If you’re poring over apartments for rent in Milwaukee, you’ve probably realized one thing: Having a roommate can save you a ton of money over the course of a lease. Plus, with a roommate around, you’ll always have someone there to hang out with, whether you’re having a movie night or are heading to Brady Street for a night on the town. But as your time spent living in the dorms might have taught you, just because someone is around all the time, that doesn’t mean you like it. So here are some tips from ABODO to make sure your roomie relationship goes smoothly, from move-in to move-out.
Finding A Roommate
When you’re still looking for someone to split that Milwaukee two-bedroom apartment with, it’s tempting to just grab your nearest friend and start picking out your new towels. But friends don’t always make the best roommates. Instead, cast a wider net — if you’re still in school, look around your classes for those with similar interests, or ask some acquaintances.
With some roomie candidates in mind, ask them to grab a coffee and go over the important issues: Where do you want to live — downtown or the East Side? Are you pretty messy, or do you need every surface spotless at all times? Do you plan on throwing parties, or just attending them? Before signing a lease, make sure you have similar lifestyles (and price ranges) in mind.
Finding an Apartment
Finding a few apartments you and your roommate might be interested in should be pretty simple — especially if you’re letting ABODO’s various search filters weed out places that are too expensive, too far away, or don’t have washers and dryers available. When you find “the one,” just share it with your roommate and get in touch with the property manager to set up a tour.
While you’re on the tour, make sure you take your time and look closely at the property, even under the sink deep in cabinets where water damage or pest evidence tend to go unnoticed. Take a look at your cellphone — how’s the service? Also ask some important questions: What’s the procedure for maintenance? Does the building have quiet hours? Can you have guests?
If you love it and want to sign the lease — make sure you both sign the lease. You don’t want to be left holding the bill if your roommate runs out.
Finding a Balance
Now that you’re all nestled into your new place, it’s time to figure out the finances. It’s fairly straightforward for you to each write out a check (or set up autopay) for half of the rent, but what about the utilities? Whose name should go on the electric bill, and what about the internet bill? You can put both names on the accounts, but then you’ll need to decide who the main payer will be, and how to balance those payments.
Talk early on about your food arrangements. Few things are more frustrating than looking forward to noshing on your favorite organic crackers from the Milwaukee Public Market all day, just to discover an empty box when you get home. Are you sharing food? It can be a slippery whoever-eats-the-fastest-gets-the-mostest slope, so it might be best for you each to buy and consume only your own groceries.