular method of finding a roommate, but be cautious. Try letting friends know you’re looking and ask them to pass on the word. Or if your university has Facebook groups set up (i.e. UO Class of 2016), post an ad in as many as are relevant. Also, let co-workers know what’s up – you never know what connections will come of it!
3. Interviewing Potential Roommates
When you do find someone compatible, meet up for coffee and talk about what you’re both looking for in a roommate. Be sure to bring up each other’s schedules (no one wants a roommate who is home all the time), whether or not you have pets (damage, allergies, etc.), boyfriends/girlfriends who might be over often, frequency of recreational drinking, and even references. Try not to make it a formal interview, but more of a getting-to-know-you meet up.
4. Roommate Agreements
A Google search on living with roommates will come up with various roommate agreements detailing who does what chores, who writes the rent check, how often overnight guests are welcome, and when the noise level of TVs/stereos should be kept low, among other things. It might be a good idea to draft up something like this for your own peace of mind.
5. Have A Back-Up Plan
Just in case things don’t work out with your new roommate, have a plan on who will move out, if that person will be in charge of finding a replacement, and how much notice will have to be given. It’s not the fun stuff, but it could be important later on.
Above all, have fun with it! Not all roommates are bad. You might end up with a great friend you can cook meals with and catch a movie with on weekends. Keep an open mind, be careful, and good luck!