Whether it is because of cutting living costs or the desire for new experiences, young people in their 20s or 30s go through this phase in life – living with a roommate. Good thing when having a roommate except cutting costs is also the possibility to find a bigger and nicer apartment than you can if you were living by yourself. Moving in with a roommate can give you another perspective on living with someone else other than your family. But there are things you should consider when you decide to take that step.
How to find a roommate – Is it better to live with a stranger or a friend?
Finding a roommate is not an easy job. There is always a debate on whether you should or shouldn’t live with your friends. Is that going to ruin your relationship or strengthen it? You might get along with your friend for a couple of hours a day when you see each other, but you have to take into consideration the habits of the person you are living with. It is the same for strangers, you never know what you can get. That is why you have to get to know your roommate better before moving in together. There is no better way to prepare yourself for moving.
Find a friend
When searching for a roommate, the first people that come to mind are friends. Because you know them and get along with them, you might think it is a good idea to move in together. When you move in, you may realize that you have drastically different living habits. But if that is not the case, you two might get along very well and it can also strengthen your relationship.
Put out an ad
If you decide not to live with friends or acquaintances, you can always put out an ad to find a roommate. When finding a roommate that you don’t know anything about, you have to be completely transparent with them and you also have to know what some deal breakers for you are.
When putting out an ad, you should include a brief description of yourself, what location suits you and rent you are willing to pay. You should then include some deal breakers, whether you are looking for a non-smoker, non-drinker, night owl or an early bird. These issues are most common amongst roommates and it is best to filter them out.
Get to know your roommate
After you’ve exchanged some messages, it is time to get to know each other in person. You can choose to meet in a public place, such as a coffee shop or a park where you can talk. After your meeting, you can get an idea of what it would be like living with that person. Whether you feel safe and comfortable around him/her. It is best to start spending time with the chosen roommate before you move in together. Thus, you can get to know each other better. You can go out for a drink or have a casual breakfast/dinner.
Things to discuss before moving in with a roommate
Once you find a roommate you like and can live with, it is time to set some rules and discuss some key points.
Communication is key
Like in any other relationship, communication represents the key to having a healthy relationship. You are building a strong relationship by talking and listening. That means that you need to discuss things that bother both you and a potential roommate. You can’t expect to find someone who is flawless or agrees with you on every point. That is why you have to be open-minded and find a compromise when the problem occurs.
Things you can or can’t share
When living with a roommate, it is mostly because of cutting costs but that doesn’t mean that you should share everything. It is best if you agree on contributing some money into a house budget on a monthly basis so that you can buy cleaning supplies and shared food such as coffee, bread, etc. If you agree on buying separate food, you should also consider separating the use of shelves in the refrigerator, so that your stuff doesn’t get mixed.
When it comes to cleaning, you can make a schedule where one will clean every other week. Cleaning doesn’t have to be a list of boring chores. You can make it more fun by doing it together at weekends while listening to some music. You can use that time to bond even more with your roommate. As for the daily chores around the house like washing dishes, it is best for you to agree on washing your dishes when you eat. Hence, the other person has a clean dish to cook in or eat from.
Looking for a place together
When you find a roommate and you get to know each other better, the next step is searching for an apartment. Before moving in with a roommate, you should discuss whether you have the money to get a big apartment so that you can have separate rooms. You should create a list of criteria:
• Number of rooms
• Maximum rent
• Mold free
• Has furniture
Establishing some house rules before moving in with a roommate
It is very important to talk about house rules at the very beginning. How loud do you like listening to music? Do you like sleeping in at weekends? Are you a night owl or a total opposite – an early bird? Make sure to set all the rules from the very beginning. Also, they need to be clear and understood by both parties. Only this way will you avoid any disagreement that could arise in the future. Establishing house rules can save you a lot of trouble that could happen if you don’t discuss potential problems.
You have to establish house rules for visitors too:
• How often should visitors be allowed?
• Will you give notice if you will be having a visitor?
• Will you have guests?
• How many nights should a guest stay?
• At what time are visitors not allowed?
Moving in with a roommate can be a long process, but along the way, you find out what things bother you and what you can cope with. You find out more about yourself and your habits and how to adapt to the situation. It is best to be prepared for some of the things that wait for you down the line. Never forget to communicate with each other and make compromises.