When a strategic career move prompted me to trade my suburban oasis for big city living, I was faced with the task of finding a new roommate. While living with roommates isn’t as common in my hometown, I knew that I would need a roommate in order to make ends meet in my new city. Moving is all about new beginnings, right?
Armed with that sentiment, I launched into a roommate search, but soon realized that I needed a strategy. Looking for a roommate in a city where I barely knew two people wasn't as straightforward as finding a roommate back home. After several hiccups, I discovered these 4 “Roomie Rules” that led me to finding the ideal roommate after moving to a brand new city.
Roomie Rule #1: Search in Your Personal Networks First
Even if you're a newbie to the city and don't know many people yet, it’s smart to utilize your social media inner circles first. Even though most of my friends were back in my hometown, I knew there may be a possibility that they may know a friend of a friend who was also moving to my new location.
Searching within your personal network via Facebook, Twitter, etc. is the best way to avoid stranger danger when searching for a roommate. While it’s never a guarantee, the chances that you will find a nice, “normal” person to live with are better when you meet through a friend.
Roomie Rule #2: Use Credible Sites for Your Roommate Search
This means avoiding Craigslist if any way possible. While I don’t doubt that new transplants have found great roommates through Craigslist, when it comes to a decision as personal as sharing your home, I recommend using sites that specifically cater to finding quality roommates. You wouldn’t purchase an expensive dress from the same place you buy your gym socks, right? I feel this concept applies when searching for a roommate as well.
Sites such as roommates.com and roomiematch were valuable resources during my own search for the ideal roommate.
Roomie Rule #3: Always Meet in Person Before Making a Decision
While I understand that this may be an obvious tip for most of you, it’s worth highlighting. Under no circumstances should you agree to move in with a new roomate without meeting and having an in-depth conversation with them first. Just like at a job interview, a potential roommate may sound great on paper and on the phone but may be a horrible match for you in person.
The goal isn’t to be judgemental or overly picky, it’s to make an honest decision on if you and your potential housemate can share a harmonious living space. When I was able to find a few promising roommate prospects online, I scheduled meetings with all of them and arrived prepared with a list of pertinent questions.
Asking them about their socializing styles, cleaning habits and overall expectations for an ideal living situation is important. Countless roomie relationships have ended because the right questions weren’t asked beforehand.
If you prefer peace and quiet, ask them if they tend to frequently invite friends over. If you prefer to stay up late and watch TV, ask them if this would interrupt their work or school schedule. No answer is right or wrong, it just needs to be the right fit for you.
Roomie Rule #4: Do Your Research
This may sound like borderline stalker behavior but it’s actually a valuable precaution in order to avoid a huge headache later. Even though meeting in person and asking the right questions are vital in finding the right fit, you never really know unless you confirm with your own research. While I’m not suggesting that you hack into a potential roommate’s personal information, a simple Google search of their name can give you a peek at their social media profiles, criminal history and if there's any information that rubs you the wrong way - when it comes to living with another person, you can never be too careful!
My own research of potential prospects uncovered some valuable information that I wouldn’t have known unless I had conducted my own research. No social media, past criminal activity or an excessive number of residential addresses should be red flags when choosing your ideal roomie match.
I experienced many hiccups during my search for a roommate in a new city, but they can mostly be avoided by being properly informed beforehand. Luckily, I was able to find the ideal roommate situation (we’re going on four years strong!), but not without learning some important lessons along the way. Follow these tips on how to find a roommate in a new city and you’re sure to find your roommate match made in heaven in no time!
Now that you know how to find a great roommate in a new city, discover fun facts on how to make new friends! Check out these online resources on meeting people in a new city.