You’ve been on the hunt, and finally found it: the apartment of your dreams! Only one small catch; it’s more than you want to spend and now you need a roommate. ARGH!!! What can you do to ensure you don’t end up with a CRAZY roommate?
First, there are some important things to consider:
- How many roommates do you need to make the rent?
- Will each roommate have their own bedroom/bathroom? Or will you all have to share?
- What are the duties (cleaning, cooking, etc.) you will expect from your roommate? And how will you divide these responsibilities?
- How will the common areas of the house be shared?
- How will rent be paid? Will your roommate pay you or pay the landlord directly?
- How will you set up the rental agreement with the landlord? Will you both be on the lease, or are you going to sub-let to your roommate?
Once you’ve considered all of this, and you’ve decided on how you want to work with a roommate, it’s time to find the right one. Consider working with a property management company that can help with screening and your selections, or consider these questions you should ask a potential roommate.
- Ask where they work, and how long they have been there. If a potential roommate has not been at a job very long, or has had numerous jobs in a short span of time, that could be a red flag. You will have more success choosing a roommate with a stable job, and who seems financially stable. You might also ask how long of a rental term they are looking for as well.
- Ask about their typical day. This will give you insight into their personality, their schedule, and even into some of their habits. This can be particularly important if you are a night owl and your potential roommate is an early morning person.
- Ask them how they feel about other concerns as well: pets, smoking, drinking, etc. Though this may seem like an awkward, uncomfortable question it is a must. You want to find a roommate that is compatible with you. For instance, if you have a dog, it can be a problem if a potential roommate has an allergy. (These things may also be specified on your lease as well.)
- Ask about their housekeeping habits. Someone who is a compulsive cleaner will not find a happy environment with someone who is not. This also opens up a great opportunity to discuss the breakdown of responsibilities and expectations you have.
Finally, one thing you should consider is a possible trial period. This is a great way to have a pre-established amount of time to see how it works and give both of you an out if it does not. Because, even after a conversation and many questions, you will find that you still have to be willing to compromise and work together to make everything work out right.
Ingrid Peterson is a freelance blogger for Real Property Management East Valley, an East Valley property management company.