10 Questions to Ask a Potential Roommate
by Ice Artificio
Mar 18, 2017
Roommates: Love them or hate them.
One of the perks of being an adult is being able to choose who you are going to live with. They say moving together in a relationship is a big leap for couples, so it follows that living with strangers is as big a leap and requires a lot of consideration. By now, I’m sure you’ve seen many TV shows and movies depicting great and horrible roommates. If there’s any takeaway wisdom from Friends, The New Girl, or What We Do In the Shadows, it is that you need to screen and pick your housemates correctly.
Whether you are planning on sharing living space for pragmatic reasons or you simply enjoy living with some company around, here are some suggested questions to go over before signing that lease together:
What is the nature of your work/ source of income?
Ideally, both of you should have stable work or a steady source of income. If your potential roommate is still studying or is dependent on someone else’s income, discuss what’s plan B should their benefactor fail to provide their allowance. Do they have any savings tucked away for instances like that? This is the most important question of all. You will be tied together for the duration of your contract and being able to honestly discuss how you will handle finances is a great indication that you have a found a good potential roomie.
How will you split utilities?
If you and your potential housemate use more or less the same appliances, and/or gadgets, it’s easy to just split the utilities equally. Especially if you are both working outside on a regular 8 hour job and the bills are relatively low. In an event where one of you prefers to use air conditioning, or is working from home, talk about how you will assign each other’s share without the other feeling like they’ve been overcharged.
What were your previous roommates like?
Ask them what their old setup was like, how he/she thought of it and if they are still friends. Keeping in touch with old housemates is a sign that during their time living together, they had an amicable relationship and the same can apply to you. Also, there may be arrangements in their previous living setup that could work with you now.
What is your sleeping schedule?
With the dawn of globalization, sleeping schedules around the world are now more crazy than ever. Ask them about their sleeping schedule and tell them yours so you can both be more careful and considerate about noise during those times, especially if one or both of you are light sleepers. If you only have one room together and have different sleeping times, suggest getting blackout curtains to keep the room dark all day and help with your sleeping patterns.
Do you smoke?
This can be a deal breaker for many would-be renters. If your potential roommate smokes and you don’t, are you okay with certain parts of the house inevitably smelling like smoke or are they willing to keep their smoking outside your would-be home? Trust me, to a non smoker, the bathroom would really stinkl after a stick even if they clean it up thoroughly.
Do you have pets?
This question is only important if your realtor allows pets in the unit. If they do, do one or both of you have a pet or is considering to have one in the near future? Discuss if you have allergies to pet dander or simply do not want any pets around.
What do you usually do on weekends?
You would want to learn how your potential roomie spends their free time. Do they clean up? Visit family? Hog the couch and play videogames? Anybody’s me- time is important. You want to be able to respect that and allow each other to do what you do without becoming a nuisance to the other. Who knows? You might find a new hobby buddy.
What is your cleaning style?
Chores are an inevitable part of adult life. Some enjoy certain tasks more than others. Talk about dividing chores and how common areas should be kept. How you clean up after yourselves is an important aspect as well. Are you the type who would immediately wash the dishes after use? Are you both doing your laundry in your home or are you hiring a laundromat to do it for you?
Do you have guests around frequently?
Do one or both of you like having people around? Are your friends/would-be guests the type to clean up after themselves or do either of you hate having guests around? This part is a little bit tricky, but giving each other a heads up when people are coming over is generally a good rule to follow.
Any peculiar habits I should be aware of?
I personally hate it when other people try to do my laundry, I like having a humidifier around, or I like my oreos without the cream filling. These are all my personal preferences. You or your roomie could have something more specific or crazier than that. You should go over anything home related habits or anything that ticks you off. Doing so will let the other know what to expect from each other and what to avoid.
Before taking the big plunge of sharing living space with others, it is important to set clear ground rules. Whether you are moving in with family members, close friends, colleagues, or somebody you just met. Not voicing out your needs, or expecting “unspoken rules” to be the norm and believing other person will simply understand what you want and don’t want is a recipe for disaster. It can put a rift between friendships and family ties. No matter how small or silly it sounds, be honest and clear about the things that you require to create conducive living conditions for yourself and why.
Remember, you are both signing a legal and binding contract and will have to live with each other for the duration of your contract. You better make sure all parties involved (if you’re moving with a group), understand each other’s personalities and can tolerate their quirks.