If you’ve rented you’ll be familiar with this sticky situation – one of your current housemates has informed you they’re intending to bounce and now you’ve got to hustle a new roomie before the next rent is due. The decision is a particularly stressful one – if you don’t have a roommate from hell story you’re pretty freaking lucky. Luckily, Society19 has some tried and tested tips that’ll maximise your chances of picking a new roommate who won’t kill your vibe!
1.) Decide what you’re looking for!
The first step for increasing your chances of success is really pondering who you want to live with. Cohabitating isn’t easy – you’ve got to share the same space, lean on each other when the going gets tough and deal with the inevitable baggage they’ve accrued in life.
Shakespeare wrote about two households both alike in dignity – if you want your sharehouse to not end up like Romeo+Juliet get real about what you need. Do you want non stop partying or complete silence? How much importance do you place on cleanliness or are you guilty of letting dishes pile up? Do you need to be friends with the people you’re living with or are you just looking for someone who can make rent on time?
If you’ve got other roomies it’s a great idea to get on the same page. Trying to find someone who pleases everyone isn’t impossible if you communicate clearly. My roommate and I did a useful exercise, both spending five minutes writing down what we looking for a potential cohabitant separately and then convening to determine our essential criteria.
2.) Use the right platforms!
We live in the age of hyper-connectivity so take advantage of it! Unlike previous generations, we don’t have to rely on newspaper listings and word of mouth to find the perfect match.
Facebook groups are a godsend in this quest. For example, Melbourne’s humble Fairy Floss Real Estate contains thousands of aspiring renters searching for new digs and the opportunity to post an opening at your place publically.
3.) Optimise interviews and inspections!
Unfortunately, the competitive nature of the rental market and time-sensitive nature of making a decision ensures some difficult decisions. Often, you’ll only have time for a limited number of in-person interviews so try to sound out potential candidates with screening questions to ensure suitability. My roommate eventually narrowed our interested pool of roughly 30 applicants down to six in-person inspections.
During the in-person interviews, it’s important to maximise the limited time you have together. Obviously, you want to show them around the residence but the most important part of this process is determining chemistry. Make sure you’re transparent about the decision-making process moving forward. Brutal honesty is important, so ask difficult questions now! You don’t want to find out they plan to use your house as their new recording studio or a criminal hideout after they’ve signed the lease. Both of those situations are true stories.
4.) Go with your gut and make up your mind!
Once you’ve met everyone, it’s time to narrow down to the final two to three candidates to send some in-depth follow-up questions. This can test enthusiasm and suitability, as many aspiring renters are often attending multiple inspections. Trust your gut, talk to your remaining roommates and then make your choice after considering the following.
5.) I Got New Rules I Count Em!
Three essential requirements for potential housemate are universal. Firstly, they obviously have to be in a position of financial security so they can make rent and bills – so don’t be afraid to ask for proof. Secondly, they have to be in total agreement regarding the rules and expectations of the house. Finally, you have to genuinely believe you could cope with seeing them every single day – if you wouldn’t want to break bread with them you certainly don’t want to live with them.
Sometimes, it’s impossible to find the perfect match. However, following this guide can improve your chances of finding that new Netflix partner, trusted confidant and shoulder to cry on. Good luck!