People will find themselves starting over in a new city at some point in life. Whether to advance their studies or career, it’s best to get compatible roommates to make the experience more convenient and enjoyable. If you are wondering about finding a roommate in a new city, this how-to guide is right for you.
Moving Into A New City
The world is full of beautiful and exciting places. So, it’s no surprise that many loves to travel and explore its richness. Some even decide to settle down for good once they find the perfect place.
However, moving to an entirely new city is filled with mixed emotions. It’s exciting to start fresh and open yourself to a different perspective. But it can also be stressful to make the transition as smooth as possible. The stress level can further increase due to the expensive cost of living.
That’s why it’s advisable to get a compatible roommate.
Why Finding Roommates Matter
Living with roommates provide tons of benefits. Saving money is on the top spot for equally splitting the cost of rent, utilities, and other household essentials. You can also share responsibilities on performing household chores.
Another benefit it poses focuses on security. Since most people have different schedules, your home will unlikely be left empty. This is advantageous for protecting your home against intruders and losing your keys by accident.
Sharing one space with strangers can be a dream or a nightmare. That’s why I recommend finding the most compatible roommates for you. The only question is, how to find roommates in a new city?
How To Find a Roommate In A New City
There are several ways how to find roommates in a new city fast. If you are not sure where to start, here are a few effective methods you can use:
Search Through Social Networks
Social networking sites undeniably infiltrate our lives, and their popularity continues to skyrocket as the pandemic continues. According to Oberlo statistics, 3.96 billion people will use social media worldwide this 2022.
Since social networks are all about connection, your message can spread fast. So, there’s no better place to start finding a roommate than social networking sites. Facebook is one of the famous sites you can use, and you can begin the search by page or group.
Most government organizations create an official city page or group on Facebook to reach their community. You can engage with that page/group and ask anybody within your location who is looking for a rental property.
Craigslist is another social network you can take advantage of. It’s a classified advertisements website and under its housing section, you’ll find all the available apartments and housing for rent in different cities. You can post an ad yourself.
When creating an ad on Craigslist, make sure to include all the necessary information such as:
- Number of bedrooms and bathrooms
- Housing type
- Renting period
All information must be accurate and correct to prevent getting tagged as a rental listing scam.
You can also include your personality and some conditions (no smoking, allowing pets, etc.) to ensure you’ll get the most compatible roommates. Please remember that not everyone on social networking sites is sincerely looking for a roommate. Ensure not to share everything about your personal information.
Social networks aren’t only handy for finding reliable roommates. You can also use them to do a background check.
Why should you conduct a background check? It’s challenging to uncover the true identity of people just by interviewing them (face-to-face or phone). You can dig more information about their personalities, attitude, habits, and more through social media background checks.
LinkedIn is ideal for verifying their jobs. If you have no idea where to start, you can use search engine platforms like Google. Search their name, and the search engine result page will display all their social network accounts.
Tap Online Forums
Social networks are indeed helpful to find roommates, but you don’t have to limit your search to them. The internet is full of opportunities, so there are numerous platforms that you can tap on.
One of the top choices is online forums. It’s a messaging board where people can interact and exchange information about a specific topic. Since it’s an interest-centric platform, it makes it easier to search precisely what you’re looking for.
If you prefer roommates with the same line of work as you are, you can include the position title (ReactJS developers, freelance writer, frontline training staff, etc.) in the search phrase. Categories and threads that contain your search phrase will be displayed.
Most cities use Reddit to share vital information with their community. You can join the community you’re part of and post your own thread. You can complete your comment or post with links, texts, images, and videos.
Roommate Finding Apps
According to the recent research of Statista, there are 6.64 billion smartphone users in the world today.
That’s why more mobile applications are developed every day. You can take advantage of it by using a roommate finder app. Most of the app’s interface is similar to a dating app for ease of use.
Its system will act as the matchmaker and will send you suggestions. All suggestions are based on the information you’ve placed into your account – location, price, personal interest, and more.
RoomieMatch is great to start with because all its listings and user profiles are reviewed and moderated by actual humans. Therefore, you will unlikely encounter scammy individuals or bot-like content.
You can also consider the Roomi when you’re looking for a roommate finder app that includes background checks and a secure in-app messaging feature.
Go Through Your Social Circle
Not everyone is comfortable living with a complete stranger. If you feel the same, you can reach out to your social circle. It’s an excellent way to meet potential roommates that are vouched by someone you trust.
Social circles are your personal community. It primarily consists of family members, friends, and other closest allies. You can reach out to them through Facebook by posting a simple status.
Everyone in your friends’ connection will see your updated status. You can ask them for recommendations or share the post with their respective timelines and introduce you to their social circles. You can also do the same for other social media platforms.
You can also use video call apps like Zoom and Skype to use a more personal approach.
Tap Into Hobby Groups
It’s crucial to search for roommates that share the same interests as you are. It will make the adjustment period effortless and less likely to create conflicts.
So, why not find suitable roommates within your hobby groups? Whether you’re attending improv classes or creating vintage rubber stamp fonts, you can approach anyone within your close circle and ask if they are looking for a place to rent.
There are also hobby groups available online. Communication is similar to an online forum where you can freely discuss any topic. Most of these online hobby groups hold networking events. You can attend one of the events and get to know the attendees. There is only a small possibility to find a roommate in these events, but it’s nice to take a chance while having fun.
Communicating With Potential Roommates
Communicating with roommate applicants is the last stage of the process. In this stage, you must discuss all details relevant to your living situations to ensure you’ll both have a great experience. Here’s a list of information you can discuss:
Set Comfortable Standards
Setting comfortable standards is essential to maintain peace in the household. It’s primarily based on your personal preferences. However, you must also create a few from which both parties will agree and benefit.
Privacy boundaries are a topic you can start with. Everyone needs their personal space at some point, so make sure both parties respect it. You can also discuss each other’s behaviors to detect when one doesn’t want to get disturbed (close/lock doors, wear headphones, etc.).
Here are other standards you can set:
- Respect shared spaces: The bathroom, kitchen, and living room are the common areas you need to share with your roommates. Make it clear to them the things they can do and not – adding furniture or electronic devices, hanging of artworks, etc.
- Learn each other’s schedules: Planning ahead of time is the key to avoiding chaos within the household. Both of you must know your respective schedules to ensure you will not get into each other’s way. Don’t forget to include your normal waking and sleeping time too.
- Cleaning arrangement: The more people live in a house, the more clutter it can accumulate. What makes it worse, not everyone is a fan of cleaning. You can provide two options for your roommates – create a schedule or clean up your own mess.
- Take turns on trash duties: Create a schedule of which roommate will take out the trash every day or weekly. Make sure to equally assign the schedule based on the roommates’ available free time. This is to ensure they will give no excuse of why they couldn’t do it.
- Noise level: Noise is one of the common problems of roommates. Make sure you set an agreeable volume level (music and movie) to avoid getting reported from the neighbors while respecting each other’s quiet time.
- Build a plan when someone gets sick: Getting sick is normal for everyone. But of course, you need to create a plan to prevent it from spreading. Ensure to disinfect everything they touch, get enough supplies of adult and kids masks, deliver medicine or food outside their door, and maintain social distancing.
Look For Red Flags
Living with other people is a big commitment. That’s why you have to be 100% confident that you choose roommates that will not drive you crazy. How can you detect when a person is potentially a bad roommate?
Here are the common red flags that you should look out for:
- No job: You’re looking for roommates to split the expenses. If they don’t have a job, you might just end up spending more than saving. Therefore, you must ensure that your roommates have a consistent income to provide their share.
- Uncontrollable vices: Living with a roommate who struggles with smoking, alcohol, and drug addiction is challenging on so many levels. It won’t hurt to ask your potential roommate if they have vices. You can also observe their behavior if they show signs of substance abuse (bloodshot eyes, slurred speech, mood swings, hostility, etc.).
- They love to party until they drop: Sometimes it’s okay to party because it’s an effective way to relax with friends. But if this is a habit, you have to reject them because it will only create future conflicts. During the interview stage, ask them what they feel about partying and how often they do it.
- Disrespectful gestures: Communication is essential between roommates. If the potential roommate keeps on rolling their eyes, yawning, or glowering while you speak, it’s best to end the interview and move on.
- Refuse to give references: References are essential to learning more about the person’s personality, attitude, and renter history. If they don’t provide one, it only means trouble.
- Lack of personal hygiene: Good hygiene is vital to keep infectious diseases and germs from spreading. Therefore, it’s best to look for someone who can be on the same page as you are about cleanliness.
Establish Ground Rules
As the primary property renter, there are things that you can compromise, but there are some that you need to stand firm. Make sure to clear everything upfront by creating a set of ground rules.
Here are the top 5 rules you must implement:
- Pay the bills on time: Late payment of bills can accumulate interest or penalty fees. Make sure your roommates understand all the consequences and set a specific date when they should settle them. It’s also ideal to set the preferred payment method.
- Using each other’s personal belongings: For roommates of the same gender and size, borrowing personal belongings is common. Ensure to tell everyone to ask for permission first to the owner. Also, remind them of their duty to clean it after using or replacing it if they damage it.
- Policies for guests: It isn’t inevitable that you and your roommate’s respective friends, families, or significant other visits. Set a rule that everyone should notify each other in advance to avoid awkward situations or unpleasant surprises.
- Remind responsibilities of a pet owner: Some landlords and property renters accept roommates with pets. You must set some rules to remind them of all their responsibilities as a pet owner – like cleaning the litter box daily, grooming, and cleaning any mess they make. You can also designate a specific place for them to contain the mess. Also, include in the ground rule if you’re willing or not to pet sitting. Do not let your roommates assume that you will take care of their pets while they are away.
- Always communicate: Always keep open communication to prevent a misunderstanding from transforming into a big conflict. No one can read what’s on anyone’s mind. Therefore, encourage everyone to talk to you whenever a problem arises.
- Take responsibility for damages: It’s common to get an item damaged while using it. You just have to make sure that you have included on the ground rules what are the responsibilities you or your roommates have to take once it happens.
Once you’ve agreed upon all the rules, make sure to include everything in the roommate agreement contract. You can use a PDF editor to create and print the contract quickly.
How to find roommates in a new city? There are plenty of resources available where you can find one. And thanks to modern technology, the available resources increase rapidly.
However, not all resources are safe to use. You still have to rely on your instinct and careful background checking. Search engine platforms are a handy tool to find all possible social networks of the potential roommate.
You can also rely on rental property management companies to ensure your apartment or house listing is accessible to those who are looking for a place to rent. They can also ensure that all roommates’ legal responsibilities are met. Bay Property Management Group offers full-service property management in Northern Virginia, Washington DC, Baltimore, and Philadelphia.
If you have no idea where to start, never hesitate to ask for help from your family and friends. It’s never easy to find a roommate in a new city. It may take a lot of time and patience, but the guarantee you can get the most compatible roommate is worth the wait.
Burkhard Berger is the founder of Novum™. You can follow him on his journey from 0 to 100,000 monthly visitors on novumhq.com. His articles include some of the best growth hacking strategies and digital scaling tactics that he has learned from his own successes and failures.