Finding people to live with can be daunting. It’s just another added stress to relocating, especially if you’re moving far away from people you know and feel comfortable with. The whole process is filled with rejection and uneasy first meetings. After all, you could end up living with these people! As in, sleeping yards away from each other. How strange is that?
Unfortunately job offers, placements and circumstances arise that force you to move away and with the cost of living going up, it can be virtually impossible to afford to live on your own. This is even more so true in a city like London. It’s just the way it is.
Because finding the ideal housemate can be so arduous, here are a few tips to keep in mind and to help you with the process:
1) There is No “Perfect Housemate”
You could probably make a long list of what you do and do not want in a housemate that’s as long as your arm. It can soon drift into the impossible, like them making you breakfast every morning and getting the bacon just as you like it. So firstly get it out of your head that there will be differences and the idea of the perfect housemate, doesn’t quite exist. Even best friends don’t always make the best housemate; they’re two completely different things.
2) It’s Not All About You
Yes, you’re looking for housemates, but so are those who you’ll be meeting with. If you go to meet a group about moving into a room they have spare, then be aware that they’re interviewing for a housemate as well. If they’ve been living together for a while, it’s really their home, to begin with (though that will and should change over time). A dynamic will be there, and they’ll probably feel just as odd interviewing for a new person to join their friendship circle essentially. So be wary not to make too many demands, though balancing it with what you deserve as a paying tenant. If they’re worth moving in with, they’ll accommodate you and do everything to make the transition as natural as possible. If not, it’s clear they just want to someone just like their old housemate and would probably be better off getting a smaller place together.
3) Ask at Work
If you’ve recently moved to a new area for work, it’s always worth asking around the office. It may feel a bit awkward if you’ve just met these co-workers but it can be a good ice-breaker. If you’re really lucky and hit it off with someone they themselves might be looking for someone. It’s a great way to ingratiate yourself into new social circles. If there is a communal board in the kitchen, put up a message especially if you work in a large office and don’t speak to everyone.
4) Try Social Media
It’s as simple as typing into Twitter the area you’re looking to move to, with key phrases such as ‘housemate’, ‘looking for’, ‘estates agents london’, room to rent’, ‘rent’ or ‘flatmate Bristol’. You may find someone complaining or venting if they can’t find a housemate themselves, or you’ll come across organisations and services which specialise in pairing people together, who can help you.
If you’re a student, your student union should be able to provide you some options to find those in a similar circumstances. Visit the housing office on campus and an advisor will be able to talk about options. It can be a huge worry when you’re studying away from home or in a new country, and don’t know anyone. However, remind yourself that hundreds of students find themselves in this kind of situation every year and they find a place. Your standards as a student should be a bit lower; it’s just the way or a rite of passage as one, but it’s usually just for a year anyway.