Living in a major city can seem prohibitively expensive — that is why many of us have opted to share our space with a roommate. Splitting rent and sharing amenities can take away some of the financial burden, which makes toughing it out on a starter salary more manageable. While back in the day, it was viewed as juvenile to live with a roommate as an adult, today, it's more popular than ever.
According to Pew Research, 50 years ago just six percent of people between the ages of 18 and 31 lived with a roommate. However, that didn’t mean they were living alone — most moved in with a spouse directly after college. According to research done by Zillow, the number of young adults living with roommates has surged between 2002 and 2012. Nearly half (48 percent) of the population of LA is sharing their apartment, and in New York the number of adults living with roommates grew from 37 percent to 42 percent in those ten years. And if you are like most young adults, then finding a good roommate is imperative.
Many people choose to live with friends after college, since it is more comfortable to live with someone you already know and trust. But there is a big difference between what makes a good friend and what makes a good roommate. Before renting that U-Haul, take the time to have an honest discussion and see if your styles of living are a good match. No matter how hilarious it looks on New Girl, awkward roommate situations suck. Clearly establishing ground rules can save a lot of hurt feelings in the long run. To ensure roommate success, here are some essential questions to be discussed before signing that first rent check.
1. Do Your Work Schedules Match Up?
One of the most important things to discuss before signing that lease is your daily schedules. In order to successfully share an apartment, you want to make sure that your routines compliment each other. If both of you have to be at work by the same time, sharing a single bathroom can be complicated dance. However, having opposing work schedules can also cause undo stress. Nobody likes to be woken up from their beauty sleep — no matter what time they went to bed.
2. Do They Bring The Party Home?
Some people have a big social life and love to host impromptu gatherings, while others see their home as their quiet sanctuary. To make sure your social styles match, this is an important question to ask. Having a roommate who loves to party can be a lot of fun, as long as you don't have to be at work early. To avoid complications, hammer out how far in advance you need to tell your roommate that you will be having guests over, and how many guests they are comfortable with being in the apartment. Nobody wants to come out of the shower and see 12 strangers in their living room.
3. How Do They Feel About Overnight Guests?
Discussing an overnight guest policy is pretty darn awkward. I don't even tell my closest friends about how many... er "companions" I might invite to sleepover. But if you have a hot date, you don't want to be worried about sneaking that lucky person into your room. Better to know that your roommate is chill with seeing a few randos every now and then — as long as they don't eat all her cereal.
4. Are They In A Committed Relationship?
If your potential roommate has a long-term bae it's better to know beforehand. You don't want to move in only to find that you are getting a two-for-one deal.
5. Are They 420 Friendly?
You don't want to be caught unawares if you have asthma and your roommate is a "wake and bake" kinda person. Be honest about your health and recreational needs and it will prevent future friction.
6. How Many Adorable Kitties Are Too Many Kitties?
Whether it's a goldfish or a British Shorthair, pets are an important part of the equation. You may not want a kitty at the moment, but if your roommate has allergies that could have consequences in the future. If one person has a pet already, make sure you get along with their furry friend, and that litter box duty, and other pet-care responsibilities have been worked out in advance.
7. How Are Chores To Be Divided?
I admit it, I'm a tad messy, but I have had roommates that push the boundaries of filth. And nobody wants to be left feeling like the cleaning service.
From throwing away empty food containers to scrubbing the toilet, it's a shared responsibility to keep the household tidy. If this means making a chore chart with gold star stickers, so be it.
8. How Are Shared Household Items Paid For?
It may seem mundane, but it's helpful to discuss the products you like, and how often they need to be replaced. Paper towels, toilet paper, and dish soap can add up, so taking turns stocking these items will help keep costs even.
9. What Are Their Roommate Pet Peeves?
Chances are you guys have both had roommates before, so you know what little ticks bug you. Whether it's a sink full of dirty dishes, watching the TV at top volume, or leaving piles of laundry on the couch, get these pet peeves out in the open. The more your roommate knows, the better.