Hunting for an Apartment With a Roommate
Apartment hunting can be a stressful encounter for some renters, as there’s a lot to consider. That’s why tackling this task is usually made easier with help from your roommate. However, there are a few things you’ll want to keep in mind if you are pairing up with your future roomie to go apartment hunting.
People definitely have their own idea of a dream apartment when they begin the apartment hunting process– sometimes finding this space is doable, and other times it’s not necessarily realistic. When you have two or more people with these same lofty plans and dreams for apartment hunting, you might encounter some friction with your future roomies during the process.
However, there are some ways that you can minimize the damage during an apartment search. Here’s how:
Create a Reasonable Budget Together
Before you begin apartment hunting, there’s one thing you all need to agree on before the search begins: how much you are looking to spend. Tallying up your rent, fees (such as security deposits and pet deposits), and utilities (gas, electric, cable/Internet, etc.) and then figuring out how much each person is expected to pay is a must.
Doing this is crucial, mostly because there are a lot of things that you will need to pay for upfront in the financial department. First and last month’s rent, security deposits and pet deposits are all typically paid upfront before renters are given the keys.
Every roommate situation is different when it comes to budgeting. For instance, you might add all of your expenses together into one pool and then divide the money equally. However, some roommates opt to divide utility bills based on what’s easiest for them. As an example, one roommate might cover the gas and electric bills while the other person pays for the cable and Internet.
It’s up to you and your roommates to decide what works best for your arrangement. However, regardless of what you choose, it’s crucial that you give a realistic tally of how much money you are all working with. Although that penthouse suite might seem amazing in theory, it might not be doable, even if you’re pooling financial resources.
Settle on Deal Breakers
Make a list of the amenities and other things that you simply can’t do without in your apartment. For instance, you might all agree that on-site laundry is a must-have, or you might need to pick an apartment within a few blocks of public transit stops if one or more roommates doesn’t have a car. This not only helps you budget correctly, but it also helps refine your apartment search.
This is unfortunately an area where potential roommates might run into conflicts. After all, everyone’s idea of the perfect apartment is different. During these situations, it’s important to be as diplomatic as you can– at times, you might have to compromise, whether it be a certain neighborhood you disagree on or an amenity that you want.
Divide Your Search Time
There’s a good chance that you and your roommates are busy people and might not have the time to venture out and look for every apartment on your own. This is why once you’ve settled on the financial side of things and know what each other’s deal breakers are, you can divide up apartment listings and then begin to tackle these one at a time.
For instance, if you live closer to an apartment listing, you might be responsible for viewing it on behalf of you and your roommate, whereas he or she might look at a listing closer to his or her office after work. This allows you both to see more apartments and work around your schedules.
Bottom Line: Communication is Key
Like a close friend or significant other, your roommate is going to be someone you’ll need to communicate with, regardless of whether you’re friends or not. During the apartment search, it’s important to voice your opinions freely (but respectfully) so that nothing goes unnoticed. Nothing’s worse than staying silent and then not getting what you really want out of your living space.
Likewise, be sure to keep an open ear and mind to your future roomie’s opinions and concerns. Keeping things civil and friendly from the beginning during your apartment search will set the tone for the way that you both communicate and live with each other during the next year (or more), so it’s good to get started on the right foot.
Apartment hunting can be an exhausting time, so it’s great to have a dedicated roommate to help you along the way.