5 Conversations You Must Have with a Potential Roommate

  |     |   Rental Tips & Advice


Deciding on a roommate should involve more than just pairing with another individual who needs to save money on rent and utilities. You need to choose someone you are truly compatible with on many different levels. Here are some questions and issues you may not have thought to address before deciding to share a lease with someone.

Can they pay their portion of the rent?

First and foremost, you need to confirm that your potential roommate is financially stable enough to pay the bills. Does this person have a steady job and paycheck? Do they work full-time or part-time? Do they have reliable transportation to get back and forth to work everyday? Are they relying on anyone else to help them make rent payments? Is there a backup plan in place just in case their job gets eliminated? These are all important questions because some people may automatically expect their roommate (ie. you!) to cover their portion of the rent if they fall short. Whether or not a person can pay their fare share may seem like an invasive topic, but it’s oh so necessary to discuss when your own credit and reputation are at stake.

What is his or her schedule like?

It’s easy to think that having a daily routine that syncs up with your roommate’s is not important. How could it possibly matter that the two of you have somewhat similar schedules? It matters a lot, actually. If one roommate is a night owl while the other needs to wake up for work at 5 a.m., then those two living styles may not jive. Similar schedules and lifestyles will make it easier to get along with each other. Few things are worse than having your sleep cut short because a roommate making noise is constantly interrupting your slumber. It doesn’t make sense to resent a roommate just because their habits are the opposite of yours. Find out first to avoid such problems.

What do they like to eat?

Yes, this actually matters more than you know. How can a vegan and a carnivore live together in peace? It’ll be pretty difficult. How the two of you eat is not something you should ignore. For a vegan, any sign of meat could make them physically ill. There’s even a possibility that your super healthy roommate could try to force their own eating habits and beliefs on you. Another outcome is that you may be tempted back into consuming foods that you had left behind if you see your roommate eating or preparing certain things. Find out what that person’s diet is like before deciding to share an apartment. It could save a ton of headaches down the road. You have the opportunity to save yourself from having very awkward “Do you know what’s in that?” conversations.

What is his or her idea of clean?

Can a neat freak live comfortably with a messy hoarder? Probably not. This is something you will need to know prior to sharing an address with someone. Even if two people consider themselves neat, they may both have completely different ideas about what “neat” actually is. Find out how your potential roommate approaches cleaning and organizing to learn beforehand if it jives with your own habits. Running into problems with a messy roommate tends to be one of the easier qualms to settle, but you can avoid that conflict all together with a bit of planning on the front end.

What’s their pet personality?

If you adore animals–and own one–and your potential roommate doesn’t feel the same way, then that is obviously a living situation that should never exist. But what happens when both of you love animals, but in different ways? How will that roommate treat your pet when you are out for the day, or if you have to travel for a few days? Will your pet’s habits–such as a puppy who loves to bark first thing in the morning–become a problem for that person? It can be quite disconcerting to live with someone who doesn’t treat your furry friend with as much love, care and affection as you do–particularly when you are not around. Find out how this person feels about pets before moving in together.

What other questions would you suggest asking a potential roommate?

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