Finding a Roommate Situation that Works

Consider whether you want to find a roommate or be the roommate.
Finding a roommate can be a lot of work. If you're renting in a densely populated or expensive city, you'll likely have many applicants for a potential roommate, requiring plenty of interviews and ultimate decision-making about selecting the ideal roommate. If you don't have the time or energy to undertake a roommate hunt, consider answering ads instead of placing an ad. The difference is that if you're trying to find a roommate with an apartment instead of being the one having an apartment and looking for a roommate, you generally have less control over the situation.

Try a roommate finder service to narrow down applicants.
Most large cities and college campuses have various roommate finders that can help you find a roommate. is one of the largest roommate finders, but you can also use your local or other local groups to find a roommate. If you want to increase your chances at finding the perfect roommate, advertise in many spots.

Place an ad on a roommate finder, but also place ads on local coffee shop bulletin boards, grocery stores, local online forums and meetup groups, or a local college campus. If you post ads all over the place, you'll have many more applicants to review and interview, but you've also got a better chance to find a roommate you'll really like.

When trying to find a roommate, use a selective interview process.
It's not unreasonable to do extensive interviewing for roommates, or for being selective instead of just taking the first qualified applicant who comes along. You'll typically be living with your roommate for at least a year, so you want to find a roommate with whom you get along.

Discuss important living considerations. How do you want to handle chores? Is there a fund for household purchases, or do you and your roommates take turns buying things like toilet paper and dish soap? Are you or your potential roommate a vegetarian, and how is that going to affect cooking in your home? How do you feel about smoking? Think about these living considerations before you begin interviews to find a roommate, and decide how flexible you want to be about these issues.

Discuss conflict-resolution, and ask for references.
Living with someone is a serious consideration, so you owe it to yourself to consider all the factors when you're trying to find a roommate. Does your potential roommate have good conflict-resolution skills? Ask how your potential roommate has handled conflicts in the past. Ask why he or she is leaving the current living arrangements. Most importantly, ask for references. Talk to former roommates to discover any bad habits, or an inability to resolve problems that should trigger a warning flag for you. Asking these questions isn't unreasonable; it's the best way to ensure you find a roommate you'll be able to live with.

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