Upon hearing that I've spent a good decade living with roomates, a colleague recently asked me for some tips when it
came to apartment / roommate hunting. I scoured through my notes and found a little checklist that I had come up with
over the years:
Do you smoke?
A smoke-free environment for me was an absolute must. A follow up to this question was if my potential roommate was
doing other drugs - also not my scene.
What is your schedule like?
Since I was pretty much doing 9-to-5 for the most part, I was looking for someone who was compatible with these
hours, i.e. not up running around the apartment late at night. Funnily enough, I was a bit of a night owl myself.
However, this really only involved me sitting in front of my computer with the headphones on - nothing
What sort of amenities / issues does the apartment
A washer/dryer is a huge convenience. Issues such as rodents, leaks, etc. aren't necessarily a dealbreaker as long
as the landlord is responsive. Invariably something or the other does go wrong and it's essential that you can
communicate in a timely manner with the landlord to get issues settled.
How are the chores distributed?
Also, if there is some storage place (or
parking) to store bigger items like bikes, that is a big bonus.
Living together means doing the chores together. I've lived in situations where I was the only one cleaning and
situations where the chores were well distributed via a fixed schedule. Unfortunately, we don't always do what we
say and this one would just need to be taken at face value. If you find dirty dishes or a messy apartment during
your visit, this is obviously a bit of a red flag.
How social are you?
I wasn't cooking everyday but I would definitely cook up something once in a while and loved sharing it as well. If
anyone has food restrictions or are not okay with something like meat being cooked at home, it's essential to clear
that up beforehand.
it is very important to get a clear picture of the number of people you will actually end up living with. I've been
in situations where both my roomates essentially lived with their respective significant others leaving me pretty
much alone at home. In other situations we were 3 people living in a cramped apartment that barely supported 2
people, for most of the week.
A last item of interest is the frequency and number of friends and relatives staying or popping by the
apartment. I'm relatively a social person so this did not bother me too much but it's good to know if you can
roomie's mother to be doing the laundry on Sunday morning when you are not the most presentable.
What are the neighbours like?
You don't want to be the third wheel.
This is a point that does not get much attention but living with good neighbours is a huge positive. I've had some
really great experiences here and would recommend getting to know your neighbours well. Chances are they are also
living in a shared space and it's great to be able to throw huge parties with them :)
Happy apartment hunting!
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