Are you ready to make a big move in your life but can’t afford to do it on your own? Don’t give up; take on a roommate to help get you there. Roommates aren’t just for college students and recent graduates anymore. With cost of living rising and personal debt at an all-time high, more people are sharing homes with nonfamily members and partners than ever before. In fact, according to a study conducted by Forbes, the number of 25- to 34-year-olds living with roommates increased 39 percent from 2005 to 2015. If this sounds like the solution you’ve been looking for, read on to learn the best tips for finding the best roommate.
- Take a good look at their finances. Asking your friends and coworkers their salary and bank balance? Rude. Not asking a potential roommate? A recipe for trouble. Just because someone says they can afford their half of the rent doesn’t mean you should blindly believe them. Find out if they’re employed and for how long, request three months of pay stubs, and ask them if they have enough saved to cover rent and expenses should they lose their job. As a rule of thumb, rent and utilities should account for no more than 30% of your monthly paycheck—and that’s before car and insurance payments, cell phones, student loans, credit card debt and any other monthly bills. Are you sharing the buying responsibilities for food, groceries and toiletries? Make sure they can afford their half of that, as well. It may sound cold, but it’s better than unexpectedly being responsible for 100% of the rent and living expenses.
- Avoid an Odd Couple situation. Contrary to what sitcoms tell us, there’s nothing funny about two roommates who don’t share cleaning responsibility. The question you need to ask yourself is are you Felix or Oscar? If you’re a Felix, make sure your potential roommate understands they’re expected to clean up after themselves. If you’re an Oscar, it’s time to embrace responsible adulthood and keep your home clean. Don’t know how to make sure you each pull your weight? Never underestimate the power of a chore chart!
- Don’t mistake a good friend for a good roommate. Moving in with your friend is a no-brainer, right? Not so fast! Often, we’re too close to the situation and only see all-night hang sessions that last for days, months, even years without ending. When you live with a stranger or acquaintance, you’re free to live your lives separately and be honest when you take umbrage with something. Now, imagine how much pressure you would feel to spend all of your social time with your friend or tiptoe around disagreements for fear of ruining your friendship. All of those quirks you find so funny in moderation have the potential to get old really fast, so think twice before you try to create your very own Friends.
- Consider everyone’s additional baggage. Living with someone means you’re not just living with them, but you’re living with their entire life, drama and all. Are you OK with welcoming a pet into your home? Are they willing to share the couch with Fluffy? How do you each feel about current or future partners spending considerable time or the night? Do either of you have a BFF who would be over on a regular basis, or a wide group of rotating friends? These details may seem on the fringe at first, but sooner or later, they will surface, so it’s good to be aware from the start.
- Don’t cut your search in half. Obviously, it’s a matter of personal preference and comfort level, but don’t automatically dismiss the potential of an opposite sex roommate. This will blow your roommate options wide open and may even expand your social circle in ways you didn’t anticipate. Just make sure to have strict ground rules regarding house roles that you each agree to. Unless you both want what could be considered a “traditional” household (men take out the garbage and fix things; women cook and clean, etc.), be clear on the gender role clichés you want to avoid.
- Share your dealbreakers. While compromise is an integral part of any healthy relationship, take the time to determine things you simply couldn’t learn to live with. Are you a nonsmoker who would be OK with a roommate who only does so in their bedroom or another separate space, or do you need a completely smoke-free home? Would hearing your new roomie’s music through their closed door frustrate you? Or, conversely, do you like to listen to music at a volume others may find too loud? Do certain cooking smells, like fish or garlic, turn your stomach? Are you a vegetarian who doesn’t want meat in your home? It may feel callous to outright dismiss potential roommates over these things, but being honest with yourself will save you from an intolerable living situation in the long run.
Once you’ve found the perfect roommate, contact the moving and storage company that will make moving in to your shared home easier than ever: Molloy Bros. Moving & Storage. Contact them for a free, no-obligation estimate.