Alice, How Do I Find a Good Roommate?

Alice, How Do I Find a Good Roommate?

Ask Alice
Mar 19, 2015
(Image credit: Shutterstock / Allard Laban)

Dear Alice,

I am looking for a roommate so I can hopefully save some money and buy a condo. I am 26 years old and past the "party" phase of my life. I take great pride in my living space and having a clean bathroom relaxes me. I need help finding a good roommate who shares my same desire for a clean and tidy space (I've had very bad roommate experiences in the past). I cannot live with a friend because they are all locked into leases, therefore I need to look for a stranger to live with which worries me. I moved into the 2 bedroom basement I live in now about two months ago. My landlord is fine with me getting a roommate and even said I would be able to set my roommates rent. How can I find a clean and respectful roommate and not get stuck with a messy party animal????
Thanks so much,
Responsible Roommate Wanted

Dear RRW,

Let me start by saying this: the roommate relationship is a two-way street. You also need to be a good roommate and that means remembering that your apartment will be this person's home, too. It's great that you take pride in your space but you will probably need to make some compromises and loosen up a little when there is another person involved. You will never find a clone of you to move in, so you need to do you best to find someone with similar values and lifestyle, set up ground rules that you both accept and then work on your patience when problems arise (as they inevitably will). That is what comes with the territory when you get help with the rent.

Now, as far as finding the right candidate, I would start with your circle of friends; it's always helpful to have the "vouch" factor. Put it out there on Facebook or at work that you have a room available and you may just avoid moving in with a complete stranger after all. Make sure to take your time and carefully interview each potential person. Talk about things like your hope for a low-key, non-partying pad and a clean environment and make sure you are both on the same page. Please don't make it into a situation where it's "your" apartment so you get to set the rules. You're a team. Also, ask for references and check them.

One more thing: even though your landlord said you can set the rent, don't try to gouge your new roommate. That's not cool and it's bad karma.

Good luck!


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