How to choose the perfect housemate

So you’ve just moved into the city, or your housemates have deserted you. You don’t want to, or can’t afford to live alone. It’s time to find a flatshare, or at least some people you can rent a flat with. We know this stuff always happens last minute, so here are some top tips to make the process and quick and painless as possible.

Finding some options

The first thing you need to do is find yourself some options. Where to start?

Be shameless on social networks

This should be your first port of call. Put yourself out there on Facebook. Send a message to all the biggest Whatsapp groups you’re on. Send an email around the hockey club list. Maybe event Snap about it?

It’s hard to keep track of the housing situation of even your close friends sometimes, and you’ll likely find that there’s someone in the same boat as you. Sure there’s a risk that the boring guy from your halls at Uni might message you, but you can always make up an excuse if you get unwanted offers.

Email Your Colleagues

Often there will be an email list of all the junior people at work, where you can fire around an email. Colleagues can be great housemates, since they want to live on the same commuter route, probably earn a similar amount of money to you, and will usually avoid being a complete slob in front of someone that they work with.

Though probably don’t choose the person who sits right next to you (unless you really like them…)

Visit a Specialist Site

If you’re unlucky, and none of the above works (or you just fancy mixing things up a bit), there are some great people looking for housemates on services like SpareRoom, EasyRoommate, and Unlease.

Some of these sites even run social events where you can go flatmate speed dating.

Choosing the best housemates

So, you’ve got yourself a couple of options, how do you choose between them?

Go out (or stay in) together

There’s no replacement for spending time together. Make sure you meet all the different housemates for a coffee, or a drink (make sure no-one is hiding from you!) The people don’t need to feel like soul mates straight way, but you need to be sure that you could rub along nicely.

If you find that you really fancy one of them. Find somewhere else to live, and ask them out on the date. That’s a good way to make things complicated!

Take a reference

It all seems a bit formal, but most people won’t mind if you give a couple of previous flatmates a call or text to ask them what your prospective flatmates are like to live with.

Just asking for this might bring out the fact that someone left because of a big bust up!

Sweat the small stuff

So, you’re pretty sure you’ve found the right housemates, and the right flat? Time to get into the detail, and be sure you’re making the right choice. Here is a checklist:

  • How much is rent? When and how is it paid? What bills are included? How are household expenses (like loo roll, or cleaning products) divided up? Is there a cleaner? If not, how is cleaning divided up?
  • When is the deposit payable? Should there be any deductions from the previous tenant?
  • Which room would you get? What furniture is included? Are there any weird rules about the shared space?
  • How often do people have parties or have people over? Are there any ground rules? Does anyone there smoke?
  • How many showers are there? What is the schedule in the morning?
  • Any local tips? What are the best things to do locally? How long is the commute to work?

One last thing

Once you’re into the new flat with all your stuff, don’t forget that it’s a good idea to get some insurance to cover your things should something go wrong.

At Urban Jungle, we are building products which are designed for young people who share houses and flats in the city. To be reminded when we launch, or even help us test out our products, you can pre-register here.