Melanie has a BS in physical science and is in grad school for analytics and modeling. She also runs a YouTube channel: The Curious Coder.
One of the best ways to cut the cost of rent is by having a roommate. However, it may be difficult to find a roommate that meets your personal requirements. Think about it: there are many different types of people with different lifestyles and it's important to find someone that's easy to get along with and is able to pay the bills on time.
You'll also want this person to be someone you can trust in your home. Because of this, finding the perfect roommate can sometimes be a little harder than it sounds.
Finding a person who fits the bill can be made easier by looking in the right places and by being prepared for the kinds of things a potential roommate will want to know about the living situation. After you become more prepared for living with a new roommate, you'll find that finding a roommate will be a much easier task.
Dividing the Costs
Before even looking for a roommate, you'll want to figure how you want to divide the household expenses. Do you plan on dividing the rent in half or based on the size of the room the person will be occupying (this is helpful if one of the rooms is much larger than the other.) How do you plan on dividing the cost of utilities? Usually the cost of utilities is split evenly between all the roommates. These may seem like the only costs you'll need to divide up, but you'll want to think of common-use items.
If you plan on sharing a bathroom, you will want to figure out ahead of time how things like toilet paper and laundry detergent will be paid for. Also, you will want to decide on whether or not certain foods like milk and bread will be communal or if each person will be required to purchase their own. If you're not quite sure how to divide up the cost, ask your friends and family for their opinions on how common use items will be paid for.
What Kind of Roommate Do You Want?
You'll want to take a look at the way you live in order to find the kind of roommate you would like to have. If you are a non-smoker and do not like to be around cigarette smoke, you may want to only consider other non-smokers as roommates. Will you accept pets into your home? If so, what kind are you willing to have and how many? Are you okay with having parties at your house or would you like a quieter living environment?
Take a self-inventory of the kind of lifestyle you live and the kinds of lifestyles you're willing to invite into your home. If you are unsure, ask your friends what types of roommates they think would suit your lifestyle.
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Where to Find a Roommate
Once you figure out how you would like to divide up the costs and what types of people you would be willing to live with, the next step is actually finding a roommate.
Ask around: Ask your friends and family members if they know of anyone who may be interested in moving in with you. This is one of the best ways to find a roommate, because you'll get to know a little bit about the person before hearing from them.
Place ads: There are tons of places you can place an ad for a roommate. If you live in a college town, you'll find there is no shortage of bulletin boards to post on. Local newspapers are also a great place to submit a listing. You also may want to try posting your ad online. Many social networks and websites allow you to post your ad at no cost.
Check out the classifieds: One nice part of finding a roommate is that many people looking for a new place to live also post ads. Take a look in the real estate section of your local paper. You may find a few people who are looking for a place to live. Online classified sites often have a "roommate wanted" section where those looking for a place to live post their ads. Take a look at these ads, you may find the perfect roommate from one of these sites.
Roommate services: If you live in a college town, there may be roommate finder services in your area. If not, there are several websites that offer listings for people looking for a place to live as well as listings for those looking for an extra roommate. These places are definitely worth a look as their sole purpose is to aid people in finding roommates.
Interviewing Potential Roommates
When you find someone who is interested in becoming your roommate, you'll want to interview them to make sure they will be a good fit for your living situation.
It's best to start by screening the applicant by phone to get an idea of what kind of person they are. This way you can get a look at the kind of living situation they are looking for and whether or not they meet your qualifications. It's important to be polite, even if the person seems like a terrible fit. If a person doesn't seem like they will work out, don't schedule a face-to-face meeting. This will be a waste of both your time and his/her time.
If the telephone interview goes well, invite the person to see the apartment or house. Here you can ask his or her more questions. You will also get a look at the person to see if they are a good match. Also, this is where you can get a good idea of the person's lifestyle. This is also a good time to ask for references from their previous roommates and landlords. You will also want to ask where the applicant is employed. Before you invite the applicant to live in your home, you will want to verify their employment so you can be assured that the bills will be paid on time.
© 2011 Melanie Shebel
jadugan from Radford, Virginia on April 05, 2011:
I recently had to do this very thing and it is not easy. I was able to use Craigslist and the local university also had a website that was dedicated to housing needs. I met some creepers, I definitely suggest seeing the place you might live in and always asking the hard questions!
Melanie Shebel (author) from Midwest, USA on January 24, 2011:
I'm happy you all found this hub useful! It's always great to hear such nice comments!
amybradley77 on January 20, 2011:
This is all so very useful, good advise too. The roommate finder internet information, is really impressive. Thanks again. A.B.
Hello, hello, from London, UK on January 17, 2011:
Super, genuine advice. Thank you.
FStevens from London on January 17, 2011:
If you're in the UK spareroom.com is by far the best way to find new room mates!
H P Roychoudhury from Guwahati, India on January 16, 2011:
The hub has given a lot of valuable affective suggestion.