Let’s face it: even the best of friends can get under each other’s skin when they live together, so cohabiting with a complete stranger and adapting to each other’s habits can be tough. But that’s the challenge of having a roommate.
That said, finding the right roommate and living together in harmony doesn’t have to be impossible. Much like landlords screen for a good tenant, you’ll want to do the same when finding a roommate to share your apartment – and the rent.
To make sure life with a roommate is pleasant, asking a lot of important questions is warranted. Here are some questions you might want to ask.
1. Do You Smoke?
There doesn’t seem to be as many smokers these days compared to yesteryear, but there are still plenty of people who smoke. You’ll certainly want to ask a potential roommate if they smoke or not. And if they do, find out what their habits are, such as whether they like to smoke inside or if they’re in the habit of puffing outdoors.
If you have a real problem with smoking, this could be a dealbreaker. Even if the person smokes outside, they’ll track smoke back in with them on their clothing and breath. Use your discretion when it comes to smokers.
2. Do You Have Pets?
If you love animals and maybe even have a pet of your own, bringing someone on board who also has a pet may not be a big deal. But if you are not a fan of having pets in your home, or may even have an allergy, this could be something that could deter you from choosing a particular individual as a roommate.
3. Do You Like to Enjoy Late Night Parties?
Depending on how you like to spend your evenings, your response to the answer to this question can vary. For instance, if you enjoy having get-togethers that last until the wee hours of the morning, having a roommate that equally enjoys such festivities might make a good match. But if you’re a morning person and prefer to have quiet evenings, then bunking with someone who’s a bit of a party animal could cause some issues.
4. Do You Have a Significant Other?
If your roomie has a boyfriend or girlfriend, odds are that person is going to spend quite a bit of time at your place. While that may be fine, there should probably be some ground rules before you even make your roommate relationship official.
Are you OK with your roommate’s significant other spending a lot of time at your place, and even overnight? Will that person be at your place every day? A couple of days a week? Make sure you speak to your roommate about these potential scenarios before they occur.
5. Have You Had Problems With Making Rent?
Landlords typically like to check into a prospective tenant’s past when it comes to how diligent they were with paying their rent. Well, you should probably do the same.
The whole reason why you chose to get a roommate in the first place was most likely to share the rent. If your new roommate gives you trouble with rent every month, you’ll end up having no choice but to cover the entire rent on your own, which defeats the purpose of having a roommate.
6. How Will Household Chores Be Divided?
You both live in the same place, and you both make a mess. So it’s only fair that you both pitch in to keep the place clean and tidy. It can be incredibly frustrating to be the diligent type when it comes to keeping up with chores when your roommate has a horrible habit of leaving dirty clothes on the floor, filthy dishes piled up on the sink, and bathrooms that can make you queasy.
Talking about chores and general up-keeping of the unit is important, so make sure you have this discussion right from the get-go. And don’t just talk about who does what chores, but also discuss how often you each think they should be done.
7. What is Your Work Schedule?
Having work schedules that jive well with each other can make life easier for both of you. This is especially true if the unit is on the small side or you’ve only got one bathroom to share.
If you both have to get out of the place at the same time every morning, you could be fighting for precious space to get ready, for instance. You don’t want to have to wait forever for your turn in the loo or have to get up much earlier just to get the first crack at it.
8. Do You Have Any Pet Peeves?
It’s not uncommon to annoy each other with petty little things when you’re living in close quarters. But asking what your roommate’s pet peeves are upfront can help you gauge how well you two will work together in the same unit, especially if the place is limited in square footage with little options to escape on your own.
The Bottom Line
Living with a person is a big commitment. And even though rent leases aren’t necessarily forever, it’s still important to pick someone who you’ll get along with, have certain things in common with, and someone who’s responsible enough to take care of the place and make rent on time. And the best way to choose the best person is to ask all the right questions.