Roommates: Finding them, liking them & living with them

Moving out and need a roommate? Read this complete guide on finding people & living with them. Resources, tips and how to live with your bf/gf.

When I first starting looking for my apartment I was looking for roommates to lower the cost. I had so much trouble finding some great roommates that I ended up moving in alone. Six months later my boyfriend moved in, and in six months we're moving again, and this time we need to find some roommates. 

If you are looking into moving out, start with this post then come back here if you're looking for some roomies.

How to Find a Great Roommate

Craigslist seems sketchy. There I said it. I'm sure most of the people on there are not mass murders or aliens, but I can't help feeling like it's not the safest way to find someone. So where can we find some decent people?

There are three websites I think are non-sketchy, well designed and easy to use.

  1. Roommates
  2. Roomster
  3. EasyRoommate
These sites are great but it can still be hard to find someone to match you. So, these are some of my tips for you
  • Fill out ALL of your profile. Every single bit. Go overboard. The more other people know about you, the better they will be able to determine if you two would be a good match. Plus if everyone started to do that, it'd be easier for everyone on the site. Complete your profile.
  • Be honest. If you're messy, tell everyone. Nothing says conflict like someone thinking they're moving in with an OCD clean freak and getting a lazy messy person. Fill out your profile honestly so there are no surprises. Also in the be honest category - if you get an offer for someone to be a roommate & you aren't feeling the vibe, tell them no. Better now than 5 months into living together.
  • You're not looking for a bestie, just a roomie. There's some awesome situations where you can become best friends with your roommate(s). However more than likely you won't be. The idea is to find someone you can live with. Someone who won't mess with your stuff, does their fair share of chores and agrees to the same rules you do. Find someone who will make a good roommate, not a great friend and an ok roommate.
Even with all those tips and websites, finding a roommate can still be tough. Which is why you should also consider looking for someone you already know.

Post on facebook, ask friends, ask family, co-workers, classmates. Find someone you know who has a similar schedule to you. If you have a single co-worker who could be a roomie, that means carpooling. A cousin? Carpool to family gatherings. You won't know unless you ask, so find out if anyone you know is looking for a place to live.

P.S. When in doubt, pray it out! 

Learning to Like Your Roommate

It doesn't matter how well you search, or how amazing your roommate is, they will drive you crazy. At some point there will be a disagreement, or maybe you'll just plain not like them. It can be tough, but here are some tips for learning to like your roommate, even when you hate them.

  • Ignore flaws. No one is perfect, you're not either. Maybe they don't turn lights off or forget to shut blinds. If it's a small problem, ignore it! First ask them to do (or stop doing) those things, but if it continues, just leave it alone. It takes less time to turn a light off than it will to argue about it every time they forget. Don't let little stuff bother you and you'll both be more happy.
  • Spend time with them. Get to know your roommate, find things in common. It'll be easier to live together when you actually enjoy being around each other.
  • Stay away. Maybe you hung out and you don't get along with each other. That's OKAY! Just do your own thing and be civil. You don't have to be besties, you just have to live in the same place. You don't have to watch shows together or eat together, just do your thing, and let them do theirs.
  • Talk about it! If there are things bothering you, don't hold them in only to freak out over something small later on. Bring up the little things when you first move in so you both know what annoys each other. It'll save a lot of fights later.
  • Sign a 6-month lease first. If you're not sure how you'll get along sign a shorter lease and renew later if everything goes well. If you don't like each other at the end of the 6 months, start a new search.
  • Be open. Accept that everyone is different and you may not get along with your roommate. Keep this all in mind when you decide to move in with someone

** If you can't handle living with someone, stay put & save money until you can move out by yourself. **

Establish some ground rules

Make a contract right away. Agree to rules and chores, have everyone sign it, and stick to it! You can build a contract easily at THIS website.

The form builder makes it's super easy to add rules (and gives you some ideas for them). Plus you can add payments and utilities to the contract as well!

Make a contract even if your roommate is your best friend. Making rules will help you both establish what you expect from each other and will help you avoid conflicts later on.

ikea haul

Be sure to agree on pets, visitors, furniture, and shared items

These may seem like no big deal but it's best to get them out of the way from the start.

Furniture can be a huge topic, especially if neither of you have all your furniture ready when you move. If you need a bed, couch, TV, table, chairs, kitchen supplies and everything else, you'll have to work with your roommate on it. Figure out who's buying what. Do not split the costs! If you both put $200 toward a new couch, then move out at the end of your lease... who gets the couch?

Make a list of everything you have to buy and try to split the list down the middle based off cost. For example, one person buys the $400 couch and the other buys the $200 kitchen tables & chairs and the $200 TV stand. That way when you go your seperate ways, you can take your stuff with no issues.

Ikea can be a great place to get furniture while your younger & living with roommates. It's cheap, simple and easy to move. My boyfriend and I did a huge Ikea haul (in the photo). We got a bed frame, tv stand, coffee table, side table, and a bunch of decorating stuff for $600. Way less than what we would've spent at another store.

Living with a Significant Other

boyfriend and me
boyfriend and me

One way to avoid moving in with a total stranger is to move in with your significant other. My boyfriend has moved back to Colorado and living with me. So far it's been great but living with a significant other can be tough. These are our tips for surviving such a big change.

1. Realize your relationship will hit a new level.

They will see you without makeup. They'll see you when your stressed out in sweats trying to do your accounting homework. And they will also watch you pig out on oreos after  a long week. If those things make you uncomfortable, find a different roommate.

2. Plan on Forever

My boyfriend and I have been together almost 4 years. We are getting married when I finish college, and if it wasn't for school, we'd probably be married already. We know that we're going to get engaged sooner than later and we're positive we want to spend the rest of our lives together. If you don't know if you'll be with your bf/gf in a month, moving in probably isn't a great idea.

3. Don't do it just because it's easy

It seems like a good idea to move in together. You'll save money and you get to spend more time together. Don't make the choice just because it's convenient. If you have ANY doubts, it's probably a good idea to wait. Move in for the right reasons, not the easy ones.

4. You'll find out things about each other you never knew

Snoring. Not doing chores. How late they sleep in on their days off. Not all of it is bad, but there will be things you find out about each other that you may be less than thrilled about. A great example from my boyfriend - "Your hair is everywhere". He's right, too. I'm surprised there's still hair left on my head. Get ready to find out things that drive you nuts about each other.

One way to get past those annoying habits is to tell each other what bothers you. My boyfriend never turned on the porch light, I told him, now he does it. No harm, no foul. It'll save an argument in a few months when I'm so annoyed by it that I explode. Which leads me to my last tip...

5. Be Honest and Open

You have to have great communication. Tell him/her when sometime is bugging you. Talk about money, talk about chores, talk about pets, kids, the future, everything! If you're on the same page, living together will be a breeze.

Happy thanksgiving! Now go eat turkey :)

That's everything for now. Best of luck finding a roommate. Let me know in the comments if you have any questions or tips for finding a good roomie!

[photo credit: smbuckley23 via photopincc edits by steph]