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How to Safely Find a Roommate While Traveling

Planning on relocating to a new city? Finding a roommate is a great way to keep your living expenses down, but finding a suitable roommate can be challenging, especially when heading to a strange and unfamiliar place.

Deciding on the right roommate is about more than finding someone compatible. You also have to be able to trust them with your personal space, which can be intimidating if you are new to shared living. On the other hand, you might not find someone compatible in terms of personality and lifestyle, but that doesn’t necessarily mean you will not feel safe with that person. 

The good news is that looking for the ideal roommate can be manageable. The process can be time-consuming and requires careful consideration, but it is worth the effort to know you have done all you can to ensure that the person or people you will live with tick all your critical boxes. To help you make informed decisions, let us review the five fundamentals for vetting roommates safely and successfully.

1. Research potential roommates

Picking a roommate based on surface-level info is one of the biggest mistakes. You must dig deeper than online profiles and social media posts, making a concerted effort to learn about backgrounds, lifestyles, and personalities. Most co living apartments hold their tenants to a certain standard, but you should always supplement their efforts by doing your due diligence.

If you have no idea where to start looking, browse online roommate finder websites or social media groups for the area you’re interested in. You can also ask friends and family if they know anyone looking for a roommate, the advantage being that the first step of the vetting process is done for you.

Pay attention to age, occupation, hobbies, and interests during your research. The aim is to find someone who won’t clash with your lifestyle and preferences, giving you peace of mind and ensuring a harmonious atmosphere in your apartment.

2. Ask for references

Asking for references is a crucial step in finding a reliable roommate. You can do this by reaching out to people who lived with your potential roommate in the past, such as previous landlords or old roommates, asking them about their experience and any red flags to look out for.

References provide insight into a person’s character, reliability, and behavior. For example, if your potential roommate had trouble paying rent on time or keeping the living space clean, you will want to know before committing to living with them.

When you are asking for references, try to remain respectful and professional. Ask specific questions to get the answers you are looking for, and don’t forget to thank people for taking the time to inform you.

The Historical Center of Oaxaca City
The Historical Center of Oaxaca City

3. Conduct background checks

Conducting background checks may seem invasive if you are new to co-living, but it is a common practice when renting a shared property. It is a search of public records to verify your potential roommate’s identity, criminal history, and credit score.

Background checks ensure that your potential roommate is who they say they are. If they have a criminal record or a history of bad credit, these are instant warning signs to reconsider your choice and look at other options.

There are several online services available that allow you to perform these checks quickly and easily. You can also ask roommates to provide their background check reports, but it is not ideal when no third party verifies information.

While it may feel intrusive to delve into someone’s personal history, remember that it is standard practice when sharing a living space. A background check can reveal any red flags that may put you at risk, but it can also confirm that your potential roommate is financially responsible and reliable.

4. Meet in person before committing

After completing research and background checks, it is time to meet your potential roommate in person. Meeting face-to-face allows you to get to know their personality and communication style and ask any remaining questions you couldn’t find answers to through other means.

Meeting beforehand will go a long way toward helping you determine if you have compatible lifestyles, interests, and schedules. It’s also the perfect time to ask about living habits, ensuring that you are on the same page regarding chores, bills, and other responsibilities.

When choosing a location for your first meeting, keep it public and neutral so you’re both comfortable. Consider meeting at a coffee shop or a public park to create a relaxed environment, and don’t forget to have some questions prepared for topics you’re still concerned about.

5. Set clear expectations and boundaries

If all of our previous steps have gone to plan, you should be able to make an informed decision and choose someone reliable and responsible. However, before you move in together, establish clear expectations and boundaries for things like household chores and visiting guests.

Talking about the dynamics of the relationship early will help prevent misunderstandings in the future. Be clear and direct about your needs and preferences and open to compromise when you do not get what you want. 

One way to keep everyone in check is to sign a written agreement. The contract should cover essential details such as shared responsibilities and house rules, as well as the length of the lease, rent payments, and security deposits. 

With all these steps taken care of, you put yourself in the best possible position for an excellent co-living experience.

Sunrise of Wonders in Oaxaca City
Sunrise of Wonders in Oaxaca City