Living with a roommate can help keep housing costs affordable while also giving you someone to share life with—but it's extremely important to find the right one! Here are some tips for finding a Chicagoland roommate who is responsible, safe, and compatible with your own personality.
Work Your Network
It's easier to move in with someone you already know than to move in with a complete stranger, so start your search "close to home." Spread the word among friends and family members that you're looking for a roommate. You never know whose cousin, friend, brother, or sister may be looking for a roommate, too.
Apps To Help You Out
If you've exhausted your network and need to find a stranger to befriend as a future roommate, there are a several apps designed to help you out:
Easy Roommate has linked up more than 5 million roommates to date. You fill out a profile and search for local roommates who are seeking similar living arrangements.
Roomster lets you list your extra bedroom. This app is great if you've already leased an apartment and are looking for someone else to move in after-the-fact. Potential roommates will contact you, and you can interview them as you desire.
Roomie Match lets you review profiles of potential matches. Past roommates can leave users ratings, so you can learn from others' experiences.
Compatibility is Key
Don't feel obligated to jump into a rental agreement with the first potential roommate you find. Take time to explore your options. Try to get a few potential roommates lined up, either through personal connections or by using an app, and then narrow down your choices. Definitely meet in person and ask your potential roommate plenty of questions, like:
How messy or neat are you?
Do you cook at home or eat out a lot?
Do you tend to have a lot of friends over?
What hours do you work?
A Few Precautionary Tips
So, you've met someone who you think you’re compatible with. How do you make sure that person is going to pay rent on time and treat you and the apartment with respect? Here are some tips:
Dig into their social media. Check out their Facebook and Twitter profiles to make sure they are who they say they are.
Ask for references. Is there an old roommate you can talk to? If nobody is willing to vouch that this person is a good roommate or tenant, that's a potential red flag.
Put everything in writing. Sign a contract that says what day rent is due, how it will be paid, and how much will be paid. Include who pays for utilities, how often you'll clean, how you'll split groceries, etc.
Also remember that formal notification to the property management is necessary when bringing in a new roommate. New lease paperwork will have to be drawn up and the new roommate will have to submit to a normal background check.
Searching for a roommate is a bit like dating. A great match is out there, but you have to put some effort into finding the right match! Do you have any additional tips for finding the right one? Let us know in the comments below!