6 Tips for Finding a Roommate When You’re 50 Plus
Having a roommate isn’t something that is restricted to any specific age. Sure, it’s true that people are more likely to room together when they are younger, but there are still plenty of reasons—new city, divorce, increased living expenses, etc.—people who are 50 years and older might be looking for a roommate.
In fact, according to one recent study, searches for roommates done by people over 50 have been increasing twice as much as they have been with any other age group. Looking for roommates is especially common in cities with larger populations, such as New York, Los Angeles, or Chicago.
Finding a new place to live can be exciting. But it can also be a bit overwhelming at times—especially when you know you’ll need a roommate that is yet to be discovered. And if it’s been a while since you last went hunting for a roomie, you might not know the best way to get started.
Fortunately, there are quite a few things you can do to help make your search for the perfect roommate just a little bit easier.
Use a Roommate Matching Website
These days, there are resources on the internet that can help you find just about anything—including responsible, likeable, and compatible roommates.
RentHop is a great resource that you can use throughout the apartment hunting process. The website allows users to search different NYC apartments, along with other apartments in a growing number of cities. By finding an apartment (or list of apartments) you know you’d like to live in, finding your roommate should be a bit easier.
Identify Your Personal “Must Haves”—and “Must Not Haves”
Not everyone you meet is necessarily someone you’d want to live with—and that’s okay. However, there is no denying that creating a clear list of wants and don’t-wants will help significantly improve the odds of finding someone who is compatible. Start by thinking about the kind of place you’d like to live in. Do you need a place that is pet friendly? A place with a garage? A place that is in a certain neighborhood or within a certain commuting distance from your work?
You’ll also want to think about your own personality. Are you a morning person or a night owl? Do you enjoy taking it easy or are you always trying to socialize? Whatever your answer to these questions might be, taking time to consider these things will make it much easier to narrow down your options.
Use Social Media—but Be Sure to Meet in Person
Just about everyone seems to be on social media these days (including 69 percent of people between 50 and 64), which can be a great resource for making new connections. And, in fact, there are often groups created to specifically help people find roommates or make friends in a brand-new city.
Facebook is particularly helpful for finding roommates. If you’re looking to live in a large city like New York, you should be able to find dozens of these groups with just a few minutes of searching. However, to ensure that the person you are considering living with is compatible—and is who they present themselves as online—it is usually a good idea to meet up in person, at least once, before committing to a lease.
Don’t Limit Yourself to Your Own Age Group
During the hunt for a new roommate, one of the biggest mistakes you can make is unnecessarily limiting your options. Many people who are in their 50s or 60s will assume they need to live with someone in the same age group when, in reality, there are likely many compatible roommates in other age groups as well.
A college student living with someone who is on the verge of retirement might be surprising, but these sorts of arrangements can frequently be mutually beneficial. Just be sure that you both have a clear understanding of what you want your living experience to be like and are both empathetic to the other person’s needs.
Ask Within Your Own Network
Everyone you know knows at least one person looking for a roommate right now—they know you.
But there is also a reasonable possibility that they know another person in a similar situation. If you are looking for a new roommate, it can never hurt to reach out to those you know and see if they have anyone in mind. The odds of them having at least one compatible name are likely much higher than you’d initially assume.
Be Willing to Be Flexible
It is important to establish boundaries and its important to know yourself. But its also important to realize that there are some things you might need to be a little bit flexible with. The more things you refuse to budge on, the harder your search for a roommate will be.
In New York, being willing to live outside of Manhattan will significantly expand your range of affordable options. Being willing to sacrifice certain amenities, modify your budget, or change your move-in date will also afford you a bit more room to work with.
You may or may not be thrilled about the prospect of looking for a roommate right now. And that’s fine. But it is definitely good to know that you have quite a few options available and that finding a roommate is something people can do at any given age.