Five tips for choosing the right housemate

It’s been said that you don’t know someone until you live with them – and if you’re on the hunt for a housemate this can literally be the case.  We’ve all heard, or maybe even lived, those horror stories about nightmare housemates. To help you avoid a living disaster, we’ve put together our top five tips for finding your dream housemate. 

1. Make your first contact count

If your first point of contact with a potential housemate is by phone, use this initial touch point to find out as much as you can about them prior to arranging an in-person meet. This might help you weed out ‘undesirables’ before going through the effort of meeting them. 

2. Be prepared

Don’t approach your first face-to-face contact with a potential housemate unprepared. You won’t get too many chances to suss out a potential candidate prior to making a decision, so you need to address the big issues as soon as possible. 

Have a list of pre-prepared topics to discuss so you both know where you stand. The type of issues you might want to cover are; 

  • How much are the rent and bills and what cycle are these paid on?
  • Do they have a stable income?
  • What are the rules for guests? Is there a limit on the number of people allowed over?
  • What is a typical weekly routine?
  • Are your lifestyles compatible? Do they smoke? Like loud music? Have pets?
  • Are there pre-existing house rules?
  • How is food shared?
  • How will the cleaning and other chores be divided up?
  • How will basic household communal necessities be paid for?
  1. Address the same criteria with each potential housemate

When you’re on the hunt for a housemate, you’ll likely speak to a few different people before deciding. To make the best decision for yourself, make sure the questions you ask each person are the same so you can compare and contrast the answers you receive to see who will be your best match. 

4. Enlist the help of a friend

Once you’ve narrowed it down to a preferred candidate (or candidates), ask a friend who knows you well to come along and meet them as well. A second opinion is always helpful and they might be able to provide perspective or help you choose between candidates. It will also give you peace of mind if they agree the candidates are suitable or help you avoid a mistake if they recognise some red flags. 

5. Check references

Speaking with people who have lived with your potential new housemate is a good way to learn more about what they are like to live with. A lot of people are hesitant to request this check, but it’s worth feeling a bit uncomfortable if it provides you with some extra peace of mind.    

 

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