Before you find the "perfect" roommate you have to decide what the perfect roommate would be for you. Just because you are best friends with someone or your friend recommended that you live with them doesn't mean that they will be the perfect roommate for you. Before you can figure out who WOULD be a great roommate for you, you have to answer some questions about yourself.
Look at your living habits.
The key to figuring out who would be a great roommate is knowing yourself. For example, you may want to start by just examining yourself a bit, along the lines of these questions:
- Are you messy?
- Do you smoke?
- Do you like to party?
- Do you like being around other people?
This will give you a better idea of what you might look for in a roommate. You might want someone with a similar schedule, living habits as you. If you are more of a loner, then you might want someone with a schedule that allows you to be alone most of the time.
Decide if you want to live with someone to share everything with or someone that keeps to themselves and only uses their own things. If you have ever watched a reality show you know that there is always a fistfight over who ate someone's peanut butter.
Start your search
Once you have decided what you are looking for in a roommate you can start your search. The first step should always be asking around with friends or people you know if they are looking for a place or if they know someone who is. If you already know the person or know someone who will vouch for them then the process of living together will be a lot easier.
If this doesn't work out, then you might have to look elsewhere. Some good places to look are local newspapers, community boards, or everyone's favorite-online!
Choose a few candidates that you think are worthy to live in your presence and contact them. Get to know them over the phone. Ask about the likes, dislikes, pet peeves, living schedule, habits, etc. If things work out and they seem like cool people, then you might want to invite them over to check the place out. (*disclaimer: Just because they seem nice over the phone does not mean that they can?t be a psycho)
You should discuss pricing and how the cost of everything will be split between each of you. Some roommates might choose to put one person in charge of buying toilet paper and the other one in charge of buying dish soap. The sooner you deal with this the better. You don?t want there to be a stand-off about buying toilet paper and have to resort to using the phone book.
Determine the terms of their stay (length, etc). If it does not work out then you might want to get rid of them sooner rather than later.
All in all, you have to get to know yourself and decide what you are looking for in a roommate before you can even start to consider who you would like to live with. Roommates come in many shapes and forms, from the person who you want to spend all of your time with during the nights nad weekends, to the person who simply co-habituates your abode. Decide what you are looking for in a roommate and what types of personalities and living styles would work best with you. As anyone who has had a terrible roommate experience can attest, there is nothing worse that being stuck in a year lease with someone who you can't stand.
Once you do start living with someone, realize that there is no such thing as a "perfect" roommate. Everyone has their flaws and everyone will do something over the course of the year that you may find annoying or gross or mean or pathetic or whatever else... and that's ok because, chances are, you have done something that they have found equally annoying. And remember, nothing beats communication when you are sharing a space with someone else, so make sure you can talk out any differences that may arise.