Sharing a house with someone can be a fun, rewarding experience especially for the young and the young of heart, as popularized by beloved sitcoms like Friends, Will and Grace, and The Big Bang Theory, to name a few. These TV shows often present hilarious and exciting adventures with housemates. Sharing a house with somebody can be as enjoyable as these TV shows portray them to be – if you find the right one.
Nowadays, housemates are fast becoming popular, not just for the young; the young at heart are also warming up to the idea of house sharing, as apparent by the rise of many websites that promote house sharing for different age groups.
So, whether you’re a Leonard in the hunt for your Sheldon, a Rachel looking for your Monica, or Grace trying to find your Will, below are some suggestions to get you started in your search for the perfect housemate.
Look at your first degree of connections.
Your family and friends are the people you know and spend most of your time with, so start your search with them. If you end up with your friend or family member as a housemate, you already know their habits, and they know yours. This familiarity makes for an easy transition for both parties.
Ask friends about traits they look out for in good housemates
Chances are you and your close friends share the same opinion over many things, the perfect housemate included. Asking your friends their view of what they think are the qualities of an ideal housemate might bring up some points that you missed and give you something to ponder.
Look at your second degree of connections
If your search within your close circle was fruitless, you now want to spread the word to people that your friends and family know.
Friends who know of someone who is looking
Never underestimate the power of social connections, especially in this age of social media. Ask your friends and family for help by having them post your request on their respective social media accounts. It wouldn’t be surprising for you to get responses within a few days from people interested in being your housemate.
Are you up to moving in with strangers?
A survey of 10,000 respondents in Australia conducted by Flatmates revealed 47% of the respondents prefer living with strangers instead of living with friends. Living with a friend can lead to breakups if the situation goes sour. But you want to ask yourself if you’re comfortable living with someone you don’t know, especially if this is your first time sharing a house. If your honest answer is yes, you can post advertisements on various social platforms or websites that cater to these things.
Be honest when advertising for a housemate.
Honesty is the best policy when posting an announcement for a housemate because, if not, you might end up living with someone you do not get along with.
Be honest about yourself
Put your cards out on the table when writing about yourself. Describe yourself objectively; this means including both your good and bad qualities. For example, you want to cover your habits (smoking, vaping, light sleeper), your pets (dogs, cats, etc.), and other things you think might be of significance.
Remember that somebody is also on the lookout for someone they can get along with on the other side of your advertisement.
Be honest with what kind of housemate you’re looking for
As you were honest with yourself, make sure that you are straightforward and realistic about the type of housemate you are searching for. If you can, ask a close friend to read your advertisement and give you some constructive criticism.
Be honest when describing the living environment
Be as objective as you can when penning down a description of the house. Include points such as the location of the nearest transportation stop, the general ambiance of the place, and any other good points your home has, such as an ensuite bathroom, big rooms, cable, fast internet, to name a few.
Take your time and ask the right questions
Meeting your potential housemate, whether face to face or online, gives you an excellent opportunity to ask questions and get a feel for the person you will live with. Take your time to think of things that you want to ask and discuss with your potential housemate; better yet, write your points and questions to make sure that you don’t forget. Below are some suggestions of the questions that you might want to ask.
How seriously are you taking social distancing?
Many stories made it to the news about housemates fighting over their opinions on coping with COVID-19. Ask your potential housemate what their view is with the virus situation and decide whether you can live with the same philosophy.
How often do you cook?
Having a housemate who cooks is great, but make sure that you set rules such as additional gas or electricity contribution, cleaning up, etc. Setting up arrangements early on will prevent misunderstandings in the future.
Do you work from home?
People who work from home might need a different set of living arrangements because they sometimes have to do online meetings and need a quiet environment when working. Knowing this ahead of time can give you time to make concessions to make the living arrangements work.
Working from home also means that your roommate will always be in the house. Having someone in the house all the time is a point to consider, especially if you’re an introvert and prefer a lot of alone time.
Do you have any pets?
If you like pets as well, this shouldn’t be an issue; however, if you are allergic to a particular type of pet, it might be something that you want to know ahead of time.
How often do you have friends over?
Having a “few” friends over might mean something different for both of you. Make sure that you are both clear on what this means. And if it’s acceptable for both, lay some ground rules to follow such as how many days your housemate should give notice, how many people can come over, what time they should leave, to name a few.
How will you pay for rent?
The question about money is a complicated topic, but it’s something that you should discuss. You want to make sure that your potential housemate has the means to pay their share every month because you want somebody who will not be a burden to you financially.
Can you put down a deposit?
If your potential housemate is willing to put down a deposit, it’s a good sign that your potential housemate is serious about living with you. It also means that this person has the financial means to contribute to the household expenses.
Reference checks serve as third-party confirmation that you have indeed found your perfect housemate. Taking the time to check references can also save you from future problems with the person you’re going to be living with as things are not always what they seem.
Look out for red flags
When looking for your housemate, be on the lookout for the following red flags that have the potential to cause friction in your living arrangements:
- Having a lot of falling out with a lot of roommates in the past
- Messy and unhygienic
- Not having a stable job
- Being a party animal
As with love, there is no perfect housemate, only a housemate that’s perfect for you. So, keep on looking because your potential housemate might just be around the corner.