As the price of rent around the country continues to rise, living on your own can strain your finances and budget. While there are some benefits to having your own place, many people are finding that sharing the rent is one of the best ways to save money, live in a relatively nice area, and still have money available to do what you love. If you don’t already have someone that you’re looking to move in with, finding a roommate can be a difficult endeavor. While there are plenty of opportunities to connect with interested parties, you want to find someone who you’re going to enjoy living with—or at least someone bearable. When you live with someone you can’t stand, or someone with vastly different habits and lifestyles, it’s often not worth the money saved. To help ensure that you’re making the right choice, here are some things to discuss when moving in with a new roommate.
1. Understand Each Other’s Quirks
Everyone has a quirk of some sort and while they’re not necessarily a bad thing, it’s important to discuss and understand before move-in day. Friends and family may see the quirk as a part of who a person is, but to an outsider or a roommate, certain things can be annoying. If you’re someone who doesn’t mind a chaotic apartment and you move in with someone who has a little OCD about cleanliness, it could cause problems. The same could be said about simple behaviors like chewing with your mouth open, loud snoring, or living in clutter. Make sure you can live with a pet peeve before you commit. Talk about things that annoy you when you meet to discuss living arrangements.
2. Consider Your Social Expectations
Some people want a roommate so they have someone to hang out with, others only want them to help decrease the financial burden of increasing rent prices. Make sure you know which you prefer and find someone with the same preferences as you. If you value your alone time and would like a more businesslike relationship, living with someone who expects to have Netflix nights and dinner adventures will be painful.
3. Discuss Cleanliness
Having a clean apartment or home is something that most people strive for, but some are more serious about this than others. You should make sure that you understand how your potential roommate feels about keeping things in order. Are they the type of person to wash their dish immediately or will there be a constant pile of dishes in the sink? Do they take the time to clean the bathroom or is there hair and dirt everywhere? If one person cares and the other doesn’t, resentment could follow. It’s not fun to have to clean up someone else’s mess just because the mess doesn’t bother them.
4. Financial Responsibility
If utilities are going to be split down the middle, you want to know how budget-friendly or frugal your potential roommate is. This is primarily in relation to the thermostat, as most other utilities remain around a fixed cost. If you’re looking for a roommate, chances are you might want to try and save money on energy costs too. If you’d prefer to put on a jacket when the house is a little chilly, but your roommate wants to crank the heat, discuss how the financial responsibility will be handled. It’s much better to know this ahead of time and avoid passive aggressive thermostat wars.
5. Potential Noisiness
Some apartments and homes were built well and block out noise. Others, not so much. Make sure that you discuss any potential problems with noisiness, including respectable quiet hours during the week. If you need to get up for your job at 7:00 am, but your roommate works different shifts and is up well into the morning watching Netflix at high volumes, you’re going to get irritated very quickly. While you might not be able to control noise from other apartments, you should be able to minimize it by avoiding problematic roommate situations ahead of time.
6. Your Ability to Communicate with Each Other
When you first meet with potential roommates, pay attention to how the conversations flow. Are they easy to talk to, do you have a good flow or do things seem awkward and out of place? You can usually tell how you’ll get along with someone after a conversation or two, so don’t be afraid to meet up a few times to see if things will be a good fit. You should also be able to communicate with each other about things that matter in terms of living together. Some conversations can be difficult but having them will make both of your experiences better.
7. Anticipated Visitors
Chances are that at some point, your roommate is going to have a visitor or two. While they’re absolutely entitled to have friends or a significant other over—just as you are—it’s a good idea to get an understanding of this beforehand. Prior to moving in together, go over any house rules regarding parties, visitors, or significant others. There should be some boundaries, especially if you’re moving in with someone you don’t know. For example, if they have a significant other, you should make it clear that the roommate situation is not a buy one, get one free kind of thing. If someone is going to be a “live-in” boyfriend or girlfriend, they should be contributing. If that’s completely out of the question, make sure it’s communicated.
8. Sleeping Habits
If you’re someone that goes to sleep at 10:00 pm and wakes up early in the morning, it’s easier to live with someone who has similar patterns. Otherwise, you could be tiptoeing around or worse, fighting about noise and sleep disruptions. Discuss sleeping habits and the conditions you need for a good night sleep. If you prefer to turn the thermostat down and sleep in cooler environments, make sure you talk about it. Everyone’s sleeping behavior is different and while often it can be easy to work around, there are some things that could create problems.
9. Pet Policy
Some people love animals, others are allergic or simply don’t want to deal with the hair (or smells). If you’re someone who wants to live in a pet-free home, discuss this beforehand. Otherwise, your roommate could move in without a pet and come home with an adopted cat or dog one day. Make sure that you communicate these expectations ahead of time.
10. Safety and Security
People have differing views on safety and security, which usually stems from where they grew up. In many rural areas, unlocked doors and open windows are normal. However, those in the city or even certain suburbs keep their doors locked at all times of the day. Make sure you discuss your expectations for safety and security. If you have an alarm system, you’ll want to communicate how it works and how they should set it when they leave. Being on the same page about this will reduce problems after move-in.
Tips on Moving in with a Stranger
Prior to looking for a roommate online, try to talk to your network of friends. See if they know anyone who is looking for a roommate or that needs a place to live. It’s nice to know that someone in your circle can vouch for a new roommate. If you must find a stranger, be cautious and do your research. Always meet in person first in a public area, make sure you discuss your boundaries, be upfront and honest about who you are and what you expect, and always trust your gut. If something feels off or you don’t feel safe, never move forward with a lease agreement.
If you already have a home and you’re looking to rent out the other room, you’ll need to make some space for your new roommate. Discuss what they plan to bring when you meet with them and take the time to completely empty their room. Unless you’ve discussed renting a furnished room, chances are that they’ll feel more at home surrounded by their things. To give you the space you need, rent a temperature controlled self storage unit from The Lock Up Self Storage. We have a variety of different sizes for your needs, flexible leasing terms, and offer state-of-the-art security. To find a facility near you, contact The Lock Up today at 1-866-327-LOCK or find a unit online today.