How to Find Roommates
Although many students prefer having single dorms, sharing a living space can be a great way to save money on rent. However, many struggle to figure out how to find roommates, especially one with compatible interests and preferences. Fortunately, leveraging your college, your personal network, and the internet can make your search easier. Let’s talk about how to find the right roommate for you.
College matching program
If you’re living on campus, many schools will pair you up with another student to room with. Some will use questionnaires to match you based on habits and preferences, whereas others will assign you completely randomly.
Many colleges will also give you the option of finding your own roommate and signing up together. If you’d rather take care of the matching process on your own, you can often find a roommate search Facebook group for your school. You’ll be able to post your own profile, browse other students’ and message potential roommates. Even if you don’t find a roommate, you can still take the opportunity to make new friends!
How to find roommates through social media and websites
Odds are, there are plenty of people in your area looking for roommates at the same time as you. The internet can make it easier to find them. If you live in a major city, you can seek out Facebook groups or subreddits for renters in your area. For example, the Facebook group Chicago Housing, Rooms, Apartments, Sublets boasts over 80,000 members. You can use the page to browse listings from Chicago residents renting apartments or looking for roommates, or you can make a post of your own.
Similarly, subreddits like /r/NYCapartments have over 20,000 members and allow you to post or browse inquiries for roommates. If you just want advice or tips about living in the city, you can also ask general questions to more experienced members.
If social media doesn’t work out, there are plenty of apps designed specifically to find you a new roommate. Unfortunately, many roommate-search applications charge steep membership fees up to $20-30 per month. However, there are also plenty of free options, including Circle for Roommates and Cirtru.
Consult your network
If you’re nervous about living with a stranger, you can ask your family and friends if they know anyone who needs a roommate. Not only will it save some time, but you can also go into the arrangement with mutual friends or common interests.
If none of your friends are looking for a new place, you can also ask around other networks. Make a post in your alumni Facebook group or ask around at your tennis club. The more leads you put out, the more likely you are to get a response.
How to screen potential roommates
Sharing a living space with anyone is a big commitment, so you’ll want to vet your options thoroughly beforehand. If you’ve found your potential roommate online, make sure you meet them in person at least once before signing a lease together.
In order to stay safe, arrange your first meeting in a public place. You can even ask to bring a friend to the meetup if that makes you more comfortable. If the first meeting goes well, it could be a good idea to see their living space to evaluate if your habits are compatible. Of course, you should be prepared to let them see your place as well. If the prospect of having them in your home seems weird, that might be a sign that they’re not the roommate for you.
It can feel intrusive to broach topics like relationships and finances with someone you’re just getting to know. However, it’s important to have uncomfortable conversations before moving in together to avoid potential conflicts. Here are some questions you’ll want to consider asking:
- How do you plan on paying rent?
- What’s your day-to-day schedule?
- Do you smoke?
- Do you have pets?
- How often do you plan to have guests over?
- What are your thoughts on overnight guests?
- How clean do you like to keep your living space?
- What does your ideal roommate look like?
If you want to learn more about what it’s like to live with your potential roommate, you can also ask for referrals from their previous roommates. Again, finding a roommate is a two-way street. In other words, if you’re going to request a referral, be sure to have your own ready as well.
Once you’ve decided on a roommate, you’ll want to draft up a roommate agreement. This can be helpful even if you’re living with a friend. The document should touch on a variety of topics, from splitting bills, inviting guests and scheduling quiet hours. A quick Google search can find you plenty of templates to get started.
See also: How to pay for housing
Although finding a roommate can feel like a daunting task, rest assured that there are plenty of people in the same boat as you. It all comes down to reaching out and asking the right questions to find your match.
Learn more: What is room and board?