Whether you’re renting an apartment in Baltimore or saving for your first house in Tacoma, WA, sharing a house or apartment with roommates is a great way to mitigate living costs. However, choosing the wrong roommates can make you question if the savings are worth the headache. To prevent a dreadful situation, keep these tips in mind when choosing a roommate.
1. Find someone similar to yourself
Keep in mind that you’re going to spend a lot of time with your roommate, so make sure you choose a roommate who you’ll get along with.
“The best tip for selecting a roommate to share a place with is to find the closest version of you,” says Michael Jefferson of Allsource Property Management. “Yes, opposites attract in intimate relationships, but usually break down when it comes to living together. You know yourself very well. If you’re not tidy, it probably won’t work living with a tidy person. If you’re the tidy one, a messy person won’t do either.”
2. Consider whether you could be friends with a potential roommate
While you don’t necessarily have to be best friends with your roommate to make the arrangement work, it certainly helps if you get along well with them. Meeting someone and learning more about them can provide important insight when choosing a roommate.
“Over the years, we have found that it is important to do something with your potential roommate, like grab a coffee or go for a run together,” says Benjamin Porter of Roomie, an app that helps people find roommates. “This will allow you time to get to know them on a more personal level, as well as allow you to look out for red flags that they might be hiding from their digital profile.”
3. Find someone you’re excited to come home to
Lifestyle medicine expert Rebecca Deutsch of the American Board of Lifestyle Medicine emphasizes the importance of a positive social connection when choosing a roommate.
“When selecting a roommate, find someone you are excited to come home to, as positive social connection is a key pillar of lifestyle medicine,” she says. “Don’t forget to discuss schedules, as nobody wants a roommate who disrupts a good night’s sleep. Find somebody who is supportive of healthy lifestyle habits, and in turn, be willing to support theirs.”
4. Make sure your potential roommate is clean and organized
Another essential factor to consider when choosing a roommate is neatness. A messy roommate can undermine any effort you make to keep your living space clean.
“A quick tip from our team about selecting roommates is to look beyond your relationship with this person and to look deeper and finer into the details of this person,” says Sherry Williams of MIKOL. “One area that you can observe is the cleanliness of this potential roommate. if you can, do a pop-in visit to their current living quarters. Usually, pop-in visits are difficult, so the next best thing is to see if their car is well maintained. Since we tend to spend a good amount of time in our cars, a messy car can reflect on someone’s living habits.”
5. Choose roommates that you can trust
If you’re going to share a space with a roommate, make sure you choose someone that you trust, as an unreliable roommate can impact your finances, your mental health, and your safety.
“Trust should be the number one factor when selecting a roommate,” according to The PO Box Blog. “I can’t count the times my friends and I have been put in the most unfortunate situations because we found a roommate online or ended up playing roommate roulette by getting matched with a stranger through a dorm or apartment complex program. You need to have some level of trust with your roommate because this is the person who will have access to your home and belongings, who has the power to potentially affect your credit score with their own poor financial decisions and wreak havoc on your mental health.”
6. Choose a roommate with similar values and priorities as you
No one wants to be stuck in a one-sided relationship, and this is especially true when it comes to choosing roommates. Make sure you pick someone with similar priorities to you. If you don’t, you’ll likely end up in a situation you want to escape from.
“If you would like to share an apartment with a roommate, you should select someone who shares the same values as you,” says Jessica Reid of Lifestyle DiJess. “For example, if doing chores every week to maintain a clean apartment is very high on the list of things you value, then you should find a roommate that values doing chores on a weekly basis just as much. If you value quiet time at home free from visitors, then you should make sure the person you select to be your roommate isn’t interested in hosting sleepovers and having friends come over every day. They should value quiet time almost as much as you. Finding someone who shares your home values will help you both thrive as roommates and get the most out of your apartment living experiences.”