The key to finding the perfect roommate is communication. Ask questions before he moves in and you’ll know what you’re getting yourself into.
Do you find yourself needing a new roommate? Maybe your old one moved out? Maybe, you’re not doing so well financially, and you need the help. Maybe, you’ve never had one, and you want to experience living with someone.
Of course, there are plenty of resources available to find people willing to move in with you. From websites like Craigslist to Facebook groups to word of mouth through friends. The real trick though is figuring out if a potential roommate is the right one for you. To do so, you’ve got to ask questions.
Yes, you don’t want to come off as neurotic to potential roommates, but you also don’t want to have a problem come up a few months down the line.
To help you out, we’ve written up a list of some very important questions and topics to ask when looking for a roommate.
How Long Will They Live With You?
An important question to ask when you’re meeting potential roommates is how long they plan to live with you.
Some people look for apartments or homes with a specific timeline in mind. They may think, “I’ll live here for 3 years and then move on to something else.” Some may just want a place to sleep in for the next year until moving for a job, a relationship, grad school, or whatever else. Or, there are people who are just going with the flow and don’t know how long they’d like to stay.
As the person looking for a roommate, you have to ask this question, so that you’re not in trouble if the person you pick decides to dip out.
Another important question is ask is if your potential roommate has any pets.
The place that you’re living in, or looking to live in, may have a specific policy on pets. Maybe no pets are allowed, maybe only one pet is allowed, and maybe specific animals aren’t allowed. It’s a good thing to ask potential roommates if they have pets based off of these rules.
On top of that, a roommate having a pet can tell you bit about the roommate. And, you can talk about how the roommate will take care of the pet if you two move in together.
Best case scenario, you not only have a new roommate but a new animal friend as well.
On that note, it’s important to figure out where you two stand concerning cleaning.
If you’re the type who hates a mess, you might find a roommate who never cleans the dishes to be a problem. Conversely, people who like to be relaxed with cleaning don’t want to live with someone who’ll annoy them about cleaning all the time.
This isn’t to say that cleaning habits are non-negotiable, but it’s better to know what you’re getting yourself into before your sign the dotted line.
The next couple of questions are more based on building a healthy living environment.
First, how do you want to handle food in the house? Some households have a community atmosphere when it comes to food. This not only means that snacks in the cabinets are up for grabs, but it could also mean joint dining.
So, you’ve got to ask yourself if you want to share food and meals, or just have a “feed yourself” mentality.
On top of that, a roommate situation is better when you actually like your roommate. Of course, you don’t have to be best friends, but generally liking your roommate is nice.
To help build a relationship between you and your potential roommate, ask questions about hobbies and interests. If you can find some kind of common ground like watching sports or enjoying rock music, you could be on your way to not only gaining a roommate, but a friend.
Speaking of friends, that’s an easy way to approach a new roommate.
Not only can you find potential roommates by asking friends, but you can also bond with your roommate over said friends.
Don’t think you two know anyone? There’s no hurt in asking. Or, you could possibly see if you have mutual Facebook friends. If Tinder can do it, so can you.
Now, there’s also the idea of friends coming over your house/apartment. You have to ask your potential roommate about where they stand concerning guests coming over.
Are you an introvert and they’re an extrovert? Is it the other way around? You don’t want to make your roommate feel uncomfortable (or vice versa) by having people over all the time.
Talk to your roommate (potential or committed), and set some ground rules about when guests and who can come over your place.
Escalating from there, are you party animal? Will you have multiple friends over at times? Do you like to cook for people or host game days? That can be cool, but let your roommate know ahead of time and ask them before they move in.
Having a party animal roommate when you’d rather live in a quiet environment is an easy recipe for a very complicated living situation.
So, make it easier on yourself and ask first.
This note is a little similar to the last two, but can be slightly trickier.
Everyone has the right to fall in love and it’s a wonderful thing when they do. That said, that third person will instantly change the rooming situation. If things get serious, you might end up with an unofficial second roommate.
Ask ahead of time if the person you’re considering living with is dating someone. Also, ask how you want the living situation to work before any future romances.
Is it ok for a girlfriend/boyfriend to sleep over? Is it ok for a random hookup to stay over? Ask not only your roommate these questions, but also yourself.
This is a minor note but something to remember. Ask about allergies.
This isn’t so much about preventing roommate issues, but more about being courteous. What if your roommate is allergic to peanut butter? What if they have seasonal allergies or pet allergies?
You’re not only being a good roommate by asking and adjusting to help out with these allergies, but your just generally being a good person.
On top of that, does your potential roommate smoke (or vice versa)? This can be a problem for some people.
For instance, would you like no smoking in the house? Are you ok with smoking in the house as long as a window’s open? Ask these questions ahead of time to prevent any fights later.
The same goes for drug or alcohol use.
Maybe your roommate doesn’t drink but is ok with beer in the fridge. Maybe you don’t want any type of drugs (weed, shrooms, party pills, or whatever else) in the house. Talk about this now to weed out the bad roommate matches.
This is another minor issue, but it might help to know. Is your roommate a morning person or a night person?
Having a roommate who’s up at different times than you could be interesting. An odd pair situation, you know? That said, it could also get annoying if you like to be asleep by ten, and your roommate’s banging around until 2 am.
Of course, common curtesy plays an important role in this issue, but knowing information like this ahead of time is always helpful.
The same goes for work situations.
For instance, what if you work at home and have a home office. You don’t want your roommate messing with your stuff and potentially ruining a tax break.
Or, maybe your potential roommate works irregular hours and you work a solid 9-to-5. Sure, you’ll be roommates, but will you ever see each other? Does it matter? Ask and find out.
Lastly, and possibly most importantly, make sure your roommate can handle rent/mortgage and utilities.
You don’t want to end up having to pay more than your share because your roommate made some bad financial decisions.
Ultimately, you’re looking for someone to split the bills with you as well as share space. If the person can’t pay those bills, then you need to look for someone else.
15 Questions To Ask When Looking For A Roommate
Finding and picking a roommate is a big decision. Whenever you make big decisions, you should be as informed as possible. And how do you gain information when looking for the perfect roommate? You ask questions.
If you ask these 15 questions and topics when looking for a roommate, we’re sure you’ll be on the way to finding one perfect for you and your home.