You’re finally planning on moving out of your parents’ house, you’ve finished uni and have found a job in your university city, or you’re already in a house share and looking for a new housemate. Whatever the situation, you need a housemate soon and you need a good one. So, how do you go about choosing your new roomie? Our top tips for finding ‘The One’ (or more) are below.
If you know you’re going to be wanting to move into a house share in six months’ time, now is the time to start looking for someone to live with. The last thing you want is a last-minute rush scenario, where you end up having to live with anyone who’s available! Plan ahead, take your time to decide on who might be suitable, and don’t make any rash decisions.
Before you start looking for a housemate or flatmate you need to decide what qualities you would like them to have. Keep it sensible — while finding a housemate that shares your adoration of a niche indie band might be cool, it’s not very likely, and would narrow your options down to nothing. Instead consider whether you want them to be introverted or extroverted, whether you’d rather they enjoy quiet nights in or big nights out (or a bit of both), and whether they can cook. Are you happy with them being a smoker? Will they have friends over often? These are all important things to think about.
When it comes to housework, be honest with yourself about how clean and tidy you are and choose a housemate who seems to live in a similar manner — an obsessive cleaner and a messy person who is happy to leave dishes in the sink and crumbs on the floor would be a terrible combination!
Do you have pets? Do you want to live with pets? If your landlord allows pets, these are very important things to consider when choosing a new housemate. If they have a dog for example, and you don’t like dogs or are allergic, then they can instantly be scratched off the list.
While advertising for a housemate online or in a newspaper might provide you with lots of candidates, it’s not always the best way to find your ideal match. Try asking friends and family if they know of anyone, ask around at work, or advertise at a club you attend.
This may sound obvious to some, but it’s an important point so I’ll say it anyway — always meet potential housemates in person. They might seem ideal over the phone or through chat, but it’s often much easier to get the true measure of someone face-to-face. You can also see if you ‘click’ and ask all those questions you may have felt too uncomfortable to ask straight away in your previous communications.
You might be tempted to avoid talk of finances until after you’ve moved in together, but actually it is sensible to get it all sorted out beforehand. Agree on a rent split as well as how you intend to split the bills and other household costs, should you move in together. While you’re chatting, find out if they are currently employed and where (and what hours they work). If not, are they planning on getting a job soon? These are good indicators of if there will be any potential money issues ahead.
If you are moving in to a house share that is already established, or the last to join a group who will be moving in together soon, make sure you meet every single housemate before you agree to move in. While you might have met two of them, and you all got on well, the third housemate could be your worst nightmare!
Overall, you just need to talk to each prospective housemate until you’ve got all the information you need to make an informed decision. You may be living with this person for a long time, so make sure you take the time to make the right choice first time and enjoy your house share!
Are you new to house sharing? Here are some etiquette tips you might want to know!