Finding and choosing room mates can be difficult, especially when you are trying to do it from abroad. However, it’s advisable to really talk to a potential flatmate before deciding to rent together. If you can’t meet in person, why not using video chat. That will give you a much better impression than via email or on the phone.
Things to consider when choosing room mates
1. Gender ratio
Before even selecting someone to interview, it’s good to consider if you want to have a household with only men or only women or a mixed household. Also, check if your future landlord has any preference. Some landlords prefer to only rent to groups of mixed gender.
Of course, you don’t want to live with someone who is incredibly messy. But if you’re a little unorganized yourself, you certainly also don’t want to live with a neat freak. Chances are that you’ll drive each other nuts. See if you can find someone with similar habits, or otherwise, see if you can work on a compromise before deciding to rent together.
- How often do you clean?
- Do you smoke?
- How often do you cook at home?
3. Schedules and studies
Everyone could use time to themselves. Roommates who follow the same studies or have a schedule too similar, might end up suffocating one another. Of course, you also don’t want to room with someone whose interests and schedule differ so much that you never connect. Try and find someone where you can balance each other’s interests and schedule.
4. Socializing habits
If you’re a night owl, you don’t want to live with someone telling you to turn the music down by 9 pm. The opposite is, of course, also true. Do you want your home to be filled with some guests or do you prefer to keep things nice and quiet? It’s good to know this about your future housemates. These habits of students are hard to change and can cause lots of friction.
- What do you like to do on the weekends?
- What is your usual bedtime?
- Do you expect a lot of out of town guests?
- What do you want in a housemate?
5. Financial habits
Obviously, you need to pay the rent on time. And most probably you’re looking for a housemate because you can’t pay the rent on your own. Because everyone is responsible for paying their share, it’s essential to know that your roommates are trustworthy. This is difficult if you’re meeting someone for the first time. So, don’t be shy to ask about their spending habits.
- How will you pay for rent?
- Can you put down a deposit?
- Have you ever not paid your rent on time?
- Do you have a way to pay for unexpected costs or emergencies?
- Do you want to share the food or communal items like toilet paper?
Don’t try to rationalize your choice too much. If the above things have been considered, it’s also important to listen to your gut instinct. If you’re getting a strange vibe from someone – even if you can’t put your finger on why – don’t room with them. There are plenty of people looking for living space.
And don’t worry if you don’t get on like a house on fire. That might change once you’re in the Netherlands. Also, remember that you simply need to find someone who is respectful, and you can get along with. A safe and relaxed living environment is what you want.