Living with a roommate is a great way to save money and split the cost of day-to-day living. Although sharing your great new house or apartment with a stranger might not be your ideal living situation, most people find that once the hassle of finding the right roommate is out of the way, there are more benefits than drawbacks.
Of course, the task of finding your new roommate isn’t always an easy one. Fortunately, the technology age has made it easier than ever before to advertise and screen potential candidates.
> Find the Candidates: Most people head to Craigslist or Facebook to find a roommate, and there’s a good reason for it. These online postings can reach thousands of potential applicants, all of whom you can screen before you agree to a face-to-face meeting. Other options include Roomster, Room Surf, or Roommates.com.
> Ask Important Questions: The best way to sort through your roommate candidates is by handing them a questionnaire. This might seem a little formal if you aren’t the analytical type, but it works well if you have a large number of people to sort through. Ask things like:
a. Where do you work, and what kind of hours do you keep?
b. What is your sleep schedule like?
c. Why are you looking for a new place to live?
d. How clean would you say you are?
e. What do you like do in your spare time?
f. Do you smoke/have pets?
g. What kind of furniture do you plan on bringing with you?
h. What does your social life look like?
i. Are you still friendly with your old roommates?
j. What are your thoughts on overnight guests/regular visitors?
k. Who is your ideal roommate?
l. Do you like to cook, or are you more of a dining out type?
m. What are your thoughts on recycling?
n. How long do you need a roommate?
o. How do you deal with conflict?
It’s also a good idea to answer these questions yourself ahead of time. By understanding your own needs and preferences, you can better find someone who matches.
> Perform a Background Check: You should always perform a background check on potential roommates. Once you narrow the list down to a few people, go ahead and pay for this kind of service. Finding out about a criminal record is the sort of thing that’s worth the extra investment. You should also check references and employment records at this time.
Once you have your new roommate, you can also turn to technology to help with paying the bills. An app like Homeslice or Splitwise will help you evenly divide costs and make sure everyone is paid up.