Moving house is meant to be one of the most stressful things to happen in a person’s life. All that packing boxes, loading them, cleaning, saying goodbye, organising transport, unpacking, cleaning, getting to know a new place, trying to meet new people...well, you get the idea. But it also provides so many possibilities to change your life for the better. So how can you reduce the stress levels when looking to move or to meet a new roommate to share your accommodation with? Well believe us when we say that roommate websites can really alleviate some of the tension, especially when it comes to helping you decide who you ought to live with.
Choosing to live with someone new is a massive decision, after all you will probably spend a good amount of time with this person, and even if you do keep to yourself you will be using communal areas. There are a lot of things to think about, such as how much rent you can afford or where the new place might be, but perhaps even more importantly, your living experience will be massively influenced by the people you surround yourself with; namely, roommates!
Roommate websites have really come on in recent years and we’ve hunted through the internet for the best of them so you don’t have to. But before deciding on which roommate website you might be interested in using, read on to find out about the most important things to consider when you’re deciding on which site is the best for you...
What are your chances of finding a roommate?
It’s not just the number of members that matters (though it can help to have loads of them!). Your chances of finding a roommate are dependent on several factors including how useful the search functions on a site are, how many members seem to be active and how old their adverts are. When trying out a site for the first time, perform a basic search in the area you’re interested in. Look at a few profiles; are they someone who you feel you might get on with? Do they have similar outlooks and lifestyles? You probably don’t want to be living with an insomniac rock-metal band party animal if you have to wake up early every day for work or studying.
Equally if you know you’re bothered by mess then you won’t want to live with someone who says they don’t mind any mess, because chances are this means that they’ll leave their trash around and it’ll drive you nuts. Try to find at least a few members who seem to be “your kind of people” before making any rash decisions. If you can contact them, then do so to get to know a bit more about them. Some sites allow this for free, others will require that you pay for the service.
Quality of Adverts / Profiles
It might be important, particularly if you’re renting a room, to see the room. Some sites might not offer much in the way of photo options and usually you’ll want to see the room (perhaps even the living spaces and bathrooms) from several angles. How much information has been provided on the accommodation or the sort of person a roommate is looking for? Can you get a sense of the atmosphere from the information provided?
These are all important things to consider and the more pictures and information a site allows its members to provide, the better idea you’ll have about what to expect if you do decide to move in or have someone move in with you. Some roommate sites offer more information than others, in which case you’ll want to speak to the roommate to get a better idea of the situation in advance.
Value for money
Some sites are more expensive than others. Some are free. But “value” isn’t necessarily the same thing as “cheap”. Chances are that the more expensive sites will offer a better service, something more user friendly which won’t take you hours and hours to search through. An important thing to remember is that none of these sites are really “expensive” in the grand scheme of moving home or having someone move in with you.
Choose a site that works for you, one that seems to offer all the information that is important to you, one that will allow you to express yourself and to make the best deal possible. A few of these sites offer good advice and tips on important issues such as taking out insurance or how to deal with landlords and legal issues, which you may want to read (and are usually free to read).
Scams and Safety Precautions
As with anything where money exchanges hands, you ought to be aware of people who will try to take advantage. Room rentals are big business and there are people who use different tricks to try and squeeze money from you. In particular landlords should be careful about checking a person’s previous rental history and that their checks are legitimate. If you’re looking for a room or just looking for a roommate then think carefully about giving out your contact details to people you don’t know.
A top tip is to set up a new email account through which any messages or communications about accommodation / roommate searches can be seen. If you no longer need to contact people about rooms or roommates then you simply close the account. Giving out your phone number may get you a quicker response but also remember to check that it’s not visible to just anyone – you don’t want people harassing you!
The Bottom Line
Well we feel a bit like your nervous mother sending you out to college! The secret to finding a roommate or a room that suits you is information – the more information you get before moving, the better. Roommate websites make this so much easier, particularly if you’re moving from far away or are new to sharing accommodation. Take a look at the reviews we have lovingly written, and good luck!