College opens the door to a whole list of new opportunities, and just as many emotions. It’s a time of great change. But alongside change come confusion and uncertainty. The best way to deal with it is to be prepared.
One of the major stresses when attending college and renting apartments can be roommates. If you live on campus, you may be assigned a roommate while living in student housing or campus dorms, but that’s not the case when you make the decision to live off-campus.
When living off-campus, it may be up to you to figure out how to find a roommate. It’s not just about finding a roommate but finding the right roommate. Someone who won’t annoy you, mistreat you, or generally just be tough to get along with.
Read on for some great advice on finding the right person to share an apartment with.
1. Ask Friends for Ideas
It’s been said that you shouldn’t live with close friends, and it’s a good rule of thumb. A bad roommate experience could ruin your friendship. If you think this is not true, ask some of your more senior classmates. Friends can still be great resources, though, for that roommate search.
Perhaps your friends know of some people who are also looking for a roommate. If your friend likes them, there’s a good chance you might like them as well. Also, your friend is probably not going to recommend someone to you who they don’t think will be a good fit.
Just to be safe, a conversation is better than a request. Talk to them about the situation so they can get a better idea of what you need. Let them know what you are looking for in a roommate and living situation.
2. Advertise if You are Comfortable
We’re not going to encourage you to do something you’re not okay with, and talking to strangers can be very frightening. If you’re up for it, though, advertising can be a great idea.
Advertising in a newspaper can be expensive, up to a few hundred dollars in some cases, but it’s worth it if you’re willing. If money’s an issue, there are other ways to advertise.
You could put in a blurb on your social media accounts. This way, some of your friends online might see the ad and pass it on to someone you know. Using social media to find a roommate is affordable and may be the best choice.
If you’re not into social media, there’s also Craigslist and several others to choose from.
In the end, it all depends on personal preference. Regardless of what you choose, you may want to create a separate email account to deal with applicants. That way, you don’t have to worry about being harassed by any less savory candidates.
3. Be Detailed
To attract the right roommate you’ll need to be specific. Describe the kind of person you’re looking for.
- Are they neat?
- Can they have pets?
- Do they have to be a student?
It might be awkward to live with someone older and who is not a student, and there are plenty of reasons a student might want to live off-campus.
Include the price of the rent in the ad as well, so that you won’t be saddled with someone who can’t afford their share of the rent. No sense talking with people who will make it difficult to meet lease terms.
If you already have a roommate but are looking for an additional one, make that clear. A prospective roommate should know about all of the people they’ll be living with.
4. Interview the Candidates
Placing a few ads and expecting everything to work out is one of the worst things you can do. Which is why you need to interview the applicants. If you have anyone else who already lives with you, they should be included in this process.
Ask telling questions that cover almost every aspect of living together. For instance, you might ask about their current living situation and why they want to move on.
You should be prepared to ask about their job and rent. Ask if they smoke or drink, or if they have a significant other that’s going to be spending a lot of time at their new place.
Remember that this is a two-way street. It’s best to ask your potential roommate if there’s anything they expect of you. Perhaps they don’t smoke, but you didn’t list non-smoker as a requirement, so now they want to make sure you don’t smoke either.
The best answer to the question of how to find a roommate is to be a good roommate. Understand that they’re going to have requirements as well, and be willing to meet them.
5. Get References
While an interview might tell you a lot, anybody can lie, and some can do it very well. Others might have every intention of being honest, but be very poor judges of their own character.
This is why it’s important to get references. If you can’t find people willing to vouch for the applicant then you probably shouldn’t let them live with you.
It’s also a good idea to look at who they’re referencing. It might tell you something about their character. If they used former roommates as references, it’s a good sign they can be trusted.
6. Write up an Agreement
One of the most important steps towards living with someone is to ensure that you’re safe should they cause trouble. The best way to do this is by having both parties sign the lease.
The lease covers everything from rent amount to potential damages. It gives the landlord the ability to confront both parties if the conditions are ever broken. This means that your roommate can’t stick you with the consequences of something they did or vice versa.
Now You Know How to Find a Roommate, Get to It!
Living without a roommate is expensive. Living with a roommate who’s messy or inconsiderate is even worse. That’s why it’s so important you follow the process we’ve outlined above.
Round up a group of potential candidates through advertising, and recommendations from friends. Ask for references from people they’ve lived with before. Let them know what they’re getting into, and ask them questions about themselves and what they’ll bring to the living space.
Pay close attention to your ‘gut feel’ when you meet them. Is this someone you can deal with seeing every day? Be sure to get everything in writing to avoid misunderstandings in the future.
Find this article helpful? We’ve got lots more great advice on our website.
For all the information you could ever need on student housing options, check out the Davisville Student Housing Blog today!
Davis Apartments for Rent
Davisville Management Company provides a number of choices for off-campus UC Davis student housing. Visit our apartment complex management site for off-campus apartment rental options: