How to Choose Your Ideal Roommate

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It might be more financially feasible to share a two-bedroom apartment and split costs rather than affording a place of your own. If that’s the case, finding a well-matched roommate is essential for maintaining a relaxing and stress-free home.

Taking some time to think through what you want and interview a few potential candidates might mean the difference between a traumatic situation and a perfect pairing. Follow our guide to start out on the right foot.

Rent Is Your #1 Priority
Ultimately, you are choosing to live with a roommate in order to reduce your cost of living so this has to be a key factor in your decision. Make sure your candidates have a steady job. A credit or reference check might be a good idea, as well, to confirm financial reliability.

Prepare a solid estimate of monthly costs, including rent and utilities. Decide if you also want to split groceries, streaming services and other non-traditional expenses. (See our Pro Tip On Budgeting for a complete expenses breakdown.)

A Friend as A Roommate Isn’t Likely as Fun as It Sounds
It’s a story as old as time – most people who have decided to move in with a friend have ultimately regretted the decision. The recipe for a best friend is usually not the same as for a good roommate. Annoying habits, financial stability and lifestyle routines are likely not things you’ve had to deal with together before and could cause serious conflict. Don’t risk it!

Your friends might be great resources for finding a roommate, however. Recommendation of their coworkers or relatives who are looking for a place to live can offer far more trustworthy options than a random ad.

Complimentary Lifestyles
You should identify your deal-breakers before you begin your interview process, perhaps even before you place an ad. Is cleanliness a priority? Will late hours annoy you? Are you a light sleeper? Is an alternating schedule preferred so you can have the apartment to yourself more often? Are pets ok? Is socializing welcomed? Is a work-from-home environment acceptable?

Knowing exactly what you want and what you don’t can save a lot of headache down the line. On the flip side, be candid about any of your own habits that might be potential stressors.

The Right Apartment Matters
Finally, make sure you find the right apartment for a roommate scenario. Ensure there is room for privacy, all of your mutual belongings (and maybe has storage for overlap) and your sanity. If you like to cook, make sure you have plenty of elbow room for two. If possible, look for apartments with bedrooms that don’t share walls, have two bathrooms and possibly even two floors.

If you’re looking for a roommate after you’ve already secured a place, no worries – just make sure you address these issues in your interview.

Due to close quarters, your relationship with a roommate can be as important as other significant relationships in your life. If you keep in mind that compatibility is the most important factor in this liaison, you should be able to find someone that suits your needs well.

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