Like New York City, people from all over the world are drawn to Los Angeles as a city of opportunity and adventure. Due to this immense demand for housing, home and rent prices can quickly reach what seem like unreasonable heights. In 2019, about a third of Americans between the ages of 23 to 65 lived with roommates. That number is up from 21% in 2005.
If thriftiness is an important strategy within your life plan, it might pay dividends to begin your search for roommates with a potential apartment or two in tow. That is why we have also included a few tips taken from LA resident The Proud Millennial for securing an affordable apartment.
Step #1: Find an Affordable Apartment
Look on Zillow and Craigslist. If you can’t find anything in your range, don’t get disheartened! Check university groups on Facebook and roommate matching sites like RoomMatch too.
Even small academies will generally have bulletin boards, community groups, and other resources to connect you with the apartment you need. These smaller communities might actually be better than large UCal university groups because in the larger groups, there are often scammers looking to take advantage of your private information. Be on the lookout for red flags don’t hesitate to raise the alarm if you spot one.
Step #2: Actually Find Roommates
Adam Hawk, a YouTuber from Pennsylvania with a series of videos about living in LA, says that in LA people are very disposable. You want to be careful whom you choose. Loyalty and reliability are valuable. One way to start this process off right is by asking yourself what you want and then being totally honest with your answers. Write them down if it helps.
- Are you fine living with a someone you don’t know as long as s/he helps with the bills or would you rather somebody who is already in your life?
- How much time do you plan on spending hanging out with your roommate? The bare minimum of a hi & bye in the kitchen, or do you actually want a relationship with this person?
- What kind of person do you want to live with.
Your social circle is also a prime place to start looking for roommates. If you want to live with someone you already know, it can be extremely helpful to keep your friends and following informed about your situation and intentions over social media.
Step #3: Vet Your Roommate
Having a roommate is like dating. It is a medium-to-long term commitment that carries into pretty much every aspect of your life. Your relationship with your roommate is going to be a factor that will determine how satisfied you will be at the end of the year.
- Skype or Facetime your potential roommate before committing. You should ask to see the whole house while on call.
- Use a matching app like Roomster, Roomi, or SpareRoom to immediately narrow the pool into folks you are likely to be compatible with.
- Take a weekend trip with any friends you are considering living with.
- A friend of a friend isn’t ideal, but these situations can be more reliable than rooming with a total stranger. Be sure to ask your friend about their job history!
Step #4: Make Friends With Your Roommate
If you are interested in a roomie who is also a friend, it could be worth it to bring them a housewarming gift of some kind early on into the relationship before things are defined.
Anything you guys can share is good. Roommates in LA love boxes of cookies, trendy books, and alcoholic beverages.
Here are some of the best gifts for book lovers who are into personal development:
- The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz
- Poetry from The Future by the Lozano Brothers
- Secret Garden, adult coloring book by Johanna Basford
Begin your roommate journey by deciding what you personally want and take it from there. Roommate relationships are obviously an important and sensitive matter. It is also very individual problem. The same solution won’t apply to everybody.
Once you know what you are looking for, it is time to find the perfect apartment or house. Having this in your back pocket while you are on the search for roommates can immediately lend you an air of trustworthiness and responsibility. Perfect.
The next step is to make sure you are with the right person. A roommate relationship is a relationship, after all.
Finally, you will want to win them over by keeping your doors open, providing a warm and agreeable presence, and if you’re really intent on starting off on the right foot, get them a small gift everybody in the home can share!