If you've decided that the right move is to get a roommate to help with expenses, you still need to find a good match before making a commitment. Use these questions to ask potential roommates about their lifestyle, personality and expectations when it comes to sharing a space. These questions will reveal a lot about potential roommates and help you set good rules and expectations later on down the line.
Whether your prospective roommate is a banking executive or a barista, having a stable income is a good indicator of reliability and the ability to pay rent on time. This question can also give you a bit of insight into their daily schedule.
It's helpful to know what to expect when it comes to morning and nighttime routines. If you're someone who likes to get to bed early and your roommate stays up late playing loud music, you're likely to butt heads. It's best to choose a roommate who has a similar schedule to your own. Be sure to inform prospective roommates of your own daily schedule as well.
If you wake up at 5 a.m. to grind the coffee beans and your roommate went to bed only an hour earlier, it's going to cause some tension. Include this question in a roommate interview, especially if you lean strongly towards either a morning person or a night owl.
Does your potential roommate typically come home for lunch in the middle of the day? Are they likely to stay at work late into the evening to finish projects a few times a week? Knowing these details of your roommate's work schedule can help you align your schedules.
Everyone needs time to themselves, but with more companies offering their employees the ability to work remotely, having a roommate who is home all day could prevent you from getting that precious time to yourself.
Not everyone owns a car, but if they don't, it's important to establish some ground rules for how your roommate will get around. The last thing you want is a roommate who expects you to chauffeur them.
Smoking or vaping might be a big deal-breaker for some roommates, especially if you have asthma, certain religious beliefs or are working on breaking a bad habit. If you both agree that smoking or vaping at home is okay, discuss where it will and won't be allowed.
Like smoking, ground rules for alcohol consumption should be established right away. Be sure to ask about their drinking habits when they go out and when they're home.
Cleaning is one of the most important topics for prospective roommates to discuss. Include these questions when talking about a potential roommate's cleaning habits:
Depending on how you decide to split the food and kitchen supplies, you'll likely have to schedule your cooking time around your roommate's. This is especially true if your kitchen is small. Ask a prospective roommate about their cooking habits, including whether they prefer to save money by cooking at home or to eat out most nights. If you both cook, you'll need to set some kitchen rules.
When coming up with questions to ask potential roommates, sharing is a must-discuss topic. If you like to keep your belongings to yourself, make this clear upfront and ask them to do the same.
Before you move in together, it might be helpful to know if a prospective roommate plans to walk around the house wearing only a towel or tends to leave the door open when they shower.
A voracious meat-eater may not be the best roommate for a strict vegan. Additionally, a roommate with a serious peanut allergy could be at risk if you make a peanut butter and jelly sandwich in the kitchen. Make sure you know a potential roommate's dietary restrictions before agreeing to move in with them.
People are surprisingly opinionated when it comes to the thermostat — be sure to agree on temperature rules upfront when interviewing prospective roommates.
Ask about any current pets or dreams to own a pet in the future. You should also discuss pet policies for your rental and any financial obligations that may arise as a result of pet ownership, such as getting your security deposit back. If you currently own a pet, be sure to let prospective roommates know this as well.
This question gives potential roommates the chance to open up and show you their true colors. Do they leave their bath towel on the ground after a shower? These habits should be discussed in order to avoid conflict in the future.
When brainstorming questions to ask a potential roommate, it's important to determine how your habits will affect them. Do they need total silence to sleep at night, but you like music? Hash out any pet peeves during the interview to avoid conflict later.
Knowing a bit about a potential roommate's personality is helpful when gauging compatibility. For example, if they're happy to spend their weekends at home, curled up with a good book, they're probably more introverted. How will that mix with your own personality?
Speaking of the weekend, it's important to know how a prospective roommate likes to spend their free time. Find out what they usually do on the weekends, whether it's going out at night or catching up on sleep.
Do you mind if a potential roommate brings over their friends during the day, for dinner or on the weekends? Know when they plan to have visitors over and inform them of any social habits you have as well.
If a potential roommate has a romantic partner, you may be accidentally signing up for a third roommate. While you shouldn't rule someone out just for dating, you should discuss any issues that may arise as a result of their romance.
Are you comfortable with your roommate having sleepovers? Whether it's a romantic partner or a best friend, establish rules for having overnight visitors during the week and on the weekends.
If you live in a tourism hot spot, your apartment may serve as a home base for prospective roommates' out-of-town family and friends. Boundaries should be established, such as visitors only being allowed during weekends or once a month. Be sure to discuss rules around common areas — if you don't want to walk into the living room to see a stranger sleeping on your couch, it's best to bring it up now.
Is your potential roommate more likely to hash things out face-to-face or leave passive-aggressive notes instead? Know how they typically solve conflicts and compare it to your own conflict resolution style to be sure you'll be able to work things out should a conflict arise.
Part of being a good roommate is being able to react properly when your roommate is stressed. Do they need a long bubble bath after a bad day at work or binge Netflix when they're upset? Do they need some space out or prefer to talk things out? Find out what they're most likely to do when they're stressed so you can work around their needs.
Everyone has had bad experiences with past roommates, but you're looking for a pattern. If most experiences they've had with roommates have been negative, there's a good chance they were the problem.
Inquire if they've had issues paying the rent in the past, if you can talk to their former roommates and what the biggest fight they've had with a roommate has been about. You're both going to be living in the same apartment, so this isn't an issue to be taken lightly.
If your roommate doesn't want to stay in the same city long term, you might find yourself right back in this situation in less than a year. This may be fine if you're planning on moving soon anyway, but be sure you're both on the same page.
Sharing values is key to a successful roommate relationship. If you both place equal value on a clean apartment, you'll be less likely to argue about a sink full of dishes.
One of the last questions you should ask in a roommate interview will shine the spotlight on you. Give your potential roommate the opportunity to discuss their expectations when it comes to having you as a roommate. Are they hoping to make you their new best friend or would they rather have minimal interaction with you?
Don't ignore the elephant in the room — money is important when it comes to sharing a space. Find out if they have ever missed a rent deadline or have asked former roommates to cover their portion. If they have, probe deeper to find out why and if they think it would happen again.
Preferably, you'd be able to reach out to former roommates, friends and others who know your prospective roommate well and for at least a year. Additionally, check the prospect's social media channels to get a deeper insight into their personal life.
Give your potential roommate the chance to take the lead and speak freely about themselves. Be sure to pay attention to body language and other small cues that could indicate an incompatibility.
When thinking of questions to ask potential roommates, it's best not to hold back. Be straightforward and look for prospects whose lifestyles, personalities and expectations match your own. Sharing an apartment with a stranger isn't always easy, so make sure the roommate you choose is compatible with you.