How to Confront a Bad Roommate

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Ah, bad roommates. At some point in our lives, we will probably all have a bad roommate. It will either be our friend that we never imagined was so messy, the relative that has an unbelievable disregard for privacy or the stranger that moved in when we were completely desperate. Either way, every roommate cannot be perfect, so when things get to be too unlivable, it becomes necessary to confront the other person. Of course there is a right and a wrong way to do this, and the wrong way can make things much, much worse (if that’s even possible), so here are some tips to make this more of a friendly discussion than a confrontation:

1.) Pick the right place and time. Don’t bombard your roommate at 2:00 in the morning just as they walk in the door from an all-night study session during finals week. Instead, schedule a time in the future to talk about the issues. And don’t worry about keeping it all secretive; chances are your roommate knows you both need to talk too. A good idea is to schedule it for a time when the both of you can relax, like Friday night after you both get home from work. That’ll give you the chance to talk things through and then even go out for a beer afterward.

2.) Say what you need to say. There is no point in having this discussion if you just casually browse over your points. If you’re upset about something, you need to address it. Otherwise, they might not even know it’s a problem, will keep doing it, and this meeting will have been completely useless. If you need to make a list, do that; just so long as you find a way to say what you need to say.

3.) Listen. Every story has too sides. Maybe they never load the dishwasher because they have no idea how a dishwasher works. No matter how silly it may sound, you have no idea what their backstory may be. Allow them a chance to explain their behavior, and then don’t get defensive if they have a few problems with your behavior as well. You’re not perfect either, you know.

4.) Be ready to compromise. Living with another person means you aren’t always going to get your way. However, you both can meet in the middle, so be ready to give a little bit in one area in order to get a little in another.

5.) Plan something for after. Some talks are better ended when each person goes their separate way for a night (which is completely understandable) and some conversations are best ended when each roommate goes out for a beer and gets over the whole thing. Planning for something to do will give you a way out either way, you just have to choose whether or not to invite them after your talk.

And don’t forget; for dorm safety items (like pepper spraysafes and personal alarms), check out our store at www.secureoncampus.com, and for dorm decorations (like dorm lightingfun drinking games, and wall decals) check out our store at www.thegoodlifeoncampus.com!

Forgotten Questions for Screening Potential Roommates

So it looks like you need a roommate. Maybe you like the idea of paying less in rent and utilities every month or maybe you’re just sick of making funny jokes every night and having no one around to laugh at them. Either way, you’ve started searching for a roommate. Luckily, you’ve probably found a few potentials.

However, even though you’ll probably ask them the basic questions (do you have pets, are you a smoker, etc.), there are a few additional questions you need to ask before you truly decide to live with this person.

1.) Do you use any drugs? Asking “Are you a smoker?” covers the basics, but it’s leaving out quite a bit of other things. Marijuana is technically a drug, and even if you’re cool with it, if your roommate admits to using it that means they’re going to be keeping some of it in your house. Marijuana is still very illegal in many states, which means if it’s in your house you are also at risk.

2.) Are you okay with my pet? You might be okay with their pet hamster, but will they be okay with your 16 pound cat that has a tendency for ripping lids off of cages? Just as they have to be forthcoming, you have to be forthcoming as well. Otherwise you could have some serious issues on move-in day.

live lavish

3.) Why did you leave your last residence? This question is essential. Of course you are going to do a background check with every applicant (you are, right?), so this question will not only let the explain themselves if something unsavory were to come up, but it will also prove whether they are honest or not in the first place. And don’t let them get away with a vague, “Oh I don’t know, I just had to leave.” You have every right to know the details. Plus, you need to be aware of badmouthing; this is just like a job interview, and badmouthing previous employers is never a good sign.

4.) What are your other expenses? This might sound nosy, but the question is absolutely necessary. Your rent may be quite low for the area, but if they’re paying thousands of dollars off in student loans and credit card debt, your measly $300 a month might be the one thing they plan on skimping on every month.

5.) How do you like to spend your free time? This should give you an idea of what kind of noise/activity level you’re going to be dealing with. If they say they love to cuddle up with a good book and a cup of tea on their days off, that’s much different than the roommate that says they like to “have a good time” on the weekends.

And don’t forget; for dorm safety items (like pepper spraysafes and personal alarms), check out our store at www.secureoncampus.com, and for dorm decorations (like dorm lightingfun drinking games, and wall decals) check out our store at www.thegoodlifeoncampus.com!

Buying a House with Friends

Let’s face it; paying rent sucks. It’s usually just money that’s going to nothing. Plus, you really have no say over what happens at your home. You need new locks put on the doors? It’s probably going to happen whenever your landlord gets around to it. When you own your own home the both of you can determine everything that happens with it. You can install a home alarm system, you don’t have to  worry about being evicted for having your  music too loud and you don’t have to hide your cat anymore.

Nowadays, more and more friends have been pooling their money together to buy a home. You might hear the term “mingles” being used to describe them. And it seems banks are even catching onto the trend, as more and more lenders are tailoring specific loans to friends looking to make a home purchase together.

And while there are many positives to such a relationship (your rent might be exactly the same, but now you’re both building equity with those monthly payments), there are definitely some other factors that you need to consider.

1.) How well do you know your friend? If you’ve known this person since childhood and are personally aware of the fact that they have never paid a bill late in their entire lives, then that’s a pretty good sign. Keep in mind though, if you guys are planning on living together in this house, are you ready to have them as a roommate? Just because you get along well doesn’t mean you can live together. Everyone has a few little quirks that might be deal-breakers to a roommate.

2.) Discuss all finances. Your credit score and putting in for a home loan aren’t the only things you need to consider. After you own the home, how much do each of you have for an emergency fund? Do both of you have enough money saved to pay for burst pipes or a failed roof? Homeownership between two people leaves no room for financial secrecy.

3.) Have you hired the right people? It’s not only important to hire an experienced real estate agent, but also an experienced real estate attorney. Since the paperwork will be different than that of a single buyer or a married couple, it’s very, very important that every, single detail be reviewed by an attorney. This will not only force you both to review each document in detail so you are both well prepared for the commitment, but it will clear things up should anything happen that would need to be settled in the future.

4.) Have you drawn up a lease? Even though you both own the home, a lease is an absolute must should things ever go downhill later. A lease should specify cohabitation terms. People change, and you want to make sure the person you are planning on living with does not change into a terror of a roommate. Then your hands are tied. A lease will ensure a comfortable and expected living space for both of you. Don’t be too nervous though, a lease can always be changed or adjusted in the future.

5.) Have you looked into insurance? Many couples both buy insurance separately, naming the other party as the beneficiary. This way, if one of you meets an untimely death, the other won’t be left in hot water.

And don’t forget; for dorm safety items (like pepper spraysafes and personal alarms), check out our store at www.secureoncampus.com, and for dorm decorations (like dorm lightingfun drinking games, and wall decals) check out our store at www.thegoodlifeoncampus.com!

How to Find a Roommate: The Safe Way

Folks, I’m originally from a small town in western Montana. There, everyone knows everyone. If you need a roommate you simply tell a friend you need a roommate and within a week or so someone you know (or at least vaguely know) gets in contact with you saying their up for the roomie job. And forget about having to research anyone, you just ask your mutual friends how tough they are to live with. Bam: new roommate.

Most places are a bit different, especially in a new college town. You don’t know anyone, and if you’re planning on living off-campus (which I admit is can be a huge money saver), your roommate search might prove some interesting results. Here’s how to make sure you end up with a good one.

1.) Create a wish list. Before you even start looking you need to get an idea of what you’re looking for. Do you prefer a male or female roommate? Is there a certain age you feel comfortable with? A young college student might be up for partying every night of the week, while a 60 year old woman might prefer you to keep the television on mute after 4:00 in the evening. Are you (or your landlord) okay with pets? Think about these things before beginning your search.

2.) Look everywhere. There are countless places to look for potential roommates, so don’t limit yourself. Want ads in the newspaper, Craigslist, or even places you hang out. Spread the word around your local watering hole that you’ve got an extra room opening up. You also should post an ad (either in the paper, on Craigslist or on flyer’s around the city, whatever you can afford). In it, emphasize the good qualities of your apartment. So what if it’s tiny, does it have hardwood floors? Is it close to the university? Some great pictures (of your well-lit, clean apartment) should be included as well.

3.) Narrow down the responses. Chances are, unless you live in a dungeon (and even if you live in a dungeon), you’re going to get a decent number of responses. Go through and find the ones you think would make a realistic roommate and make a list. Then call them, and talk with them on the phone to narrow down the list further. After that, arrange to meet them in person, in a public place. After your in-person meetings you should have a handful of people that get to see the apartment (not after step 4 though).

4.) Research them. This may seem a little judgmental, but it’s better to be safe than sorry. Google your potential roommate…thoroughly. Check their Facebook page twitter account. What are they posting about? What are their friends posting about? How do they spend their free time? Do they air out their dirty laundry on Facebook or are they respectful of people they know?

5.) Get your deposit. After you’ve found a good match and they agree to live with you, get your deposit. They might not work out, and you can always refund them if they move out, but you need to make sure you’re not stuck with the bill if they decide to do some impromptu remodeling.

6.) Be wary. No matter how much you’ve researched them, your new roommate still might not be a great match. So keep your valuables locked up and stored in a safe place until you really get to know the person you’re now living with.

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