6 Factors to Consider When Looking for a New Roommate

Living with a roommate is an effective way to help reduce your overall living costs, including rent, utilities and general household expenses. Having a roommate can also help you to free up some valuable time to work, study or play more by sharing in the responsibilities of cleaning, maintaining and otherwise tending to the home. In addition, having the right roommate can help reduce your loneliness, increase your socialization and improve your mood. The other significant benefit of living with a roommate is that it increases the safety and security of the home as well as your own personal safety and security simply by virtue of having another person around. If you think having a roommate might be the right move for you, you should learn how to select the right roommate. With the following factors to consider when looking for a new roommate in mind, interview prospective roommates thoroughly and carefully. Likewise, allow your prospective roommates to interview you just as carefully and thoroughly in order to make sure that both of you feel you would make a good match. Once you and another person have chosen each other as roommates, remember to keep these lines of communication constantly open to prevent conflict and handle arguments fairly and respectfully if and when they occur in your mutual home.

1. Waking and Sleeping Times

Are you a night owl or an early bird? Whatever your schedule, you may want to find a roommate with a similar one. While you might have to work out who gets to use the bathroom when, if you are both getting ready for work at the same time, this can be a lot better than trying to sleep while your roommate is awake and bustling about the house, and vice-versa. Try to find a roommate who does not risk giving you sleep deprivation.

2. Cleanliness Standards

Everyone has a different definition of the word “clean.” If you and your roommate have two wildly different definitions of that word, you may not be compatible to live together. “The Odd Couple” may have been a funny television show, but when one roommate is a stickler for home cleanliness and the other is not so concerned with being clean, there is very little likelihood that the two will wind up the best of friends. No one wants to be the sole roommate doing all the cleaning in the home, nor does anyone want to be scolded or pressured all the time to do more than they are willing to do.

3. Financial Responsibility

You want to make sure that any roommate you choose to live with has a job, some other income source or sufficient savings, such as a trust fund, to afford to pay his or her rent and bills on time. Knowing this, however, only tells you the potential for a roommate to have a similar perspective on financial responsibility as you. Do they tend to pay their bills on time or late? Do they budget money for food and living expenses, like household cleaning supplies, or are they always borrowing from others? Your income sources should only be the start of the financial conversation between you and your potential roommate. Once you have established that both of you have a reliable source of money, the next thing to make sure is that you both handle that money responsibly enough to live up to your part of the living arrangement.

4. Lifestyle

There will probably be many times when you and your roommate will be home and awake at the same time. It is, therefore, useful to compare how each of you likes to spend your time at home. For example, if you are a bookworm and your roommate is a party animal, then that situation may be incompatible for you both. A similar situation would be if you need to study and your roommate likes to watch television with the volume turned up loud. Alternatively, perhaps you both like to cook which, unless you decide to cook together, could cause frustrating jams in the kitchen. Does one of you have frequent overnight guests, while the other is more private and protective of his or her personal space? It is best to find a roommate who either shares your lifestyle habits at home or at least whose habits are compatible with yours.

5. Roommate Relations

Some people want to be friends with their roommates. Others simply want to share a physical space and live their own lives. Which type of person are you? When you consider getting a new roommate, you will want to be sure that you find a person of a similar nature. Otherwise, one of you will always be trying to connect and feel constantly disappointed and frustrated, while the other will always be trying to live his or her own life and feel constantly pressured and imposed upon.

6. Yourself

The last factor to consider when looking for a new roommate is your own behaviors, attitudes, habits and personality traits. Do you get along well with others? Do you communicate well with others? Are you inclined to combativeness or to being taken advantage of? Your answer to some of these questions might lead you to decide that you are not suited to live with a roommate. If, however, you find that a roommate is appropriate or at least necessary for you, then be sure to keep these nuances of your character in mind as you consider potential roommates.