Written by Callum Dawson from Essential Living, a London property developer with stunning apartments to rent across the UK.
So, you’re moving to a new city. Soon, your life will be packed up into boxes and taken to an exciting new location. As scary as this new location might seem, you should know that you’re part of a generation that has no qualms with upping sticks and moving to a new, faraway city. You’re in good company!
It is stressful, and the prospect of finding suitable flatmates is probably the most stressful part. Your worries will likely range from the trivial to some more pressing concerns… Will they share the same taste in films as you? What about your interior decor? Can you rely on them to pay their share of the rent?
Here are some ways you can find flatmates in a new city, and some tips on how to avoid making some of the more common mistakes that others in your position have made.
Use the internet to your advantage
When you’re looking for flatmates, the World Wide Web should be your first port of call; you can tailor your needs and requirements accordingly, and remove those you think are unsuitable from your search.
There are plenty of sites that will help you find flatmates. For example, SpareRoom is a popular one in the UK, as is EasyRoommate. These sites let you post details of your property if you already have somewhere to stay, but you can also search for properties that have rooms available, too.
Many of these sites will also send you notifications when an opportunity in your desired location comes up, so you can stay ahead of the game. It can get competitive!
… this includes social media, too
You’re looking for flatmates, so spread the word on social media. You can use your social media platforms to advertise your needs and reach circles beyond your own. Write a post that explains your situation and the city you’re moving to, with all your requirements for a decent roommate laid out in plain terms.
Then, ask your friends and family to share the post. With any luck, you’ll reach groups way out of your usual circles and should land upon a suitable match. You might not be lucky enough to move in with your best friend, but if your cousin’s old university pal is looking for a roommate too, then that’s an opportunity!
It’s all about making the most of your social network and putting the word out there.
Rent your place first, then find flatmates
This doesn’t work for everyone, as you’ll need the money to cover your whole lease while having a trusting-enough landlord to let you do it. If you’re in a position to do this, however, read on!
By finding a place and signing a lease, the hardest part is out of the way. Depending on the city you’re moving to, the competition is likely to be fierce. Potential roommates, on the other hand, are everywhere, and all you’ll have to do is pick your favourites.
So, advertise your new home and wait for the enquiries to roll in.
Reach out within your workplace or university
Whether you’re in full-time work or at university, you can reach out to those around you. Similar to using social media, you may have colleagues who move in distant circles. Again, your reach will extend out from your own and will help get your word out.
If you’re at university, post a few notices in areas commonly frequented by your fellow students. For example, leaving your advertisement on the library noticeboard will ensure that it gets seen by plenty of people.
Interviewing your potential flatmates
Once you find your potential flatmates, it’s time to whittle them down according to which are the most suitable. Whether it’s over the phone or in person, ask them a few questions to make sure they’re a good egg.
Try to get a feel for their lifestyle. What time do they usually get up for work? Are their schedules compatible with yours, or will their 3 a.m. film marathons keep you awake? Here are some questions you should ask:
- Do you have any pets?
- What time do you usually get up for work, and go to sleep?
- Do you have a partner, and how often will they visit?
- How do you like to relax at home in your free time?
- Are you allergic to anything?
- Do you smoke?
Here you will find all the top questions you need to ask your potential flatmates before moving in together.
Settling into a new home can be challenging, especially in a colossal city that you barely know. With the above tips, you can find your ideal flatmates and create a living space that caters to every individual. And, remember: the more work you put into the search now, the less problems you’re likely to have later on.