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Best Questions to Ask a Potential Roommate

Finding a roommate is a big decision and one that will affect your living situation for a long time. But when you find the perfect roommate for you, they can be an indispensable companion who will be a friend for years to come.

But how do you pick the ideal roommate for your personality, living situation, and daily routines? Read on for 17 of the best questions to ask a potential candidate before finally selecting the best roommate for you.

Are You Single or in a Relationship?

This is not just to be nosy—if your new roommate is in a relationship and expects their significant other to stay over for long periods, it can quickly turn into you having two roommates for the price of one. 

When it comes to communal living, shared amenities, and even small things like fridge space, everyone should be on the same page when it comes to romance and the possibility of suitors staying over.

Are You Still Friends With Former Roommates?

This will give you a good metric of how the individual’s previous interactions with close-quarter living have turned out. If they are still friends with former roommates, that shows the ability to coexist and form tight, happy bonds with others.

Do You Have Any Allergies?

It seems that most people are allergic to something these days. And when it comes to your new roommate, this is good to know in advance. Inquire about any allergies to food, pets, or the environment that might come into play. 

For example, if they have a terrible seafood allergy but you love to cook shrimp, it might not be a safe fit. Additionally, a potential roommate could be terribly allergic to your dog, which causes an entirely new set of problems.

Do You Have Any Pets?

On the same note, find out if the potential roommate has any pets themselves and what they are. 

If the accommodation rules stipulate a pet deposit or monthly pet surcharge on top of rent, it will be infinitely better to know about a furry friend before the new roommate moves in.

Do You Like to Cook?

Establish how much both of you enjoy cooking early to avoid nightly traffic jams in the kitchen. Depending on how often they usually cook or eat out, you can feel more secure in a shared schedule for cooking spaces.

Alternatively, your new roommate might want to share cooking responsibilities with you and the culinary delights that come from them, including hard work in the kitchen and grocery shopping. This is good to know in advance as well!

Do You Like to Host Social Gatherings?

If you are not a fan of people congregating in your home, you might not want a roommate who likes to have frequent get-togethers. Alternatively, a roommate who hosts dinners might be a great option if you are a social butterfly.

Establishing your comfort zones regarding people coming over is very important when opening your home to share with a roommate. This can be one of the biggest obstacles encountered when you don’t live by yourself.

Do You Smoke?

Another key question to ask is if they smoke. If you don’t like the smell of smoke or have a health condition that gets exacerbated by it, you need to know this information immediately. Plus, if the property is non-smoking and they still smoke, you both might be fined for it.

Do You Work From Home?

Though working from home is much more common these days, you might not want to have that dynamic. Perhaps you already work from home or don’t like the idea of your space being readily accessible all day long. It’s good to know what their situation is.

How Active Are You?

If your new roommate likes to get up at sunrise for a daily treadmill run and then finish off with an hour of yoga every night in the living room, you might want to know about it beforehand. 

But having an active roommate can make you more active too. It might give you a built-in hiking buddy or simply someone who suggests an afternoon spent at the climbing gym or an evening taking a new spin class. 

How Neat or Messy Are You?

One of the most common problems with sharing your house with someone else is the cleanliness aspect. Make sure to establish just how neat or messy your prospective roommate is well before making your decision.

Additionally, inquire how often they like to clean up—are they a fan of the daily tidy, the weekly go-over, or the monthly deep clean? Their cleaning style should ideally be compatible with yours to make everything run smoothly around the house.

How Will You Pay the Rent?

It may sound nosy but knowing how your potential roommate will be paying the bills is an essential part of the choice. Ensure they know the full price, the cost of utilities and other bills, and any further expenses like house or contents insurance.

Additionally, ask how secure they might be even if they suffer a financial cutback. Make sure their income is enough to cover rent, bills, and their portion of any unforeseen expenses such as repairs. You don’t want to be on the hook for the entire cost!

What Are You Looking for in a Roommate?

Give your potential roommate the chance to turn the tables and give you some insight into what kind of person they would like to live with. It might be your decision in the end, but it’s a two-way symbiotic street after that, so both parties should be content with the deal.

This is an excellent opportunity to let them know you—have an honest conversation about your goals, needs, and what you don’t want in a roommate. In most cases, honesty is the best policy and will not steer you wrong in choosing a roommate. 

What Are Your Favorite Hobbies?

A lot of downtime is spent within the home, and it’s no different for roommates who share that space. What do they do to relax, and is it compatible with you? Loud video games might not mesh well with reading or meditating, so it’s good to know beforehand.

What Are Your Perfect Weekend Plans?

While not every weekend needs to be spent doing something, having a roommate can sometimes function like having a companion with similar interests who might want to do activities with you or relax on the couch with snacks and a movie.

It’s a good idea to establish what your potential roommate’s perfect weekend would look like before deciding what suits you as well—do they like to ski alone or spend time in the library? Or would they prefer brunch and a shopping spree with you?

What Is a Typical Workday Like for You?

Ask about their usual work schedule—what time do they leave for work and come home, how long does it takes them to get ready, etc. These are all important aspects for shared spaces like bathrooms and kitchens, where heavy traffic can be detrimental.

What Time Do You Usually Go to Bed?

Night owls and morning people have long been at odds with each other, and it’s the same for roommates. If you are a morning person, having a roommate that stays awake and active until the early hours might not be conducive to a good night’s sleep.

It might seem forward, but it’s a good idea to ask about their bedtime schedule upfront instead of waiting until everyone has moved in and sleep routines are completely thrown off.

What Would You Like to Ask or Tell Me?

At the end of your questions, you should open the floor to any other things that your potential roommate might want to divulge or ask about you. This is a great time to have a more casual conversation that might still give you character insights for your decision.

Tips for Roommate Selection Success

Experts recommend that you treat chats with potential roommates like an interview. Make sure you get to know them and give them a chance to learn some key things about you too. The last thing you want is to have a personality clash two months in!

Additionally, though it might be tempting to view a best friend as the ideal roommate, this is not advisable. Living under the same roof will inevitably produce new stressors that could potentially ruin your friendships.

Instead, it’s a good idea to make a fresh start with a roommate you do not already have strong connections to, whether it be a distant cousin or someone you’ve never met before. Plus, you get the excitement of creating an entirely new and tight bond!

Make a list of your roommate candidates and their answers to the following questions to keep track of who’s who. And don’t be afraid to trust your gut when it comes to a decision—this choice is not only logical but is also one to be made with your heart. 

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