Living alone is the dream of so many people in their twenties, but this is often not feasible. With the cost of rising rents and scarce jobs, people are taking roommates in their thirties and beyond. It becomes a common fact of life because people leave the house at 18, but are not ready to be financially independent enough to have their own household for at least a few decades.
Whether you choose a roommate for the first time or the thousandth, there is always room for improvement. After all, so many people have bad stories of roommates – ranging from home security issues to psychological issues – that it seems like the world would be a much better place if there was a better process of selection involved. So, here are some simple tips for choosing a roommate – and find out what to watch for.
Learn the language. Just as a "cute" apartment often means so small that you can touch all the walls at once, you should be fluent in strangers who are trying to convince you that they are fun to live with. Someone who is really "extrovert and energetic" and "it does not bother the parties" is likely to throw them a lot. Someone who "really tries to avoid the drama" but who "follows" him is going to be in the living room crying, or throwing plates at his boyfriend or girlfriend. Pay attention to the way people say things, not what they actually say, and you can save yourself a lot of grief.
Make things clear. If you have a home alarm system and expect it to be settled daily by the last person in the house, say so. If you do not want there to be guests for the night except a few times a week, say so clearly. If you do not share your food, tell someone immediately. Especially if you are looking to fill vacant rooms in an apartment or house where your name is on the lease, keeping things clear are absolutely critical. They will also make clear to someone from the start that you are serious and that you could avoid flakes.
Get it in writing. This is practically the most important advice for someone who is not yet 40 years old and who is jaded. If you have not experienced it yet, someone will always take advantage of you in a situation where something is not written. Avoid this by signing contracts. It's as much a part of home security as locking your doors. And be sure to obtain a security deposit from anyone who rents a room in a property where your name is on the lease. Likewise,
Do not put your name on public services. Do not do that. It's a bad decision, because if you're the person on the lease and the person on all the bills, it's a huge liability for you if people stop paying things on time. Try to spread it at least if there is a problem, it will not be related to your name. This is especially important for people who rent to the university to realize, as a number of crooks aspiring to twenty-something like to play the game where they claim that they could not have utilities in their name, only to stiffen you for rent, cable and electric.