Whether you’re renting your first place or are just looking to fill an empty room. You want to be extra careful when choosing the right person to move in. When living in close quarters, disagreements are a given, but if you ask the right questions, you could end up with more than just a roommate. You could end up with a lifelong friend.
Below, we compiled a list of 10 critical questions to ask potential roommates. From smoking habits to how often they do the dishes to more serious issues like can they afford a deposit? These questions are designed to show you how compatible you are with your potential roomie and to keep the two of you from quarrelling!
1. How do you feel about pets? (Do you want/have one? How do you feel about me having one?)
Even if you and your potential roommate don’t currently have pets, you’ll want to have this conversation if your landlord lets you keep animals on the property. And don’t forget, a pet isn’t restricted to a cat or a dog. Are you okay with your roommate keeping a pet tarantula even if they promise to keep it in their room?
2. How often do you clean? (Do you wash dishes right away or do you pile it up and do it in one shot?)
It may not seem like a big deal now, but imagine walking into the kitchen day after day to a stack of dishes piled up and you might not feel the same way. Of course, you can compromise in this area. If you both agree to a rotating cleaning schedule or hiring a cleaning service you’ll be less likely to argue about whose turn it is to clean what. But keep in mind even if your potential roommate agrees to try out your cleaning agreement if it goes against their natural habits, it may not stick. The same cannot be said for the melted cheese they forgot to wipe up in the microwave.
3. Are you in a relationship? (How often do you see each other?)
Remember, you’re looking for just one roommate, not a couple. If your potential roomie is in a serious relationship, you might want to find out where the couple spends most of their time. The last thing you want to is to feel like a third wheel in your own home. Alternatively, if your potential roommate is single and ready to mingle, you might want to be clear about expectations if and when they bring their dates over. Again, having these conversations early will eliminate a lot of awkward experiences.
4. What’s your work schedule like?
This is one area where it’s good to be different. Think of how much easier it would be if you start work at 8 a.m. and your roommate starts at 11 a.m. Both of you will be able to take your time in the bathroom or kitchen without feeling rushed. Then again, if you’re a light sleeper, you’ll also want to make sure your roommate isn’t coming home and watching video games while you’re trying to catch some Zzz’s.
5. Do you like to entertain often? (Or do you go out a lot?)
Basically, you just want to know that you won’t be walking into a living room full of people every time you come home.
READ: Entertaining Expert To The Stars, Sebastien Centner, Invites You Into His Home (And Gives Tips!)
6. How do you feel about sharing food?
If your potential roommate is onboard with sharing things you can both save a lot of money and space. But, if they have special dietary restrictions they may not want to go halfsies with you on eggs and milk. If they are down to split the bill, just make sure you’ve talked about replacing the shared items. There’s nothing worse than expecting to eat cereal in the morning and finding out your roommate finished the last bowl and didn’t replace it.
7. Do you smoke? (Cigarettes or Marijuana? Do your friends smoke?)
Even if your roommate is smoking on the balcony, the smell can come into the house and linger. If you’re sensitive to the smell of smoke you might want to rethink living with a smoker, even if they’re only a social smoker. And don’t forget to ask about their pot habits. Now that it’s legal and since some buildings allow smoking in units, your roommate might not see a need to disclose the joint they like to smoke before bed. Better to ask now then to smell it later.
8. Do you have references?
Sure, they sound great on the phone and you get along really well in person, but will someone vouch for them? A quick conversation with a former roommate might uncover some red flags. Just make sure the references are legitimate, if give you their mom’s number you might want to move on to the next candidate.
9. Do you play an instrument? (How often/when do you practice?)
Think about this carefully. First of all, do you like the music they play? Even if you do, how would you feel about hearing the same beat play over and over day and night? Remember, walls are thin.
10. Can you put in a deposit (first and last month’s rent)?
This is standard, so if they’re already asking for some leeway in this area you might be in trouble.