Whether you’re a college student in search of a roommate for the first time or are a pro at sharing a house with someone, finding a new roommate isn’t an easy task.
Sharing the rent also means sharing your space with someone you may not know that well or at all. You’ll need to make adjustments in your lifestyle and habits to make sure that you get along reasonably well.
One of the best ways to get a roommate that you can easily live with is to ask relevant questions at the beginning when you’re screening candidates. The right questions for potential roommates can help you identify which individuals are a better match for you and if a potential roommate has habits or baggage (like pets) that you’d prefer not to take on.
If you’d like a few suggestions on what to ask, here are 10 questions for potential roommates that you should ask before moving in together.
Asking a potential roommate this question will help you determine if you have common ground. If you both enjoy the same pastimes, you’re more likely to get along with each other. It also gives you a few activities that you might want to do together.
On the other hand, this question can also help you identify a potentially bad match. For example, if you’re roommate likes to play drums while you value a quiet home environment, then it’s a match that’s best avoided from the beginning.
You and your roomie will obviously have your own ideas on how you want your house to look. Getting this question out the way can help you learn if you can be on the same page on how you’ll decorate common spaces such as the living room, kitchen, and bathroom.
The way you decorate your own bedrooms — if you have separate ones — is naturally up to each of you.
This question will help you get a feel of what a normal day in each of your lives looks like. Walk each other through your usual daily schedules from the time you wake up, do your chores, and go to work to the time you retire at night.
Coliving with a roomie is easier when you both believe in the equitable division of labor. Understand which daily and weekly chores your potential roommate is willing to do and agree on which ones you’ll handle.
For example, if you hate cleaning the bathroom and your roommate dislikes doing the dishes, you can take care of the dishes while your roommate gets to be in charge of keeping the bathroom clean. This will help you maintain a clean home while avoiding resentment from being saddled with too many chores.
This question will help you decide which appliances your roommate should bring and if you have the space for them. If you have limited space like most apartments, it would be a shame to have two of the same appliances since it’s unlikely that you’ll be using them both.
Asking about decorations will also help you determine if you can live with your potential roomie’s aesthetic sense and house decorations.
There’s nothing worse than allowing a stranger to move in with you only to discover that they have a significant other who wants to spend most of their time at your house. This can not only invade your privacy but can also lead to higher bills and more mess.
What’s worse is if the added costs aren’t shared by your third, unofficial roommate.
However, if you’re open to the idea of having your roomie’s girlfriend or boyfriend over a lot, make sure you meet them first. This will tell you a lot about their behavior and habits. You can then decide if you’re comfortable with the arrangement or not.
Whether you’re a pet lover or not, it’s always best to ask a potential roommate if they have a pet or plan to get one. If you’re okay with having pets at home, try to see the pet first to understand its temperament and habits.
If your roommate’s pet isn’t house-trained, is disobedient, and is messy, you may find it annoying to come home after a long day to find its waste on the floor or your things chewed to pieces.
This question is especially important if you suffer from allergies that are triggered by pets and dander. Obviously, having to make major adjustments to accommodate an animal isn’t the best way to start living with someone.
Even if you agree to have your roommate’s significant other and friends visit, overnight guests and parties are another matter. See how you feel about them and ask your roommate if they’re in the habit of inviting guests over for big, loud parties or to stay the night.
Of course, if you love entertaining and enjoy meeting new people, this is less of a problem. However, it’s always best to find a roommate who has social preferences similar to your own.
A roommate agreement may sound excessive but you’ll be glad to have one in case of disputes with your new roomie. Stipulate the rules, responsibilities, and other living conditions you agreed on in writing.
A roommate contract provides a ready reference if one of you forgets a certain rule or condition in your living arrangements. It can also help you avoid lengthy arguments and conflict while living together.
If there is a bigger, nicer bedroom in the apartment, you’ll have to decide who gets it. You can also use the discussion to agree if the roommate with the better bedroom should pay more rent and how much they’ll need to pay in excess of a 50/50 split.
Performing your due diligence and asking these questions for potential roommates will help you find the right roommate for you. When screening candidates, take your time and ask as many appropriate questions as you need to feel comfortable.
While it’s easy to invite someone to move in with you, it will be harder to live with someone whose lifestyle and habits don’t complement yours.
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When Keren is not actually tapping away at her keyboard, you’ll find her staring into space or drinking copious amounts of coffee. But make no mistake, she's hard at work even then. Come close enough and you’ll hear the whooshing noise of countless words as they go whizzing by - in her head of course.