Finding a roommate especially if you are new in Nairobi is an extreme sport. Your reasons for wanting a roommate or several could range from craving the company to wanting to share all the extra space your have. There are definite benefits to having roommates. Not only do you make good friends, you have a better pick of houses this way. You have people with whom you can share expenses. However before you go in search of a roommate keep a few things in mind.
- You should know what you are looking for in a roommate before you embark on a search. You should create a checklist of sorts. The checklist should not be set in stone per se. It should be a loose guide. It is not advisable to get a roommate who is too much like you. Like people do not really get along in most cases. The checklist should have soft qualities like neatness. Obviously you do not want to live with a slob who lives their things lying around. This could piss you off and create tension in the house especially if you are a neat-freak.
- Once you have decided on a roommate you should sit down with them to create a set of rules by which the roommate relationship will thrive and operate. You will be coming together with a virtual stranger. You will be sharing a sacred space with them. However, if the house is yours then you should have some prerequisite rules. Things like smoking in the house should be set out by you. You should have an idea of what would be a hard limit or soft limit for you. What are you willing to or not to compromise on?
- Proceed with caution. There are many people out to take advantage of you on these streets. If people are having weaves ripped of their heads surely a person can answer your ad with the intention of cleaning out your house and worse. So be very careful in your search. Verify your sources. If you have to meet at the house at the beginning then have other people over with you. Be safe through the process. Contact the references provided by the potential roommate. Search this person and the references on social media. Find out everything you can before you let the person through the door.
- How much does it cost top keep the household running? If it is a house, what is the cost of property maintenance? What is the average cost of power? What is the average cost of water? How much goes to security and trash collection every month? You should make a list of all the expenses you would like to share with your roommate. They should know what they are getting into financially. Obviously rent is not the expense but it would be nice to have a ball park figure of the extras. It will be instrumental in their decision to join the household.
The above tips are only a few things to remember. There are obviously more things to keep in mind. The goal is not to merely find a roommate but to find a good one whose residence is indefinite. Sometimes you will come by a roommate by accident or unintentionally. However, if you are not the lucky type then you have to go looking for someone to share space with. Below are three ways in which you can find roommates in Nairobi.
There are several platforms on the internet on which you can advertise to find a roommate. Note that the response to your ad might be different if you only advertise the room. Someone might come in expecting to only rent the room and nothing else. Kenya has its own version of craigslist where there are actually quite a few entries for roommate searches. Despite there being so many calls for roommates to rent with in Nairobi, you should still be vigilant especially when using this option. You never know who you will pick off the internet. Then again, you might pick someone who will be your life long friend like in that hit TV show.
- Social Media
There are several groups on Facebook where you can express your interest in finding a roommate. In such groups you get to outline your expectations. Some people only want someone who will share expenses and will limit interaction to polite conversation and plans about chores. Others want to actually make a friend of their roommate. This is why it is advisable to pick someone who is compatible. If you meet someone in such a group then they will not be surprised when you ask for references and copies of documentation. As the person who is searching for lodging, you also get to have your pick. You can usually tell someone’s temperament from their online interactions.
One kind of connect is through family and friends. The people in your circle could put out feelers about your search for a roommate. The good thing about this is that there is almost never a need for references. Surely a friend or family would not recommend that you live with a psychotic murderer? Another thing is that these people know you and know what kind of person you would get along with so they are likely to recommend someone who is just right to bunk with.
Another kind of connect is through work. Your colleagues at work might not know you too well but they could still provide good leads in the search for a roommate. While they may vouch for their referral, go ahead and dig into the prospective’s background. While you are at it hit up your old friends from college and high school. After school everyone goes in different directions. This widens the pool from which you can pick a roommate.
It really does not matter how you find your roommate. If they are a quality roommate that will remain regardless of the process used to get there. Happy searching!