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10 Questions to Ask a Roommate

You’ve probably heard that renting rooms in your own home is becoming quite common. Perhaps you’re just searching for a roommate for your next semester at college. Maybe you’re a landlord who is trying to pair roommates together. In any case, finding the right roommate can be difficult. But you can help yourself by asking a few good questions upfront.

Here are 10 things you’ll want to find out about a potential roommate before you move in with them:

1. Will they be able to afford rent each month? Of course, the very first question you want to ask any roommate is if they will be able to pay for their share of the rent, utilities, and any other regular fees. If they do not have a reliable source of income, you may need to stop asking questions and move on.

2. What is their definition of clean? Some people are content with regular clutter. Some people cannot go to bed at night if even one pillow is out of place on their couch. If you and your roommate cannot come to an agreement on an acceptable level of cleanliness in your home, you may have regular disagreements.

3. Are they an early riser or a night owl? If you know that you need to be in bed by 9pm most nights, but your roommate is often up until midnight, you could face a few clashes in the mornings and evenings. The living arrangement could still work, but this is something you’ll want to know before your alarm clock goes off.

4. What does comfortable mean to them? When you’re living with a roommate, you’ve got to find the balance between home comfort and affordable utility costs. Will your roommate be more willing to pay a little extra each month for comfort or would they rather bundle up while they’re at home?

5. Do they have frequent visitors? Why ask this question? Because, if your roommate has frequent visitors, you’ll also have frequent visitors. It is important for you and your roommate to talk about this before any visitors start flowing in.

6. What does home security mean to them? While you don’t need to talk about a home monitoring system with a potential roommate, you should find out what level of security makes them feel comfortable at home. Do they always lock the doors and windows when they leave? Is that a “must” for you? If you cannot agree on home safety, it may be very difficult to live together.

7. How long do they think they will need a roommate? Are you looking for a long-term live-in roommate? Or do you just need to live with a roommate for your final semester of school? Find a roommate who is looking for a similar living arrangement that will fit your needs.

8. Are they looking for a friendship, too? You may be looking for someone to simply share the rent and other living costs. However, some roommates may be seeking a real friendship. If you’re constantly on the go and don’t feel like you have time to cultivate a new friendship, it is nice to let a new roommate know this from the get-go.

9. What happens with the groceries? And the cooking? Will you and your roommate go grocery shopping together? Will you share the food in the refrigerator? It may sound like a minor issue, but if you find that your roommate is constantly eating the last of your favorite foods, it could be a major problem around the house!

10. What do they do for fun? Whether you’re looking for a new best friend in your next roommate or not, you’re likely to spend some of your free time together. Maybe you and your new roommate will be able to catch up on a favorite TV show together—or maybe you can teach each other something new.

The bottom line when it comes to looking for a roommate? Find someone with similar views on the things that matter most to you. Beyond that, let a person’s differences teach you something new. Best of luck in your search for a roommate!

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