When it comes to living with people you don’t know, the best-case scenario is going from strangers to roommates to friends. But knowing how to find roommates in Tampa can be a challenging first step. Where do you look for your next roommate? What qualities should you look for in a roommate? And what features should you look for in your next apartment to keep your personal space personal and give your new roommate relationship the tools necessary to flourish? Read below to learn how to navigate the path of finding an apartment, finding a roommate, to making a friend.
First, Find the Right Apartment
Establish what is important to you in your living space.
Do you work from home and need a dedicated space for this? Will you have guests over often? Is a half-bath important to you to keep guests out of your personal space? If you like to cook, make sure that the kitchen space is functional for you.
Take your time
If possible, allow yourself plenty of time to evaluate options. Good apartments are not found. Take your time to ensure that the apartment and location have what is important to you.
Get Your Finances In Order
Have you made a budget? Ah, the B-word. Knowing what you spend each month and what you can afford to spend on housing is incredibly important. Know what you can spend while still stashing away some savings. Is this new apartment within your budget. If not, it may be time to start looking for a roommate.
Evaluate What is Important to You in Your Living Situation
Know what these important items are before you begin the process of looking for a roommate. Now, if the space and size of this rental are essential to you but you can’t go it alone, then your living situation will need to include having a roommate or roommates. It’s time to read on below.
You’ve found the apartment, but now how do you find a roommate?
Here are some simple guidelines to follow as you begin your search.
Take Your Time
As with finding your apartment, when looking for a roommate begin your search long before your anticipated move date. This will take the pressure off of your search and allow you to make an informed decision without the rush. If you feel pressured to make a quick decision you can end up in a situation that was likely avoidable.
While some sites still recommend looking for roommates on Craigslist, this idea feels dated and considerably less used than it was ten years ago. Two very important considerations to account for when deciding to live with roommates are safety and credibility. It’s best to avoid scammy Craigslist roommates. Scammers on sites like Craigslist, Zillow, and Padmapper have been known to post fake or modified photos to lure renters in. This is an unsafe situation from the very start, but imagine moving in and not recognizing the person from the ad you answered! Avoid these scammy platforms and trust your gut. If the person or ad looks too good to be true, it is.
Trust your network first! Put the word out to your group of friends that you are looking to move. A friend-of-a-friend could be looking to make a move as well. This is an easy place to start and could result in a roommate with friend potential. Just know that relying on word-of-mouth can also be a crapshoot. Check with your new colleagues and relatives, but know that when you cast a wide net to your social network, friends of obscure relatives could also reply. You could end up with an amazing deal complete with home-cooked meals and great company or a breakdown in your living situation that has larger implications for your friends and relatives.
Campus Bulletin Boards
College is an exciting time. Graduating is arguably even more exciting. But moving out into the world on your own, starting a new job, and exploring a new city, all while attempting to find a roommate can be extremely challenging. Others have been there before you, why not rely on them? Check with your alumni association to see who needs a roommate locally. You will at least know that you have a portion of your background in common. Perhaps you can find good company in a roommate who’s living through a similar stage of life to your own.
Facebook has groups for people trying to find a roommate in nearly every city. But many times, when you attempt to contact the person posting, you never hear back. Unfortunately, many posts on Facebook come from bots. These “ghost posts” fill in the space of the listing board but are not legitimate. You may be better off saving your time and energy by working with a credible room rental service for your market. These listings are all real and are available to you at a reasonable weekly rate.
Now that you’ve found a prospect, follow a few basic principles in order to proceed safely and have the best possibility of a lasting roommate situation.
Be safe in your search. Once you’ve found a prospective roommate you will need to meet before you make it official. Where you meet and when you meet are very important to your safety. Schedule a time to meet in a public, well-lit place. A coffee shop could be a good place. This is good neutral ground and normally a good space in which to have a conversation.
Ask Good Questions
Prepare your questions in advance and bring the list with you for reference. While this may feel less natural than asking questions off-the-cuff, it is important for you to ask any essential questions, and may be more difficult to follow up with questions afterward. Ask questions about the way they live currently. Where do they work? When do they work? What kind of hours do they keep? Are they early risers or night owls? What is their budget for a rental? Ask if they have a partner and, if so, how often they will be staying over. Note: this can potentially feel like having another roommate. How do they feel about pets and do they intend to have one? Ask about house rules that they find important. What is their personal policy on smoking, guests, and noise? While you may not become best friends, living in the same space often comes with challenges. Having a conversation upfront can prevent more difficult situations later. Some furnished room rental programs have their own policies for members that can save you from having to manage this process.
If you must manage the process of moving in together, put some simple house rules in effect that you both can agree on. Before you commit to moving in with each other, draw up a simple roommate agreement. This is separate from a lease and gives you specific guidelines to follow that you both find important. This stipulates how you divvy-up responsibility for the lease amount (if rooms will cost different amounts), how you will pay the rent when it’s due, how you will split utility bills and chores, your house guest policy, and more. It is a simple way to cover expectations early in living together and gives you both a safe space to start conversations should any of the house rules be broken. Also, if the roommate situation doesn’t work out (not that you are anticipating this), discuss the conditions of an early move-out. Know that some furnished room rental programs include a transfer possibility if you need to move out early.
Will you both be signing the lease? Who will be responsible each month for writing the rent check? Also important—do you want to handle running your background checks? While sorting out these technicalities, know that some affordable furnished room rental services take the guesswork or difficulty of background checks out of the equation by handling it for you. Each person on the lease joins the membership program separately, submitting their income and employment verification, along with rental history, so that there is no personal information that needs to be shared among individuals.
You are bound to run into hiccups when establishing any new relationship. Creating a new friendship with a stranger will be challenging, but the reward of having a long-term and familiar roommate that is also a friend is worth the effort. Know that you can leave some of the guesswork and challenge out of the equation by working with a furnished room rental program. It establishes an equal playing field from the start and allows you to work toward the potential friendship faster.
- Trust your gut. Be skeptical when using the internet to find a roommate.
- Do your homework and take your time. There will always be options for roommates, but you must be aware of potential scammers and “ghost” postings.
- Don’t sign a lease or share any financial information without confirming that the rental and roommate are legitimate. Use a rental service when possible and consider working with a furnished room rental program to ensure the security of your personal information.
- Always meet with your prospective roommate in a safe, public place. Bring a friend if possible.
- Reach out to your network of friends first. Then move on to your broader, extended network. Then move on to other options.
- Ask for references. Check-in with their past roommates or landlords. Make sure to get a background check for each person on the lease. If this feels strange or awkward, use a furnished room rental service. These services vet each member.
By following the simple protocol above, you can save yourself much time and effort. Take your time and hopefully, you will have a great new roommate situation before you know it.
PadSplit is completely unlike traditional renting. It’s a membership program that allows you to rent rooms with utilities included for a low, fixed weekly payment. This can make so much sense for someone working to build their savings and better themselves financially. It can also save you the responsibility and occasional frustration of trying to sort out a new roommate situation and will help you to know how to find a roommate in Tampa.