It’s a challenge all adults face: How do you find a roommate that isn’t certifiably insane? Sure, immaculate hardwood floors and a large closet can make up for a lot, but if your roommate’s quirks are just a little beyond the threshold of what is considered to be reasonable human behavior, it can make apartment living pretty stressful.
Fortunately, finding a good roommate isn’t impossible. In fact, with all the technology at your fingertips, you have a better chance than ever before of finding your new best friend. Before you say “yes” to the first random person that responds to your ad on Craigslist, follow these tips for how to find a good roommate:
1. Know Your Limits
Before you begin searching for a roommate, you need to be honest with yourself about what you can and cannot handle. What qualities are you looking for in a future roommate? We’ll take for granted that it’s important that they be able to make rent each month, but what about sleeping habits? Smoking? Cleanliness? Compiling a list before you interview roommates will save you from a lot of stress after you sign your lease. It’s OK if you hate cats–just be honest about it.
2. Ask for Recommendations
Truthfully, the best way to find a roommate that you’ll be able to get along with is through word of mouth. Your friends and family know you better than anyone, and will probably instinctively know whether you would be compatible with a potential roommate before you even meet them. Like random roommates in college, it’s possible that the person you met on Craigslist will end up being your best friend, but getting a referral is safer than trusting the word of a stranger.
3. Meet Face to Face
If you do decide to advertise for a roommate, meet applicants face to face at a neutral location, like a coffee shop, for an interview. The conversation should be casual and friendly–you don’t want to scare them off–but make sure to ask about the requirements you compiled on your earlier list. You may also want to bring a friend with you to get a second opinion.
4. Sign a Roommate Agreement
You’ve done it! You found the perfect roommate. Before you sign a lease, you should draft a separate roommate agreement to make sure you’re both on the same page about your living situation. Your agreement should cover everything from the share of rent you’ll each pay, to who is responsible for cleaning and whether or not you’ll share groceries.