College opens the door to a whole list of new opportunities and a time of great change. But change often comes with confusion and uncertainty.

One of the major stresses in college life can be roommates. If you live on campus, you will likely be assigned a roommate. And you will likely meet that person on move-in day. The process is certainly easy.

But that’s not the case with off-campus housing.

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. Remember, you will be living with this person/these people for an entire school year. You will need to be wise when finding a roommate.

Keep reading for some great advice on finding the right person.

1. Ask Friends for Ideas

Your friends will most likely know of people who are also looking for a roommate. If your friend likes them, there’s a good chance you might too. Also, your friend is probably not going to recommend someone to you who they don’t believe would be a good fit.

Just to be safe, have a conversation with your friend. Talk to your friend about the kind of roommate you are looking for so they can get a better idea of what you need.

Three men working on computers

2. Advertise if You are Comfortable

We’re not going to encourage you to do something you’re not comfortable with, but if you’re up for it, using advertising to find a roommate 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 post an ad on your social media accounts. This way, some of your friends online might see the ad and pass it on to someone they know.

If you’re not into social media, there are other platforms to post your ad on such as Craigslist. For UC Davis Housing, the ASUCD Community Housing Listing is a great place to start in finding a place to live. Another great website for off-campus housing is the UC Davis ULoop.

Try checking-out the UCD Roommate groups on Facebook.

In the end, it all depends on personal preference. Regardless of what website you choose, you may want to create a separate e-mail account to deal with applicants. That way, you don’t have to worry about being harassed by any less favored candidates.

To attract the right roommate, you’ll need to be specific. Write down and describe the kind of person you’re looking for in a roommate. For more information on how to write an ad, read our blog post 7 Tips for Writing a Sensational Roommate Wanted Ad.

3. Be Detailed

To attract the right roommate, you’ll need to be specific. Discuss with the remaining roommates 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.

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. It would also be a good idea to meet your potential roommate for the first time in a public setting like a restaurant or café for safety reasons.

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. How do you feel about overnight guests? Few things are more annoying than your roommate’s boyfriend or girlfriend living on your couch and eating your food.

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.

For more information on questions to ask a potential roommate, read our blog post Top 10 Questions to Ask a Potential Roommate.

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.

Therefore, 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.

Two girls getting a piggy-back ride

6. Have everyone Sign the Lease with the Landlord

One of the most important steps towards living with someone is to ensure that everyone understands their rights and responsibilities. The best way to do this is by having all parties sign the lease with your landlord.

The lease covers everything from rent amount to the complex rules and potential damages from violating the lease provisions. It gives the landlord the ability to confront all parties to the lease if the conditions are ever broken. This means that you and all your roommates are all responsible for the consequences of something they did or vice versa. This encourages everyone to help each other comply with the lease so there will be no problems.

A basic roommate agreement including a weekly chore chart is highly recommended to reduce misunderstandings.

Now You Know How to Find a Roommate, Get to It!

Finding the right roommate with whom to share an apartment can be difficult. You want to attract a trustworthy person who is congenial, responsible, and reliable. 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. Don’t be afraid to ask them questions about themselves and what they’ll bring to the living space.

Pay close attention to your ‘gut feeling’ 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.

Did you 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 issues and advice, check out the Davisville Student Housing Blog today!

Davisville Management Company provides several choices for off-campus UC Davis student housing. Visit our apartment complex management site for off-campus apartment rental options: