Finding the Right Roommate

Last week our article “Loving Living with Roommates” about renting an apartment with roommates that discussed the benefits as well as certain possible issues of contention of which you should be aware. We plan on revisiting this topic frequently because living with roommates is a large part of the renting experience.

Finding an apartment is just one part of the equation, if you have opted to live with someone else, your apartment search should include finding a roommate that will complement your lifestyle and acquiesce to your needs and expectations. Having a nice little family to come home to at night is great, but it does take some preparatory legwork to make it happen.

picture courtesy of mia mabanta

When a room becomes available in my apartment, my roommates and I advertise and open house. Renters looking for an apartment will come to check out the apartment, meet the roommates and determine if they would be interested in the room for rent. Open houses allow for the current tenants to meet possible roommates and vice versa.

Sometimes a first impression is not enough, however. Open houses are usually crammed in to people’s busy schedules and it is hard to get a sense of how someone will be as a roommate from such a brief meeting. Social network websites such as Facebook and MySpace, which are extremely popular, especially among recent graduates and college students, provides a great resource for you to take a closer look at what life may be like with your new roommate.

A quick browse of a potential roommate’s photos and comments can give you more of a 360 degree view. Of course, it is not very common to have pictures of yourself cleaning an apartment or cooking dinner, or contrarily, abusing the possessions of others and not doing the dishes, as it were, but having a quick glimpse at someone’s profile when considering that person as a roommate will probably either make you smile or cringe.

Someone who goes out most nights, would probably not be a good fit for a nice, tidy retreat from the hustle and bustle of the city just as a reserved person may not want to move into a more socially dynamic apartment that tends to have lots of guests.

Typically, when you are looking for a roommate, they will be in the same ‘network’ (facebook categorical term most often denoting geographical area but may also refer to common bond amongst a large group of people such as an employer or university) as you, which allows you to look at that person’s profile. If that person is not in your network, you can change your network affiliation and then change it back.

Your Facebook or MySpace profile can be a very informative vehicle for people to get to know you. One should be wary of the information that is posted on the internet. Even employers are beginning to employ this tool to inform their hiring decisions.

I have known individuals to delete or censor their accounts when applying for jobs with the government or running for public office. It is not so mysterious when a friend’s profile becomes noticeably void of previous content in correlation with a FBI application or a run for public office.

Recently, we saw this Gawker article, which exhibits how Facebook accounts can really give you a pretty good idea about what to expect from a potential roommate and whether you would want to share an apartment with said person for an extended period of time. (The linked article shows facebook photos of some of the younger superdelegates who will be serving an influential role in deciding the presidential nominee)

Have you ever used Facebook to inform a decision, whether for roommate or employee purposes? Do you wish that you had? Have you ever gotten into trouble over your posted photos?

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