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My First Apartment Checklist: Deciding on a Roommate

Posted by Paige Gilbert

April 12, 2013

Pros & Cons of Having a Roommate in Your First Apartment

pillow fightOdds are a roommate will be part of your first apartment experience because it will help you pay for your monthly apartment living expenses. While having a roommate can be an arduous task, it can also be a really fun experience. The key is finding the right roommate.  

PRO: Splitting the Monthly Costs

The main reason to have a roommate when moving into your first apartment is that everything is shared and he or she will help pay for monthly costs like rent and utilities. Generally, the costs are just split down the middle unless one person has a bigger room or their own bathroom and agrees to pay more. Sometimes, roommates decide to do the grocery shopping together so they can save money buying in bulk or making meals together. It can also relieve some anxiety knowing all the responsibility for expenses doesn’t fall on you.

CON: Nothing is Truly Yours

Aside from the tiny space that is your room, it can be easy to feel suffocated when everything is shared. Even when you set boundaries with each other, that piece of cake you were saving for after work might get eaten, or you wish you had known your roommate used the last of your shampoo because you were just at the store. You also have to rely on someone else to help with the monthly expenses, which means that if they don’t come through some month, it falls on you.


PRO: Sharing Household Chores

A roommate can also help with everyday chores like cooking, cleaning and shopping. Although one person tends to do more than the other, it’s a nice thought that you won’t always have to take the trash out and can delegate cleaning the toilet to someone else once in awhile.

CON: Some Things Might Never Get Done

The risk when sharing household chores is that you assume each other will do things. Since your roommate cooks more often, then you might assume they will clean up the dishes that have been soaking in the sink for four days. Maybe your roommate assumes since they have their own bathroom, they never have to clean the guest bathroom. Your definitions of clean might also be different, which is when you’ll have to have a conversation and maybe even make a cleaning chart.


PRO: You Have a Built-In Buddy

When you live in your first apartment fun memories are made. It’s inevitable that something crazy will happen. After all, the experience of your first apartment is a new one and one that you will learn from. It’s way more fun and memorable to burn dinner together, call the cops together because you hear a strange noise in the middle of the night, and to have an assistant when trying to fix that leaky faucet. It’s also just more fun to have someone to hang out with at home and indulge in reality TV with.

CON: You’re Living with a Monster

This can go two ways. First, you might have an obsessive-compulsive roommate who nags at you all the time to pick up your stuff, turn down your music, not invite people over until asking permission, and constantly reminds you it’s your turn to clean the bathroom. Or, you have a roommate who contributes nothing, invites random people over all the time, is messy, and doesn’t pay rent on time. Save yourself some trouble and look for the following qualities in a roommate.


Qualities of a Good Roommate

Living with someone is a big decision. If you’ve decided to find a roommate to live with in your first apartment, be sure to consider the following:

  • Live with someone you already know, like a good friend or trusted acquaintance of a friend – word of mouth referrals are always the best.
  • Interview potential roommates - if you’ll be living with a complete stranger, don’t just grab someone off of Craigslist without meeting them in person.
  • A good roommate will be friendly and have a clean appearance – first impressions are important!
  • A good roommate will be honest with you about finances, future plans, living habits, and personal history.
  • When talking with and meeting a potential roommate, listen to your gut – if you sense anything out of the ordinary, you don’t want to be stuck living with that person.

Now that you have decided whether or not you’ll have a roommate in your first apartment, and what to look for in that roommate, it’s time to start actually touring apartments. In our next blog we’ll talk about how to find the best first apartment for you.

What is the most important quality to you in a roommate? 

Topics: Apartment Living, Living in an Apartment, My First Apartment

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