As an only child, sharing personal space and “stuff” became a part of my vocabulary very late in life. It’s not like I didn’t understand the concept, but when you live at home, Mom and Dad don’t typically leave the milk out or dishes in the sink. When I first moved to the city, I experimented with living by myself in an Upper West Side Studio. It was okay, but I was really lonely. I was in a totally new city, and I realized that I missed coming home to someone. Your home environment really sets the tone for your well being, and the last thing this introvert needed was more alone time. I knew I had to find a roommate.
After my past experiences in college, I had learned what I needed in a roommate. Someone who was pretty laid back, messy but not dirty, who was invested in creating a safe and cozy home, and who did not listen to Opera. After my lonely first months in the city, I found my match-made-in-roommate heaven. I really took the time to get to know her, and after our hangouts we were sure that we would get along well in the same apartment. Turns out, we were right! Having a taste of living alone really reminded me how important it is for me to have someone to check in with at the end of the day. Some people really love the studio or one-bedroom life, but for me – at least for right now – I love having someone to share my corn-puffs with (I am a very good sharer now).
So here are my top tips for finding the right roommate in NYC:
Finding a roommate
You can take a bit of a risk and use Craigslist or the Village Voice’s weekly list of “roommates wanted”, but be sure to meet up with the person a few times before deciding to jump into living together. I’ve met people who have had awesome experiences with this, and also the opposite. There are also online roommate matching services, such as Roommate Locator or, if you’re an NYU student, try going through Off Campus Housing (call 212-998-4620 and press “O.”) Definitely avoid using any roommate matching service that asks you to display your phone number or your current address in your profile. NOTE: Free roommate services do not perform background checks on their members, so you will probably want a credit history on your prospective roommate (search “credit history” from your browser. For a more extensive check, including criminal records, check out Knowx). I really recommend using your personal network to find a roommate. Your friends and family know you well, and they might have the perfect person to set you up with. Reach out on Facebook, and let the people you hang with know to be on the lookout.
Be really honest with what you want
Ask yourself these questions: Are you looking for a place to crash, or a place to call home? Different people want different things! Is it important for you to feel a sense of community with your roommate(s), or are you just looking for someone to split the rent with? Even if it’s the latter, you should still get a sense of who the person is, especially if it is a Craigslist match.
When considering a multi-bedroom share, think of your personal habits, your pet peeves, and what kind of environment you like to come home to. Things to think about: cleaning and organization, having guests over or throwing parties, noise-level, alcohol consumption, sleeping/waking preferences. Also, do you need to be alone to recharge? If so, look for a roommate who has a similar inclination, or have that conversation upfront. Another thing to think about is your work schedule, especially if that effects sleeping and waking.
Have the important conversations right away
Sometimes it can be awkward to talk money. But you’re about to split expenses with this person or people, and the sooner you talk about how that is going to go down, the more peace of mind you will have. Are you splitting utilities? Cable? Do you have a deadline for when rent money is due? Sit down and talk about this stuff up front. It will set the tone for your roommate relationship,
Avoid moving in with someone just because you find them attractive
My friend in college hooked up with his roommate first semester freshman year. Let’s just say it made for a really awkward second semester. I can’t condone this behavior, but if you do find your soulmate on Craigslist please email me because I really love weddings.
NOTE: My Dad wanted me to include that the rate of roommate separation the United States is higher than the divorce rate. I’m gonna go ahead and say that’s made up, especially because it’s a little depressing. Nice one, Dad.
If you’re in the market for a new roomie, keep my tips in your pocket. I think you’ll be well on your way to finding someone to share your corn puffs with! Until next time,
Hope this helped!