How to Safely Use a Roommate Finder Service to Find a Roommate

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A roommate finder service is an online service that connect people looking for a place to live together with those who have an open room. In some cases, it just brings two people together so that they can look for a place to live. People who can benefit from this kind of service include college students and those who may not have enough money to live by themselves. If you plan to use one of these services, it is important to take certain precautions to avoid hooking up with a problematic "roomie."

  • Start planning your roommate search at least a few months before your intended move-in date. Allow plenty of time to navigate the roommate finder service and weigh your choices. Do not rush this decision.

  • Read the full profile of each potential roomate to ensure that his details, needs, preferences and dislikes match yours, at least for the most part. For instance, check for smokers versus non-smokers, gender, age, work schedules and desired location for renting.

  • Meet potential roommates in a coffee shop or other public location to discuss the possibility of living together. Though talking over the phone is a fine way to figure out if your personalities mesh well, meeting and talking face-to-face gives you a better impression of the person.

  • Withhold personal details, such as your full name and address until after you meet with the other person. It's not advisable to even give a phone number upfront, as some services provide reverse searches that reveal your address and other information.

  • Ask for the full name and current address of each roommate you're considering after you meet. Perform a background check as well as a social media profile check. In some cases, cities or townships provide background information, such as criminal records and liens, for free online. Some roommate finder services perform these checks as a condition of signing up to protect each client.

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