Apartments and houses in Jakarta’s top spots are not so cheap. As a way to save budget, many people chose to share a place with a housemate (or housemates). This can be a new and exciting experience where you can make a new friend and share loads of memories with them.
For fans of TV shows like F.R.I.E.N.D.S, it is your perfect opportunity to find your Joey to your Chandler or your Rachel to your Monica.
However, it can also be pretty daunting because after all, they are a stranger. Most of us will think twice before talking to strangers, let alone live with them. Furthermore, there are probably numerous questions regarding safety and conflict of interests that bug you, whilst sitting on the fence about getting a roommate.
So how should I pick the best housemates for me?
If you are contemplating getting a roommate, a housemate, or whatever you wanna call it, be sure to check out this guide on the dos and don’ts on choosing in a roommate in Jakarta.
1. Do find roommates through trusted sources
One of the most common worries among those hunting for a new roommate would be, “How do I know my roommate will not end up being a serial killer of some sorts?”.
Although it may be a bit of a stretch, the concern is indeed valid given the anonymity of the internet. This is where the resources which we use to source for our roommate becomes extremely crucial.
It is important to use trusted sites like Roomster, Roomates, Roomiematch and Roomies to find your roommates. These websites link the LinkedIn, Facebook and other social media accounts of your potential roommate to help verify their identity.
It also allows you to ‘stalk’ them and see if their lifestyle matches yours which may help you narrow down your potential choices.
2. Don’t just carry out conversations online, meet your potential roommate in person
If there is anything that reality MTV shows like ‘Catfish’ taught us is that anyone can put on a fake facade and pretend someone they are not on the internet. With our busy schedules and lifestyles we may be carried away with chatting with our potential roommates solely via the internet before moving in.
However, to prevent you from getting a rude shock, it is crucial that you meet up with your potential roommate face to face, at least once before hand to get to know more about them as a person and talk about your rooming preferences. You will be surprised how different people may seem online and offline.
3. Do pick a roommate of similar wavelength to you
If you are some sort of workaholic adult, the last person you would want as your roommate would be a party-animal college student. Just imagine walking into your house blasting with music when you are just dying to get a good night’s sleep.
Choosing a roommate is beyond sharing merely a roof with someone it is also about sharing a lifestyle with them. Hence it is important to not settle for someone who does not share the same priorities and habits as you.
To save yourself from the frustration it is best to talk these out before moving in. Furthermore, by selecting a roommate who shares the same wavelength as you, you can also ensure that beyond someone whom you simply co-exist with and tolerate, you are able to make a lasting friend out of your roommate.
4. Do settle administrative and financial arrangements before moving in
Money might be a touchy subject for some but when you are rooming with someone, there is no room for uncertainty with regards to finances. It is important that both of you decide beforehand on how much you are going to be contributing in terms of rent.
If you feel like most of the furniture and electronics is yours and you feel that he/she should be paying more, do bring it up to your roommate as early as possible as it might be difficult to change after moving in.
Also decide on other types of payment arrangements like utility bills and weekly groceries. It might be good to also note if your roommate has a steady source of income so you can be ensured that rents will be paid on time.
5. Don’t be shy to voice out your pressing concerns regarding your living habits
Everyone has certain living habits that are unique to us and to be fair to both our roommates and ourselves it is best we make these habits and conditions known beforehand to our roommates.
Whether you have strict preferences on cleanliness of our house or if you are allergic to certain animals or dislike animals in general, do make it known to your roommate. Wouldn’t want to live in a house with an animal I despise if you ask me.
6. Don’t rush into rooming with anyone
It is inevitable that with strict schedules and moving in dates, we might feel compelled to move in with a roommate that might not entirely be that suitable for us. However, it is important that you do not rush into living with a roommate that you do not feel 100% comfortable with.
You might convince yourself by saying that you will learn to compromise and everything will get better with time. However, this is a long term commitment and you will be spending a lot of roommate so it might get difficult to keep biting your tongue.
Just be patient and wait out until the perfect roommate comes along, and I’m sure you will find one from the plenty available.
7. Do exercise precaution about the information you do and don’t share with your roommate
There are certain information about yourself that is crucial for your roommate to know about like the contact of your next of kin or the person to contact in case of emergency.
Also, it is critical that you let your roommate be aware of your past medical history and any medication that you may be taking so that he/she will be able to tend to you in case of a medical emergency.
There are other information logically, that is best if you kept to yourself like your bank details and passwords. Although we might trust them after living together for a while, it is important to not let your guard down and be too naive. They are after all a stranger that you happen to be living with.
Better safe than sorry, am I right?
8. Don’t forget to finalise all living agreements in a contract
Ah, the final step after deciding on all your living conditions and finances is ultimately legitimising them via a legally binding contract. Having a contract that states the conditions of living arrangements that have be agreed upon prior to moving in will help you, should your roommate suddenly flip the switch on you and disagree to your living agreements.
Do include crucial information such as the division of living space, quiet hours, division of food, presence overnight guests, etc in your contract. You can find numerous templates of such contracts on the internet for reference!
Living with a stranger can be pretty apprehensive but with these tips you are definitely ready to be roommate hunting! If you follow the tips and pick the right roommate, you not only pick a great temporary neighbour to share the roof with but also a long lasting friend for life.
There are so many stories of roommates who have turned best friends, will yours be one too?