How to Find a Roommate in a Brand New City

Finding the right roommate can be difficult, but it’s even more of a challenge if you’ve moved to a new city where you don’t know a soul, don’t know the neighborhoods and don’t even know how to get around. These pointers can help you navigate through the choppy waters of new surroundings as you’re looking for an apartment to rent — with the added bonus of a congenial roommate with whom to share your living expenses.

Where to Look for Roommates

As the internet’s leading classifieds website, attracts millions of viewers, so you can be sure that if you post an ad there, it will be seen. Likewise, with so many posters advertising apartment rentals or looking for roommates themselves, you’ll have a great chance of finding the right match — and has thousands of roommate postings from across the country every single day. Best of all, it’s completely free to post an ad or respond to it, and you can respond to as many ads as you wish.

What You Need to Know

Once you find an ad that interests you, you’ll need to ask these important questions when you respond:

1) Information About the Neighborhood

Will the neighborhood suit your lifestyle? If you like to walk, does it have sidewalks and is it close to parks and outdoor recreational areas? Is it close enough to your job (if you already have one) or in an area where you can find a suitable job? Likewise, is it close to attractions and shopping so you won’t have to rely on long drives, bus rides or cabs?

If you don’t know anything at all about the neighborhood, you’ll need to ask as many questions as possible. You’ll also need to resort to Google (and Google Maps) to get pictures of the neighborhood and to locate nearby shops, parks, restaurants and other amenities.

2) What Are the Transportation Options From That Location?

Whether or not you have a car, you’ll still want to know if the neighborhood is close to mass transit stops. Even if you have a car, it’s good to have a bus stop close by in case your always-dependable set of wheels breaks down. If you don’t have a car, you’ll want an apartment that’s close to bus stops and/or subway stations. Otherwise, you’ll be spending another month’s rent in cab fare, shoe leather and podiatrist visits.

3) Are Pets Allowed?

If you already have a pet or are planning to get one, the first thing you’ll need to do is ask your potential roommate if that’s okay. Don’t assume that everyone will just adore Fido or Fluffy –plus, some people have pet allergies. Likewise, find out if the landlord allows pets, and how much the pet deposit will be.

Meeting Your Potential Roommate

Here comes the hard part — trying to set up a meeting with your potential roommate. If you can afford it, it’s well worth driving or flying out to meet the person with whom you’re planning to live. If this isn’t possible, at least get to know each other through lots of emails and phone calls. Otherwise, if you’ve signed a lease agreement and the two of you meet and dislike each other on sight (and this can happen), you’re trapped — and so is the other person.

A personal visit also gives you the chance to scope out your new living quarters, because you might dislike them on sight as well. If things don’t click, you can shake hands and get out of Dodge as fast as you can with no harm done.

By asking a lot of questions, using and getting to know the person first, even if it’s by long distance, you should be able to find a likable roommate who can even put up with your annoying idiosyncrasies, and vice versa.