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Last updated: January 22, 2024 • Lifestyle

Tips for Students for Finding Roommates

Finding the right roommate as a student can make all the difference in your college experience. Sharing an apartment or house with someone compatible allows you to split costs, have built-in companionship, and create lifelong friendships. However, a bad roommate situation can ruin your living space and cause unneeded stress.

When seeking compatible roommates, students can employ practical tips such as open communication, shared expectations, and lifestyle compatibility; for a stress-free living arrangement, exploring essay writer help services can assist in finding like-minded individuals who prioritize a conducive and harmonious academic environment. Follow these comprehensive tips to find the perfect roommate match as a student:

Define Your Preferences Upfront

Before beginning your roommate search, take time to reflect deeply on your ideal housing scenario. Consider all of the following factors:

  • Budget – How much rent can you afford to pay each month within your means? Be realistic about what you can spend on housing. Also factor in expected costs for utilities like electricity, gas, water, cable/internet, etc. Will you split these evenly or based on usage? Don’t forget peripheral costs like renters insurance, parking fees if needed, furnishings, cleaning supplies, and more. Make sure your portion of shared living costs fits comfortably in your overall budget.
  • Location – Do you want to live very close to campus within walking distance of your classes and the student union? Or are you open to living farther away in a more residential neighborhood? Look at commute times and accessible public transportation options for locations farther from campus. Also consider proximity to downtown nightlife, restaurants, cafes, shopping, grocery stores, gyms, parks, etc. Think about safety as well – some areas have higher crime rates than others. Make sure the location feels like somewhere you’d enjoy living.
  • Amenities – Would you prefer an apartment or full house? Does your ideal place have a private bedroom and bathroom so you don’t have to share these spaces? Do you require air conditioning, or are you comfortable without it? What about laundry – is in-unit laundry a must, or are you fine using a laundromat? Would you like furnished accommodations, or do you have your own furniture ready to move in? Off-street parking, dishwasher, updated appliances and fixtures, outdoor space like a balcony or yard, 24-hour gym access, a swimming pool – make a wishlist of amenities that would enrich your living experience, but also be flexible. The more must-haves you have, the more limited your options will be.
  • Cleanliness Standards – How tidy and clutter-free do you prefer shared living spaces to be? Do you expect dishes to be washed right after use, or is letting them soak okay? Should chores like vacuuming, scrubbing bathrooms, emptying trash, etc. be split equally between roommates or rotated weekly/monthly? How often would you expect communal spaces to be deep-cleaned from top to bottom? Consider your own cleanliness habits – are you meticulous about tidying up after yourself or more prone to messes and dirtiness? Finding roommates with similar cleanliness standards is key to avoiding tension.
  • Guest Policies – Do you hope to regularly host friends or significant others overnight? If so, how often? Or would you prefer limits on how many nights guests can stay over? Are you comfortable if roommates have guests over frequently, or would you rather have more privacy? Think about how guest frequency and noise may impact your ability to study and sleep. Also, consider safety – is it acceptable if guests have access to common spaces when roommates aren’t home? Discussing guest policies upfront can avoid problems down the road.
  • Noise Level Tolerance – Are you an early bird or a night owl? Do you require quiet surroundings to study and sleep well? Or does background noise and music not really bother you much? If you plan to host gatherings or parties, how late are those likely to go? Take into account your own noise patterns as well as preferences. If you are highly noise-sensitive, a super social roommate who entertains loudly into the night probably won’t be a good match. Finding common ground on acceptable noise levels will keep tensions low.
  • Pet Policy – Do you hope to live in a pet-friendly apartment, or would you prefer to avoid roommate pets? If you have your own pet like a dog or cat, will you need to find housing that allows them? How do you feel about living with different types of pets – are there any you dislike or are allergic to? Be forthcoming about any pet restrictions or concerns you may have so potential roommates with pets can decide if it’s a good match.
  • Smoking, Drinking, and Drugs Policy – Do you smoke cigarettes, vape, or use cannabis yourself? Would you be okay if roommates partake in legal substances either on-premises or elsewhere? Do you drink alcohol regularly and plan to host parties, or do you prefer to avoid liquor and drunkenness? What’s your comfort level around recreational drug usage? Try to find roommates who share similar stances on substances rather than directly opposing views, which often causes problems.

Take time to reflect deeply on each of these factors and be honest with yourself about your ideal scenario. This will help significantly narrow your options to the most compatible matches when you begin searching. Don’t ignore red flags or downplay deal breakers – this will only lead to an uncomfortable living situation. Seeking roommates who share your key preferences and priorities is the path to roommate bliss.

Search Strategically Using Varied Resources

analytics business concept strategically

Once you’ve clearly defined your ideal housing situation, it’s time to start your roommate search. The best approach is to cast a wide net using every resource channel available rather than relying on just one or two options.

Here are some strategies to search both digitally and locally:

  • Ask Trusted Contacts – Start close to home by reaching out to friends, classmates, coworkers, and family members and asking if they are looking for a roommate or know anyone reliable who is. Leveraging your existing social and professional connections can help you find someone trustworthy through word-of-mouth. While you may not know them directly, the mutual contact can vouch for their character.
  • Search Facebook Groups – Join some local housing Facebook groups like “[Your University/College] Rooms & Roommates” where students often post roommate-wanted ads. You can scroll through these posts and their profiles to potentially identify candidates who seem like a good match. When vetting profiles, look for common interests, mutual friends, similar lifestyles, etc. Connect with the most promising ones to continue the conversation.
  • Post in Student Union Housing Board – Check if your university has a physical housing board on campus, likely located in the Student Union. You can create your own colorful “Roommate Wanted” flyer with a brief bio about yourself – your major, personality, interests, ideal housing scenario, etc. Include your contact info so interested people can get in touch. When searching the board yourself, any posts that catch your eye are worth reaching out to.
  • Utilize Roommate Finder Websites – Sites like Roomi, Roommates.com, Zillow Roommates, or Craigslist Rooms & Shares allow you to create a personalized profile and specify exactly what you’re looking for in a living situation. You can browse and search roommate ads based on your stated preferences. Be sure to include key details about your own lifestyle, habits, budget, location, etc. so prospective roommates can determine if you seem compatible.
  • Search Local Classified Listings – Don’t forget old school classified ads in local newspapers, shopper circulars or bulletin boards. These have roommate listings alongside other housing ads and you may be able to find leads here as well. Casting a wide net is wise, so check all print resources you have access to. Expanding your search radius to neighborhoods adjacent to campus may broaden options too.

The key is to utilize every possible resource at your disposal – both digital and tangible – to maximize your options. In the quest for compatible roommates, students can optimize their search by prioritizing open communication and shared expectations; those aiming for a harmonious living arrangement may find valuable assistance in exploring the services of top literature review writing services. You want to connect with as many seemingly compatible potential roommates as possible to give yourself plenty to choose from.

Carefully Screen Candidates Through Video Interviews

businessman video interview

Once your search has yielded some promising potential roommate options, it’s time to screen them more in-depth to determine who seems like the best fit.

Rather than jumping straight to meeting in person or signing a lease, start by conducting screening interviews over video chat. Video allows you to not only hear their voice, but also see their facial expressions, mannerisms, tidiness of background, etc.

Here are some tips for conducting effective video interviews:

  • Initiate Contact – After identifying some candidates you are interested in, reach out to them individually via phone, text, email, social media, or whichever method they listed in their ad. Send a friendly introductory message explaining you came across their ad and think we may be a good housing match. Ask if they would be open to scheduling a 30 minute video call to get acquainted.
  • Schedule Conveniently – Be considerate when coordinating interview times. Avoid excessively early or late times, and accommodate their schedule as much as possible. Keep time zones in mind as well if contacting candidates from other regions. Aim for whatever works smoothly for both of your schedules.
  • Test Your Tech – Prior to the call, test your device, internet connection, camera and microphone to ensure everything is working properly. Make sure the space you’ll be in is quiet, tidy and free from distractions. Technical issues can derail an interview.
  • Look and Sound Your Best – Make yourself presentable on camera just as you would for an in-person interaction. Wear nice clothing, brush your hair, tidy up your background, etc. Speak clearly and make friendly eye contact through the camera. Create the best possible first impression.
  • Open with Icebreaker Questions – Start the conversation with some light icebreakers about where they go to school, what they study, where they’re from originally, hobbies, favorite places around town, etc. Warm small talk helps you ease into getting to know each other.
  • Discuss Logistics – Get into the nitty gritty of your respective housing needs and preferences to determine compatibility. Compare your budget, ideal move-in timeline, location priorities, space requirements, amenities wishlist, and any other practical factors. See if you align.
  • Ask Lifestyle Questions – To gauge compatibility, ask questions to understand their everyday habits, routines, behavior and quirks. Get their thoughts on cleanliness, noise tolerance, guests, pets, their social life and hobbies, substances they use, personality traits, and anything else relevant to sharing space.
  • Share Your Own Situations – Don’t just ask questions – share your own lifestyle as well so they understand your habits and can assess if they would mesh well. Give them the full picture of your personality and behavior, both positive and negative.
  • Close Politely – As you wrap up the call, express your appreciation for their time and say you’ll follow up soon to share whether you’d like to move forward. Even if you don’t feel you’re a match, close politely as you may cross paths again.

Conducting introductory video interviews is the best way to get a preliminary sense of candidates and whether living together seems feasible. Pay close attention to how you interact and flow conversationally. Do they come across as friendly, open and responsive in demeanor? Or did conversation feel stilted and awkward? Go with your instincts.

Ideally interview 2-3 promising options so you have multiple backups if one doesn’t work out. Don’t get overly attached to only one possibility.

Meet in Person Before Finalizing Anything

two female talking at coffee shop

Once you’ve identified one or two top candidates from initial video interviews, set up an in-person meetup before signing any formal agreements.

Meeting face-to-face provides key insights video can’t offer, like seeing the actual space, observing their body language and interactions in real life, and getting a gut sense of chemistry.

Here are some tips for making the most of in-person roommate interviews:

  • Meet in the Potential Shared Space – Rather than grabbing coffee, meet directly at the apartment/house so you can get a feel for the vibe and layout. Seeing the exact unit you’d share helps you visualize life there.
  • Walk Through Together – Tour the entire space with them as if you’re already roommates. Discuss how you might utilize rooms, where furniture would go, which items could be shared vs individual, chore breakdowns, etc. Getting on the same page about use of the space is key.
  • Assess Their Vibe In Person – Carefully notice if their demeanor and attitude seems just as friendly and engaged as it did over video. Do you still converse easily face-to-face? Does their overall energy feel positive? An interview is one thing, but actual chemistry is harder to fake.
  • Introduce Other Roommates – If additional roommates already live there, absolutely meet them. Get their take on the dynamic and whether they would welcome a new addition. Listen closely for any concerning issues raised about the space that you’ll also inherit.
  • Take Time After to Reflect – Don’t feel pressured to commit on the spot after an in-person meeting. Take a day or two to let your impressions settle and think through all factors before making a final decision. Trust your instincts if anything gave you pause.

Meeting in the potential shared home provides invaluable insight before signing a lease together. Notice any red flags you may have missed or glossed over before. Don’t ignore negative vibes or gut uncertainty – keeping looking until you find an ideal situation free of warning signs.

Vet Shortlisted Candidates Extensively Before Moving In

Once you’ve identified your top one or two potential roommates after in-person meetings, there are still essential vetting steps to take before officially moving in together:

  • Request References – Ask each candidate to provide 2-3 references who can vouch for them as responsible, conscientious roommates. Ideally these would be past roommates or landlords. Call the references and ask how they were with paying rent on time, following property rules, cleanliness, noise levels, damages, etc. Beware if they hesitate to provide references.
  • Run Background Checks – Use a site like MySmartMove to run a thorough background check on each potential roommate. Look for any criminal history, violent offenses, drug convictions, evictions, bankruptcies, or indications of financial irresponsibility. Don’t feel embarrassed to protect your safety – just explain it’s routine procedure. If anything comes up, reconsider living together.
  • Check Credit Scores – For rented apartments especially, landlords will run credit checks on all occupants over 18 and may deny tenancy if scores are too low. Avoid this by looking up scores yourself first. Apps like Credit Karma offer free credit score access. Everyone doesn’t need perfect credit, but alarmingly low scores warrant discussion.
  • Verify Student Status – If you are living in dedicated student housing, make sure any roommates are actively enrolled students as required. Ask for proof of registration, student ID numbers, class schedules, etc. Don’t just take their word, as non-students could cause issues with management.
  • Call Emergency Contacts – Ask for parents’ or family members’ contact info in case of emergencies. Briefly call them to verify identities match up and they would be willing points of contact. This provides additional vetting and safety backup.

Don’t skip these detailed screening steps even once you’ve settled on a top choice. Protecting your security and stability should be your number one priority. Being overly trusting with relative strangers could prove problematic.

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