Having a roommate offers a number of advantages, including help with expenses and companionship. However, it is extremely important to choose a roommate with whom you are compatible. While you might be tempted to select your new roommate based on how friendly they are, it would be a mistake to use that as your sole criteria. When you choose a roommate, you need choose a person who will compatibly share your living space and who will be financially responsible for their portion of expenses.
Here are some tips for choosing a roommate:
Make sure the person you choose has a steady income. Will their job or other source of income enable them to meet their obligations to you? After all, you need them to be able to pay their share of the rent and bills every single month. Sure it sounds good to work as a freelance writer, performance artist, or DJ, but your main concern needs to whether or not that career will earn them enough money to cover the bills.
Find out whether or not their daily habits are compatible with yours. Is this a person a night owl or an early riser? If you have to get up early every day, you could get tired of having a roommate who frequently parties into the wee hours of the morning. What kind of noise level is this person comfortable with at home? It might not work if you like to rock out on your guitar and your roommate needs a very quiet environment for reading and studying. At what temperature are they comfortable? This might not seem like a big deal, but if you prefer a warm apartment and your roommate longs to live in an icebox, you could be headed for conflict as well as high utility bills.
You should inform your prospective roommate of any allergies you have and inquire whether or not they suffer from any allergies. If you have a cat or dog, you may not want to choose a roommate with pet allergies. If you are allergic to smoke, you definitely don’t want a chain-smoking roommate. While dust allergies can make a big impact on how often you need to clean, something like peanut allergies can be a matter of life and death.
Get to know them a little. Rather than conduct your roommate interview through email or over the phone, try to get together for lunch or a cup of coffee. That way you can ask them questions that will help you to decide if this is a person you would enjoy living with. Do you share any common interests, hobbies, or television shows? What is their philosophy towards cleanliness? Does it mesh well with yours? If you are a neat freak, you will become frustrated quickly with a messy roommate who does not keep up with their share of chores and cleaning.
Taking the time to choose a compatible roommate will save you a lot of hassle and stress later on down the road. The right roommate can enhance your life and turn into a lifelong friend, while a bad roommate can cause you misery and financial hardship.