It's no secret I’ve had my fair share of roommates and friendships that went down the toilet afterwards. In my early twenties, I made some simple, but common mistakes when roommate hunting.
Back in 2011, I had the bright idea of returning to Atlanta post graduation thinking it would be a fairly simple transition. Needless to say, I was wrong. At the time I had a friend who I adored and bonded with fairly quickly after meeting. She was easy going and loved having a good time just as much as I did. I had no doubt this was a match made in heaven.
Prior to me moving back, we had numerous discussions of what would happen. She had already experienced living off campus and renting so I followed her lead. Me being green behind the ears I trusted everything she said. Mistake number one.
Once I made it back to the city everything began to tumble. My contact from a previous internship started dodging my calls. My potential roomie was having issues getting approved for her ideal place and I was simply clueless as of what to do. I could have only wished for guidance.
Situations like these add to the feeling of not being prepared for adulthood. Me knowing the Pythagorean Theorem isn’t gonna get approved for an apartment if we’re being honest.
Later on, things got real when we moved in and it was a far more lavish than I was trying to uphold. I’ve never been one who cared too much for material things or yearned to live beyond my means. At the end of the day, material things end up getting replaced in time.
I really should have had the in-depth discussion on expenses, location, and lifestyles. Below you’ll see exactly what to do where I completely dropped the ball.
1.) You Don’t Have To Pick A “Friend”
Its common to consider a friend when on the hunt for a roommate. You already have a rapport with them and like their company so why not? Well I learned the hard way that befriending someone doesn’t mean you’re meant to be roomies.
Really consider the possibility of no longer being friends after the living arrangement. A situation so delicate like living together can make or break any friendship.
I repeat I’m no longer friends with any of my roommates. I could easily be the common denominator, but you’ll have to hear the stories for yourself. Today I think I would have been better off living with a person I didn't know as crazy as it sounds.
Location. Location. Location.
You must have the discussion with full honesty. Take into consideration where you’ll be working andyour commute. In the long run this will be affect both your transportation expenses like gas, mileage, and excess car costs.
If its not feasible don’t do it and find other arrangements. This is where you have to be selfish and think of yourself first.
3.) Monthly Expenses
Just because you can pay for something doesn’t mean you can afford it. The goal is to save money while living below your means.
Although you may have a roommate can you afford the space on your own? This is a serious evaluation. I had a roommate give up and walk out on the apartment we shared. Oh and did I mention she moved her boyfriend in during the lease and left his butt behind too? Yes, she tried it.
Later on I had to find a replacement that didn’t make life any easier.
4.) Guest / Overnight Guest
As you can see communication is a key factor when living with someone. Guest are a vital discussion to have. This means friends, family, boyfriends, girlfriends, hookups, or all the above. People live differently and respecting that is must.
If you’re not into seeing random men at your refrigerator door in the middle of the night you might not want a roomie who’s into random hookups.
Be vocal and say exactly what you’re ok with what doesn’t work with you. I’ve always been one to believe not everyone should know where you live and that would be a quick deal breaker. Let’s not forget there are crazy people in this world.
5.) Household Duties
Remember the old saying, “Cleanliness is next to Godliness?” Well not everyone got that memo.
I once had a roommate that literally took the sponge we washed the dishes with and wiped her shoe with it. And another who would cook and put his dirty dishes back in the cabinets. I trembled to my core each time. (Everything was separate following each of these discoveries)
Create a schedule if need be and breakdown the duties so tasks are distributed equally. This may sound a little daunting, but have the chat and see how both parties can contribute.
6.) Exchange Emergency Contacts
People go missing and things happen. Exchange at least 2 contacts with your potential roomie where you can get a hold of someone if need be.
I never did this once in the past and later had a roommate in the hospital, but couldn’t get a hold of anyone. Thankfully everything worked out, but things could have been easily made a left turn.
7.) Get It In Writing
This is non negotiable. You MUST do this. Get it all agreed on paper to keep your ass covered.
After my second roommate decided to walkout on the lease I had to renew everything in my name. I then got another roommate for the spare room. We had a very transparent discussion and agreed on how things will move forward.
I mentioned drafting up an agreement, but never got around to it. Later I literally paid the cost due to how he destroyed the second bedroom.
Be better than me and get everything on documented on paper. I promise it’ll save you later.
Although my roommate situations weren’t the ideal I’ve learned a lot about people and myself. Needless to say I’m not interested in anymore roomies. Count me out!