With thirty years and vastly different life experiences between them, Nancy and her roommate Boyan are an unlikely match. Yet “it just works,” according to Nancy. “We both like to garden, cook and hike, and since he was new to the area, I was able to point him to some great trails or local concerts.”
Boyan echoes her sentiments: “It has been great living here and I didn’t have any concerns about living with someone older. I have already lived with guys my age, and this seemed easy.”
How is it that these two found each other and created a happy shared home? Here are five tips for finding the right roommate, based on their experience:
Five Tips for Finding the Right Roommate
1. Have an open mind.
Initially, Nancy was looking for another single woman her age. But “it just didn’t work for me,” she said. “Too many issues, so I decided to broaden out my search and explore others I would not have considered before. If you told me I would have picked someone half my age who served in the military, I would have never believed it!” It turns out intergenerational housemates are often a great fit, bringing a lot of energy and vibrancy to the house, particularly when they share common interests.
How open-minded are you able to be in your particular situation? Ask yourself:
- Am I comfortable with a housemate of any gender?
- What about age—would I prefer a peer, someone older or someone younger? Does it matter?
- Am I willing to live with a family/multiple housemates, or an individual only?
- What are my expectations around smoking, drinking and/or drug use in and around the home?
- What are my pet peeves and personal quirks that could affect a housemate?
2. Do your homework.
Nancy connected with nearly 50 people via email, phone or in person before settling on Boyan as her roommate. “I think it is really important to do your homework before you just let someone move in,” she stressed. Unsure where to start with your research? You can always start with a Google search of their name! In addition to the security benefits, googling a person could also give you a peek into their accomplishments, interests, passions and public memberships to help you understand more about their personality and how you could be compatible.
3. Ask detailed questions before deciding
Start by chatting online or emailing. If you want to continue the conversation, have a phone call. Use it as a chance to ask more questions and get a sense of the other person.
Here are a few ideas of questions to raise:
- How do you feel about my work/volunteer schedule? Are my hours going to conflict with yours?
- How do you prefer to split chores? Charts, alternating days? Will one person take certain chores?
- What are your sleep schedule and habits—are you a night owl or an early bird? Is it important that your housemate have a similar sleep schedule?
Need a few more ideas? Why not go off of the Silvernest sign-up questions? We ask about tidiness and work hours among other topics specifically to get these kinds of conversations started. Don't be shy - you've both already given your answers!
4. Meet in person.
If you are feeling good about your match, after connecting via chat and phone, set up a time to have coffee, or go for a walk in a neutral place. Surprisingly, walking can stimulate a more spontaneous and intimate conversation than just sitting. Have a conversation and discuss questions that generate thoughtful answers like, “What was the best moment in your life and the worst moment in your life?” Try to get a feel for who they really are and not just their day to day habits.
5. Get peace of mind with a background check.
While you may be a good judge of character, requesting a background check is the best way to ensure your match is right for you. Silvernest handles all the details, so all you need to do is make the request.
Studies show that having a roommate is healthy and positive on so many levels. Reducing social isolation, even just by having someone living in your home, is dramatic. The increased peace of mind, income and camaraderie can add years to your life.
Visit www.silvernest.com to learn more about homesharing and sign up.