Renters Beware: Pick Your Roommates Wisely this Fall

There are numerous reasons for considering getting a roommate when you are renting an apartment. Most of these reasons are fairly obvious, but you may have overlooked the intangibles, such as: friendship, safety, learning how to cook, cultivating patience, and financial literacy.

  • Monday, September 2, 2019

  Roommate Finder   

There are numerous reasons for considering getting a roommate when you are renting an apartment. Most of these reasons are fairly obvious, but you may have overlooked some of these "in a perfect world" benefits:

  • Since, in some cities, renting an apartment can be expensive, it makes sense to split the costs with someone you know well or have adequately vetted.
  • Your roommate may become a life-long friend.
  • You'll have someone to hang out with, talk to, and maybe, if you're lucky someone who can cook.
  • You will increase your patience.
  • Having a roommate can help you feel safe.
  • Your people skills will improve.
  • You and your roommate can share household chores. Be sure to address the issue on the front end of the negotiating, or resentment will positively build, which is no fun at all.

8 Key Points to Picking a Roommate 

1. One of the best pieces of advice aimed at getting a roommate is that you take your time. Planning will allow you to find the person with whom you have most in common. Interviewing compatible roommates will also give you time to meet with several potential co-renters and ruminate over what types of traits and personalities mesh with you and your characteristics.

2. Ensure that your potential roommate has a job and enough expendable income to share the costs of living in a rental apartment. And, yes, you need some verification of his or her monetary status. An action like this may seem somewhat awkward, but complete it before you agree with your roommate.

3. Before picking the person with whom you will share an apartment, find out as much as you can about the person's habits. For example:

  • Is he or she outgoing?

  • Does he or she like loud music?

  • Is either one of you introverted?

  • Do you like to have a bit of solitude?

This interchange does not have to be as uncomfortable as a police interview. Spend some time with your possible roommate to get to know his or her likes and dislikes.

4. You can learn many things by visiting your potential roommate in the place where he or she currently lives. You can tell a lot about a person by noting the cleanliness of their current living space. If you are a neatnik and your potential roommate is a slob, that usually means this partnership will not work out for the two of you.

5. Get your financial situation straightened out before you firm up your agreement. Some roommates share the grocery costs, so food in the pantry and refrigerator does not have to be labeled. Often, roommates also share the price of a cleaning person or company which takes the burden off both people who live in the apartment.

6. Don't fool yourself into letting a good friend become your roommate just because you're friends. Some friendships cannot weather a living together arrangement. Honestly evaluate whether or not the two of you could share a living space.

7. Make sure you both agree on particular terms included in the agreement. Specificity is vitally important.

8. As coarse as this may sound if you do not know your potential roommate very well, it's crucial to run a background check. A criminal and credit check-up can make the difference between trusting your roommate and having a roommate who is a criminal.

Do I Have to Worry About My Roommate's Background?

Yes, you do have to worry about who you chose to live with you. Unfortunately, in today's world, the number of criminals walking our streets increases daily. The facts we share with you may seem a bit scary, but, more than anything else, we want to keep our tenants safe. When you are secure and fully educated on how to check backgrounds and how to avoid any criminal exposure, everyone breathes a sigh of relief.

In 2017, the University of Georgia found that, as of 2010, three percent of the US' population and approximately 15 percent of the African-American male population have served prison time. Another way to put it is that in 2010, the US was the home of 19 million people with a felony record.

Violent crimes rates increased between 2004 and 2006 and rose again in 2014 and 2016.

In 2017, there were over 600 violent crimes per 100,000 residents in Alaska, New Mexico, and Tennessee.

Pew Research found that most crimes do not get reported to police, and most reported crimes are not solved. One of the main reasons crimes do not get reported is that some people think the police could not be of help. Others may believe that a crime was too trivial or a personal issue, according to the Bureau of Justice Statistics.

The FBI has what they call a "clearance rate." It measures how many cases close following an arrest, charging, or referral for prosecution. Police across the nation cleared 46 percent of violent crimes reported in 2017.

Are Roommate Matching Services Safe?

When CraigsList first put up its site, the possibilities of positive outcomes seemed fantastic. In most cases, CraigsList helped many a person get a job; sell their homes; sell their vintage furniture, and even make some excellent matches. But most people know that the history of CraigsList has had its share of traumas.

  • In 2009, Philip Markoff, also known as the Craigslist Killer, met Julissa Brisman on the Craigslist site. Later Markoff shot Brisman at the Marriott Copley Place Hotel in Boston.
  • Brandon Kent arrived to purchase a motorcycle he had seen on Craigslist. The owner of the cycle, Thai Lam, was shot by Kent and fled the scene on Lam's motorcycle. Kent is serving a life sentence.
  • Mary Jane Scanlon, age 70, posted on Craigslist for the assistance of a caretaker. Diane Warrick responded. Later Warrick stabbed Scanlon in her bed. Warrick is serving 31 years to a life sentence.

These cases are part of more than 58 such crimes linked to the use of Craigslist.

Today there are numerous websites devoted to matching up roommates. The risk of choosing the wrong roommate online, however, continues to be risky. VeticalRent's soon-to-be-released Roommate Finder will have numerous safety features to protect both renters and landlords alike. Until then, here 5 safety precautions we feel are necessary:

1. Never meet with your prospective roommate by yourself. Take along a friend and make sure your phone has a full charge.

2. Meet in a public place for a cup of coffee. Ask the relevant questions and leave in your car or prearranged public transit.

3. If you feel that something is off during your conversation, trust your gut. Your gut is usually right.

4. If you use a roommate finder, be sure you can contact a real person who will review roommate profiles and will flag anyone who seems out of place.

5. Some finding sites give you information about your prospects such as their Facebook address; their LinkedIn account, and more.

VerticalRent

Here at VerticalRent, our job is to assist our clients in tenant screening. We offer landlords tools that analyze a prospective renter's criminal background, their credit reports, and any eviction reports that occurred. Our company has also developed, over the years, unique features that:

  • Allow renters to pay their rent online
  • Assists renters in submitting maintenance requests
  • Find roommates nationwide 

All of which makes renting or being a landlord faster, easier, and more convenient.

Our team is also able to promote your rental listings to more than 120 million Americans via Zillow, Trulia, and Hotpads. VerticalRent also offers its customers a free website that allows for automatic lead management and the ability to set a rental application fee. You will find that creating a rental listing and casting it across the Internet takes only a few minutes. Our software also makes it possible to use lead autoreply to keep potential renters engaged. Landlords will find that the number of applicants grows enough to enable him or her to choose tenants that will "fit right in," and be happy with their new digs.

Here are a few facts we want to share with you:

  • Approximately 50 percent of our population are renters!
  • Many renters do so because they want to save up for their first home.
  • Landlords can use the time when an apartment is not rented to perform maintenance that is difficult when tenants are in the venue.
  • If your credit is in poor shape, there are still ways to get approved for a rental.
  • Consider joining or forming a Tenant Association.
  • It's always smart to know your rights as a tenant. Renters have defined rights by law.
  • Landlords are required to give tenants notice 24 hours before they visit your home.

Contact us today to learn more about rental property management software; tenant screening; how to advertise rental vacancies, and how to manage rental financials. We can also help you find a roommate! Since 2011, over 50,000 people across the US have trusted our company with their landlord-tenant issues. Let us be your renter/rental business support.



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