Living with a roommate can be one of the best experiences of your life or the worst. Although it’s important to find New Jersey roommates with personalities and interests that mesh with yours, enjoying the same TV shows doesn’t necessarily guarantee a positive apartment-sharing experience. Luckily, you can avoid potential roommate problems by keeping these things in mind.
Everyone’s on their best behavior when meeting with potential roommates. Unfortunately, you may only discover your roommate has a few negative qualities after living with him or her for a few months. Before you move in together, ask about:
Noise: How much is too much? Can you agree on quiet hours for the apartment?
Solitude: Does your roommate prefer to spend most of his/her time alone or socializing with roommates?
Overnight Guests: How often do you and your roommate expect to host overnight guests? Do you want to limit the number of days per month overnight guests can stay in your apartment?
Smoking, Drinking, Drugs: How do both of you feel about smoking, drinking, and drug use? How much is too much?
- Entertaining: How often do you or your roommate plan to throw parties or invite friends to visit?
Consider creating a roommate agreement, a document that helps you determine how you’ll handle the issues that can complicate sharing an apartment with someone else. Your agreement should cover rent payments, utility costs, room assignments, moving out prematurely, dispute resolutions, guests, pets, noise levels, cooking, and cleaning. Keep in mind that roommate agreements aren’t legally binding, except in the case of financial matters, according to NOLO.
Apartments often have one bedroom that’s larger than the other. If the bedrooms are different sizes or one has an ensuite bathroom, will one roommate pay less rent than the other? Will you have separate leases or a joint lease? If you make one payment to your landlord instead of individual payments, who will make the payment? When will the rent be due? If one person pays rent or utility bills, how will the other person pay or reimburse him or her?
Will you be going to bed when your roommate is just getting home from work? Different work schedules aren’t necessarily a problem as long as you’re both willing to make some concessions. Your roommate may need to avoid banging pots and pans while she’s making dinner at 1 a.m., while you might need to delay vacuuming until she’s awake.
Chances are at least one of you will be working at home at least occasionally. In fact, 58% of Americans now work from home at least one day per week, according to McKinsey’s American Opportunity Survey.
If you’ll both be working from home, it’s a good idea to create a few guidelines regarding acceptable behavior. For example, when you’re both home, work calls may need to be conducted in your bedrooms behind closed doors. Or you might need to turn down your tunes when your roommate is giving an important presentation via Zoom.
The Nitty Gritty
Although it may seem like overkill, discussing the little details of everyday life is the simplest way to avoid roommate problems. During your discussion, think about:
Cleaning: Do you have similar cleanliness standards? How often should dishes be washed – after every meal or once a day? Will you use a cleaning schedule for decluttering, vacuuming, mopping, dusting, deep cleaning, etc.? If you share a bathroom, how will you split cleaning duties?
COVID: What steps will you take if one of you becomes ill? Will the sick person need to remain isolated in their room? For how long? Will you allow visitors if COVID cases increase substantially in your part of New Jersey?
The Future: How long do both of you plan to live in a New Jersey apartment with a roommate? Does either of you plan to relocate, get married or move in with family members in the next year or two? If your potential roommate can’t commit to living with you for at least one year, it may be best to move on to the next candidate.
Looking for the perfect New Jersey apartment to share with a roommate? Country Classics’ offers convenient rental communities throughout Central New Jersey. One of them may be the perfect choice for you and your roommate.