What’s Your Roommate Profile?

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What’s Your Roommate Profile?

Eva R. Marienchild · Mar 31, 2015

Two men at doorway with keys and contract

Do you love the idea of sharing the rent, but dread the very concept of having to split the apartment down the middle (or in quarters)? This may be due to the fact that you haven’t honed in on your roommate profile—that all-important gauge of the sort of roommate you’d make, and of the personality you’d most gel with. Once that’s established, you can compare notes with your potential roommates, and reduce the room for error.

There’s nothing like a seamless living arrangement, where you both respect each other’s privacy and requirements and where you never seem to step on each other’s toes—and, if you do, you ensure it doesn’t happen again.

Here are the steps you need to take to establish your Roommate Profile:

Visualize a Roommate Scenario You Can Live with

Keep an ideal and totally idealistic example of the sort of roomie you’d love to live with. Want someone who is considerate, low-key, bookish, into playing the Harp or some similarly soothing instrument (but not when you’re asleep), and who is cooperative when it comes to requests to turn the TV down? It’s doable. Oh, and you prefer someone who doesn’t slam doors. Great! That’s doable, too.

Go grab a piece of paper and jot down these very qualities. That’s your roommate profile part A.

Map out Your Schedule

An example of a domestic requirement: You need to have enough room in the refrigerator and freezer for three quarts of Adam & Eve Apple Juice and your dog’s specially prepared chow at all times. This means X amount of kitchen door space and X amount of freezer space has to be available for you at all times.

An example of your schedule: you work nights and sleep days.

What this means is that you will need someone who is especially considerate and quiet—and perhaps out—during the day.

As an example of a vocation and avocation, you work with computers which you occasionally bring home and dismantle. You’ll need to have a room that’s off limits to others.

And for an avocation, you design maps. You need to have a table where you can spread these out, and leave them there. A roommate with a cat who loves to pounce and play might not be in your best interests.

That’s part B of your profile.

Being a bit flexible will help, of course, but don’t veer too much off-course.

Now that you know the sort of person you’re liable to have a great match-up with, you’re more apt to know whom to interview. When it’s time to get down to the nuts and bolts of a formal agreement, consider the following suggestions:

Get Everything in Writing

You can go online and Google a standard apartment rental contract and pick and choose your verbiage of choice. Print, and cross off and initial any clauses that don’t apply. Be sure to give each of you a copy, signed and dated by both parties.

The applicant can sign and date it in front of you, and show you their I.D. This is what a notary public would do, although notaries are an official government representative and, in some states, have secured a bond to protect the person the notary services. But for your purposes—and as long as you perform your due diligence–your own efforts might be sufficient.

Check References

Speaking of due diligence, this is a good time to check references. Yes, we know: you’re thinking all systems are go, and that the most important i’s have been dotted and t’s have been crossed. Check references anyway. It’s not just for the obvious purpose of ascertaining that the person is who they say they are; it’s an added layer of protection….and the final screening process.

For instance, in speaking with a reference, you find out that the person you’re thinking of living with has habits or avocations which would interfere with your day-to-day activities or quality of life. If you sleep days, and your erstwhile roomie has been known to play drums or tune up a synthesizer during those same hours, actually contacting the references might lead to your finding this out. Think of it as an additional vetting process. The rejected applicant will thank you. They want a good match, too.

Take the Time to Discuss Minutiae

Things such as how many pieces of furniture the roommate will bring into the apartment, and when they’ll use the cooking facilities are important. Discuss how you expect the housework to be divided. Develop a plan for handling visitors. Will you be allowing parties, sleep-overs and loud music? If not, this is the time to put all the cards on the table. Just hoping that things will work out isn’t always the smartest solution.

By planning ahead, you’ll avoid fiascoes and improve the chances for a roommate-match made in heaven.

And if it doesn’t work out? Misjudgments are a fact of life. Sit down and tell the other person that you appreciate their having been your co-anchor and that you enjoyed getting to know them, but that you’ll be needing them to find alternate living arrangements within X amount of months. Be reasonable. Work with the other party.

Think back to when you’ve had to pick up and move….it’s a time-consuming, arduous task. Be generous in your offering of a time frame. However, do stick to that time frame, at which point they will have to pack up and leave.

In this way, whether you live with one roommate or four, you’ll be better able to manage the transition..and enjoy the experience!

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