<img src="https://d5nxst8fruw4z.cloudfront.net/atrk.gif?account=5C8hi1agq800qI" style="display:none" height="1" width="1" alt="">

    6 Tips to Help You Find the Right Roommate

    Living with a roommate often starts as a blessing because they can help you save money, provide a little security while you’re away, and even become a lifelong friend. But if you choose the wrong person, a roommate can become a curse that could last well beyond your lease terms. 

    Before signing a long-term or even a short-term rental agreement, learn how to find a compatible roommate (and one who gets your military lifestyle) with these six tips.

    6 Tips to Find the Right Roommate

    1) Understand or remember what it's like to have a roommate. 

    It’s probably been a while since you’ve had a roommate, and by now, you’ve definitely picked up habits and rituals for everyday living success. The trouble is, not everyone has the same vision of domestic success.

    So, remind yourself about roommates from years ago. What worked, what didn’t work, and what would you do differently now? For those who’ve never shared a house, these questions and suggestions apply to you, too. 

    • Will the space accommodate everyone and store the military gear needed?
    • How would you feel about a stranger as a roommate?
    • Consider your stage in life. For example, a 35-year-old dad might not hit it off with an 18-year-old right out of basic training.
    • Are you willing to live with different genders? 
    • Can you trust the other person enough if you have to travel or deploy?

    what to look for in a roommateImage by Shutterstock

    2) Find someone in a similar situation. 

    Commonality is the thread that holds most roommate relationships together. If you live with people with a similar lifestyle, respect and camaraderie instantly build. 


    Geo-bachelor situations are challenging. You’re often concerned about saving money because you’re likely paying for the household you left behind as well as the temporary home you’re moving into. So the idea of finding a roommate, someone to split costs with, is attractive. However, for some renters there’s no amount of money worth saving to warrant living with a stranger. 

    Single Servicemembers 

    Military life has ups and downs; no one knows this better than a fellow active duty member. You’ll share rent, space, and probably at the end of the day, a few words about work. Plus, it’s always good to have a roommate to borrow a piece of a uniform from in a time crunch. 

    Military Family with a Room to Rent 

    Empty space fills empty wallets and hearts. Maybe your military family is settled, and you’ve decided it’s a great idea to rent a room to a geo bachelor or bachelorette. This situation works well if you live near a base with a predictable school cycle for servicemembers. You could meet a new grateful students every 12-18 months. 

    Military families may want to rent out a room in their home. Image by Shutterstock

    3) Weigh the pros and cons of living with friends and family. 

    Roommates don’t always have to be strangers. Sometimes, there’s an excellent opportunity to rent from friends and family, which can also provide security and savings, but be mindful of the risks. Family members may feel it’s their right to know your schedule’s details, and you might feel obligated to share more than you wish. Boundaries are the key to maintaining privacy and avoiding familial damage. 

    Network to find roomatesImage by Shutterstock 

    4) Network to find potential roommates. 

    By now, you know personal referrals are the gold standard. Start talking to workmates, friends, and family to find a roommate that is a good match. You can also mine social media for leads; for example, Facebook has a Military Roommate Finder group. If you want to cast the net further, try one of these online resources.

    • Roomates.com
    • Roomster
    • Roomi
    • Nextdoor 

    set expectations ahead of time with your roommateImage by Shutterstock

    5) Set expectations with your roommate.

    Interviewing a potential roommate is essential, and it doesn’t hurt to hash out expectations even if you know the person. Interviewing each other before moving in puts everyone on the same page. Chat about everything from the kind of home you want, apartment or house, to the lease length.

    Your needs will vary, depending on if you’re a full-time roommate or a geo-bachelor, but these are some discussion points to get you started. 

    • Number of bedrooms, bathrooms, square footage
    • TDY and deployment issues: mail, privacy, contact information 
    • Pet-friendly rental 
    • Must-have features: extra storage and parking
    • Community space clean-up: kitchen, living area
    • Rent payments
    • Utility payments
    • Furniture inventory and placement
    • Overnight guests, visitors
    • Need for a roommate agreement 

    discuss military specific details with your roommate and landlordPhoto By Shutterstock

    6) Discuss military-specific details with both your roommate and landlord. 

    There’s no way around it; military life is different from the way non-military people live. Live with someone accepting of all of the unknowns that come with the lifestyle and work with a landlord who respects your rights as a tenant. 

    • Look for a rental agreement that matches your timeline. Signing a 2-3 year lease knowing you’ll only stay for 18 months poses legal and ethical challenges. 
    • Talk about the challenges of living with another military person, like an empty apartment for several weeks because both have TDY orders. 
    • Provide regular updates to your roommate and landlord about changing timelines. 
    • Discuss the need for a military clause
    • Make sure everyone is knowledgeable about the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA)

    These six tips will put you on the right path to finding a suitable roommate. Just remember, there’s no such thing as finding out too much information before living with a roommate. So before signing a lease, talk about some of the other details of your lifestyles, like alcohol use, sleeping schedules, and food restrictions. 

    10 Questions to Ask Before You Sign a Lease

    Dawn M. Smith


    Dawn M. Smith

    Dawn is a real estate and military life writer who has a serious HGTV habit. When she is not writing, her teen daughter, Army husband, and golden retriever keep her busy through chauffeur duties, travel planning, and long dog walks. Dawn is pleased to share her experiences with MilitaryByOwner readers who are hoping to simplify military family journeys of all kinds. Follow Dawn on Pinterest for more ideas and resources and visit her site at Dawn M. Smith Custom Content Creation.

    Popular Posts