Apartment-hunting can be tricky, especially when you’re on a budget. Renting with a roommate can make this process a bit easier. Unless you have a friend to split the rent with, you’ll likely search for a roommate on Craigslist, Facebook, or a similar site.
But how do you know that person is safe to live with?
Whenever you’re looking for a roommate online, be sure to take a few precautions. By doing so, you can screen potential roommates and ensure that you’re entering a healthy living situation.
Ask around first
Before you take to the internet, consider asking your friends and co-workers if they know anyone who’s looking for a roommate. Getting a referral from someone else puts a potential roommate a step above prospects on the internet. It can also save you quite a bit of time. If you receive names during this process, ask the potential roommate to get coffee. You might end your search there, as long as the person has the same priorities as you. Otherwise, you can get back online to continue the search.
Know what to look for
The right roommate will have a similar lifestyle to you and share many of the same values. So, be sure to make a list of what you’re looking for in a roommate. You might need to prefer to live with someone who is clean or enjoys a healthy lifestyle. If you have a pet, it’s important that your roommate is comfortable with animals. Knowing the main qualities that your ideal apartment mate would have will make your search a bit easier.
Run a basic background check
When you start making contact with possible roommates, be sure to validate their identity and run an online background check. The best free background check will bring up arrest records, mugshots, or other factors that might raise red flags. You may also find basic contact information and social media profiles, so you can confirm that they are who they say they are. Taking this essential step will keep you safe while you arrange meetings with strangers.
Meet up before signing a lease
Even if a potential roommate looks perfect online or has already found your ideal apartment, you should still meet up in person. Otherwise, you could sign a lease and be stuck in an uncomfortable situation. Meeting for coffee will allow you to get to know your potential roommate and learn more. You can learn what you have in common, what their main interests are, and what you are looking for in a living situation. This in-person interaction may be the deciding factor in whether you can see yourself living with someone. And if you’re feeling nervous about meeting up, feel free to bring a friend with you.
Trust your gut
Living with someone is about more than just shared values and a similar lifestyle. You want to enjoy living with them as well. When you meet a potential roommate, assess how you feel around that person. Do they make you feel at ease? Are they easy to talk with? Do they seem to have effective communication skills? If your gut feels off about someone, it’s generally a sign that you might not be connecting. Trust these feelings, because ignoring your instincts might lead you into a situation that isn’t right for you.
The internet is a great place to connect with others and meet potential roommates. However, it’s essential to be smart in your search. By staying sharp and taking general precautions, you can sign a lease with certainty. Then you can enjoy the financial ease of splitting the rent and the joy of happily sharing a living space.