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6 Tips for Finding a Roommate in a New City

February 21, 2015

20th century is the era of globalization and moving to another city became just as ordinary as going to work.

When you move to a new city, It’s great when you know who’s going to be your new companion.   However, many make the adjustment by roommating with strangers.  This does allow time to familiarize yourself with a new town and its easy on the budget during a transition time, but living with a random stranger after only a short meeting might be dangerous.

So, here are a few tips that could help you find a decent roommate in a new city.

1. Hit it off.

First of all, try to hit it off with a local network. Try to write a post on Facebook and ask your friends whether they know anyone who might need a roommate in the city you're moving to. Ask for introductions to friends-of-friends, coworkers or anyone who might share your interests, become a friend in that area or just know someone looking for a roommate too.

You never know, someone might have a sister or parents living in the same place. Or maybe your old friend or someone you went to school with lives there. Your network might share some contacts of prospective roommates, or introduce you to someone in that area who might help you “assimilate” or at least be able to show you the town and answer necessary questions.

2. Reach Out to Your Alumni Association.
Try to find your former classmates in a new city.

First, contact your alumni association and check whether it has a forum or online bulletin board. Try to find your alumni group on Facebook or see whether your graduating class has created a Linkedin group. There’s a chance you might come across someone you haven’t seen since college and, as a bonus, you and your new roommate can spend time reminiscing.

3. Internet Is the Answer
Here comes one of the most useful options: websites for finding roommates online. It’s like dating, but for finding roommates.

Usually they sort prospective roommates based on your lifestyle and common interests, so take your time to fill in your profile carefully (or answer necessary questions as well), it will help you find an ideal match. Check out these websites which offer matching services:

https://www.roomiematch.com/ is a nice online roommate finder which aims to eliminate all fake accounts and posts and make the search process safer. In order to find a match you will have to answer a lot of questions, however, this “poll” will help you find the perfect roomie.

http://www.easyroommate.com/ a multilingual tool with a great user-friendly design and a possibility to create a personal profile.

http://www.roommates.com/  Roommates.com is another free roommate search service which covers thousands of cities nationwide. Roommates.com also features an automated matching system.

http://www.roomidex.com/ NYC and San Francisco oriented service that allows users to register through the social network account, answer a few quick questions about the drinking, smoking, cleaning, socializing habits, and receive recommendations right away. If a user is interested in contacting you, they can reach out to you through the Roomidex site, but they won’t see your email address unless you decide to respond to the request.

If these websites didn’t work out, consider Craigslist. True, you don’t know what type of people you can come across there, but Craigslist remains a very popular website, with thousands of postings for roommates in US at any given time.

4. Consider a Temporary Sublease.
In case you are overwhelmed with how much you need to do to move or just can’t find a decent roommate, search for a short-term housing or sublease. Try the “Temporary” section on Craigslist as well as AirBnb https://www.airbnb.com/  where you can look for a room in a shared home.

You will benefit from a temporary arrangement as you can escape quickly if, for example, you clash with your new roommate. In this case you can change the location whenever you want.

5. Look for a Roommate After Renting the Space
In case you have some savings you might consider a premium option — try to rent your dream place, and only then start seeking a roommate.

This approach might not be advantageous as when you’re looking for a place to live in, you face millions of complications: history of employment, price, location, credit score, your bank account printouts, lease terms, etc. Adding the roommate problem to this list might just put you off moving anywhere.

Instead, try to cope with these problems in turns: First, check out local listing for your dream apartment, house or condo. Find the best variant that meets your needs and then start looking for a roommate. And don't forget to fill your landlord in your plan.

However, this option has one big gap: you’ll need enough funds to cover the full rental amount for several months while you’re looking for an appropriate roommate. After all, you will get the luxury of picking the place and your roommate person, but If you're on a tight budget you may want to skip this step altogether as it can be expensive.

6. To Find a Great Roommate, Be a Great Roommate.
Living with a roommate can often be complicated, especially if you are a student and your roomie is a student too. While sharing a living space with a person you barely know and trying to respect each other's lifestyles, your relationship can be destroyed without a hitch. So here’s one question to ask yourself: Are you a good person to live with?

Fortunately, being a great roommate boils down to a few rules:

Be respectful. Respect is a first rule towards a good roommate relationship: respect your roomie's need for a private space, silence (sometimes) and personal stuff.

Be a good listener. Listen to your roommate, pay attention when they're trying to talk with you and try to hear what they have to say (even if it is the silence).

Be clear and communicative. Your roommate is not a mind reader, so be clear about your needs, if you are feeling like you need to spend some time alone or need more privacy, say so. Constructive communication will help you avoid misunderstandings.

Be honest. If something happens that can affect your roommate, say it. Confession is much better than further delicate situation.

Be flexible. Be honest with yourself about what you can compromise and bend a little on. You might be surprised by how being adaptable and flexible can help you live in harmony with your roommate.

Be generous. This doesn't mean you have to buy your roommate expensive gifts.  Any help is highly appreciated: from making a cup of coffee in a cold winter morning to a piece of pizza after a long workday. A little generosity can make a big contribution to your relationship with a roommate without costing you too much money and effort.