Chicago Real Estate Blog

Opposite Sex Roommates 101

Posted by Alex Wolf on Feb 6, 2013 3:45:00 PM

Searching for a roommate is an unavoidable task when you’re getting a new apartment. At least until you’re at that point in life where you can establish your own headquarters. So imagine this, it turns out that none of your guy/girl friends2432_-_Conv_-_Living_Room_1.jpg are currently looking at the moment, but there’s a friend of the opposite sex who is ready to sign a lease. For some, the decision is a no-brainer, either they’re beyond comfortable with the person, or they’ve lived in a similar situation before. However, if you’re on the fence about it, these insights should help you work through it.

Navigating this dynamic is a combination of asking the right questions beforehand like you would any roommate, and making sure you know the challenges that could arise between the two of you. You’ll want to touch base on where you are in your personal life, your approach as a roommate, and the type of apartment you’d like to find based on that information.

Your Own State of Affairs

Who’s in a Relationship? If one, or both of you have significant others, it’s natural for them to be guarded about this new living situation. Sit them down, have them meet the other person, and just get everybody to a comfortable and polite jumping off point. You’ll also want to touch Expressions-16.jpgbase with your roommate on how often said-significant other will be visiting, because the live-in girlfriend/boyfriend is hardly every what another roommate has signed on for.

How do you communicate? It’s generally understood that men and women communicate differently. Though this doesn’t apply in every instance, men tend to be upfront, while women are more inclined to use coded communication. Figure out what style you use, and what style your roommate might use. By being upfront, you’re more likely to get any messages or grievances across clearly the first time. For more points about communication, check out Trulia’s blog on Roommates of the Opposite Sex.

What company have you kept?
A roommate who has lived with siblings, a significant other, or friends of the opposite sex prior to the current apartment scenario will likely have a better idea of what to expect. For example, men and women have their own grooming rituals, and you’ll be surprised at how much time each can take to get ready for a night out.

Roommate Code of Conduct

Guest Policy
Similarly to how you’d make your job aware of any upcoming time you need off, you should make your roommate aware of who’s going to stay with you, before it happens. This is particularly common for people who have recently moved to a new city, naturally they’ve mentioned to their friends, “Hey, anytime you’re in New York, you’ve got a place to stay.” Iron out how long these ‘stays’ will be and where the person will sleep. 5 Questions To Ask Potential Roommates suggests a good way to start this conversation.

Being entitled to a clean apartment, for the majority of the time, should be a basic right for anyone in roommate situation. We’ve heard accounts of this being achieved in different ways across the gender lines. In one example, the male roommates approach to tasks was every man for himself, literally and figuratively. However when a female roommate was in the mix, tasks were divvied up.

Sleep Habits
Some people know who they are in that they’re early risers or insomniacs. An early riser who goes for a run before work is probably not going to disturb your sleep. However, one who is whistling and making protein shakes at 6am probably will. With the insomniacs, you might notice the sound of footsteps as they pace, or the ringing of a late night Skype call. In each case, figure out what it is you’re doing and how to minimize the volume on that activity.

Apartment Criteria to Search For

Bedroom Location
Since you probably want to maintain your privacy, avoid shared partition rooms aka bedrooms that are directly against each other. When you’re looking for a place, ask the agent to see split floor plan apartments. This will ensure that you’re at opposite ends from your roommate and will reduce the amount of noise you’ll hear.

Closet Space
When living with a group of guys, closet space is less important. However, this isn’t to say that someone should accept getting by without a closet in their room. But when there are male and female roommates, it’s important that each room has adequate closet space. These are some Tips for Maximizing Closet Space.

Kitchen Layout
Depending on how often cooking occurs can dictate what size kitchen you’re seeking and what updates it may need. In an all male roommate situation, the variation of meals cooked, is somewhat less than when there are female roommates present, according to our informant. So in addition to a larger kitchen space needed in instances where there’ll be more meals prepared, another consideration is the proximity of the apartment to a grocery store.

At Homescout, we help match a lot of roommate duos with housing about as frequently as people who are looking on their own. Though we don’t see an outstanding amount of opposite-sex roommates, it’s a position we can understand. Have these points got you thinking about other aspects that could come up as far as apartment criteria for roommates in this position? Let us know.

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