Moving out of your parents home is one of the most exciting moments in your young adult life. When you finally make the decision to move out (or your parents make the decision for you), you’ll be taking on a lot more responsibility. Part of that is you’ll need to budget for the future costs of your own place. You may even consider having multiple roommates to soften the blow of the increased costs.
Finding the “perfect” roommate
Rooming with family and friends is always a safe place to start as there is already a built-in layer of trust. That being said, a great friend, may not equal a great roommate. You’re going to want to find out if you are compatible. Have a discussion with them on your likes, dislikes, social schedule, habits and lifestyle.
If you are putting an ad out for a roommate, you’ll want to make sure you interview them multiple times and have references to call. Looking up their social media and other online sources will also be a good idea to see if you’ll get along and have similar interests. Consistent employment will also be important to be sure they can pay for their portion of the rent and expenses.
Even though you want this to be a relaxed relationship and agreement. You should put things in writing so you know what you expect from one another. You also don’t want to be liable for your roommates’ wrong doings. Both of you will be happier by making it official.
Communication is key
You are adults not mind readers. If you have something to say, say it. Most problems can be fixed by simply discussing it openly. If you let things boil under the surface, they begin to fester. This causes resentment and hurt feelings, which could have been avoided if you just had a conversation about it. Secondly, if your roommate opens up to you about an issue, make sure you listen. Nothing more damaging than having someone be vulnerable with you and you are looking at your phone or you talk over them with your “advice” or problems.
“JOEY DOESN’T SHARE FOOD!”
As silly as this may sound, your food is your food and their food is their food. This may be petty, but little things like eating your roommates last banana or drinking their last beer, may cause a potential rift.
Just hanging out
Even though you’re roommates and you see each other every day. It doesn’t mean you have to be “besties” and hang out all the time. After a long day, certain people need quiet time to re-energize, and certain people need to be “out” and social to decompress. That is why you need to prioritize “you” time. It’s okay to spend some time apart and do what’s best for you.
Exchange emergency information
Since you are roommates, naturally, you will know more about each other than anyone. Their habits, routines, schedules. It’s a good idea to exchange emergency information in case something happens and you need each other’s support.
And lastly, how do you handle the insurance?
“I never thought you’d ask!“
When you rent a place (or own), it is important to buy an insurance policy to protect your assets. Whether it be your home, your belongings or liability; you should have insurance coverage in place to protect yourself from future financial hardship. It is also your roommates responsibility to make sure they insure their own property. Do not assume that your policy will automatically cover your roommates belongings, as most companies will not extend to unrelated roommates. People who are not named directly on the policy, can still be insured, however, they are usually restricted to your spouse, dependent or relative in your care.
Liability is extremely important to have in place if you rent a property. Here’s an example of why:
Your roommate hosts an epic “rager” of a party in your new pad. You guys go out onto the deck, drinks and music in hand. People get a little tipsy and before you know it someone falls through the railing of the deck and gets seriously injured. They end up suing the building owner and you as you are the tenant who is leasing the space. Even though your roommate is who hosted the party, you may end up being liable for the injury because of the contract you signed to lease the space.
Long story longer, finding a perfect roommate is almost impossible. It takes hard work, communication and a short term memory. Holding onto grudges and bad experiences are sure fire ways to end the relationship.