Picture this: you’ve found the apartment of your dreams. It’s in the perfect location, it has lots of room and gets lots of sunlight. It’s also within your budget. You’ve happily signed the lease, and now you’re on the hunt for a roommate to split the rent with. You’ve met with several people who seem like they could be a fit, however, how can you know for sure?
It’s a slippery slope to pick a roomie based on vibes alone. Sure, they might seem like a nice person, but are they someone who you can truly get along with? Or will you be hoping they move out after spending a month together under one roof?
Before handing over the keys, these are the 10 essential questions to ask your potential new roommate — before they move in.
Related: 10 signs you need to be a better friend.
How do they resolve conflict?
This is very, very important to ask, even if it might feel awkward. If you know that someone is too shy to address conflict, or they’re passive-aggressive when provoked, you need to know this before signing a lease with them. Some people know how to behave like adults and have those uncomfortable conversations. But maybe they’ve forgotten to do their chores, or they keep leaving the door unlocked — whatever the situation may be, if you’re not getting along you need to be able to talk about it before the problem boils over.
What’s their sleeping schedule like?
Some people may be night owls and some are early risers, and this might be a more important factor than you think when deciding to live with someone. If you’re someone who needs to get up early every day for work, but your roomie works nights and is coming and going, or cooking or just being noisy when you’re trying to have some shut-eye, chances are you’re going to become annoyed with them quickly.
How clean are they?
This might sound obvious, but most people don’t want to live with someone who is messy or doesn’t do their dishes. Having a clean, comfortable space is important, and you should be living with someone who doesn’t go out without taking the garbage out. Having a roommate that leaves their food in the fridge to go bad is a sure way to get cranky, and might even attract pests. By asking this question about cleanliness, you should be able to suss out who might be leaving you to do all the cleaning.
Also, while asking about cleaning, it’s a good idea to ask if they’d be open to a chore schedule.
What are their dietary restrictions?
On the surface this could be an odd question, however, it’s still one you should ask. If you’re someone who has food allergies or intolerances, it might be important for you to live with someone who respects those. We’re not saying to rule out someone if they’re vegan or vegetarian, but rather gauge if the person you’ll be living with won’t bring foods or ingredients into the house that might be harmful to you.
Do they have an emergency fund?
There’s nothing more stressful than living with someone who is late on the rent — especially if they’re at risk of stopping paying it altogether. Life happens, and sometimes people get laid off from their jobs or they might fall ill, however, it’s still a good idea to know if they can keep paying their rent should something in their life go left.
Do they have a partner?
While some people might not care if their new roomie has a partner who is always around and hanging out at their apartment, for others, this might be a red flag when deciding whether or not to live with someone. If your roomie’s partner is constantly over and eating food, showering, or potentially making you feel uncomfortable, it’ll be an awkward convo to have with your roomie if you haven’t already set boundaries around having them over all the time. So find out if they have a partner and what habits they might have before you sign that lease.
On the flip side, it’s also good to know if your roommate is single and planning to be bringing their hookups through your apartment all the time. This also might make people uncomfortable, so again, it’s good to know beforehand.
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Do they work from home?
We all know that COVID-19 changed the way we live and work, and some of us are never heading back to the office. If your roomie also works remotely, is it going to be overwhelming if you’re both at home together all day, every day? Or maybe your internet can’t handle two people both having Zoom meetings simultaneously.
Maybe you don’t like to be alone in your space all day, and would prefer to have someone be home with you so that you can have coffee breaks together or take hot girl walks. But find out if it’s going to be an issue before you decide if you’re going to live with them.
How do they feel about pets?
It’s no secret that people love their furry friends. But if you have allergies, or you don’t want a specific pet in your home. For example, bunnies may look cute, but they chew everything — and they might just eat your damage deposit if you live with someone who has one. Or maybe you’re allergic to cats or dogs. Or, perhaps your apartment would simply be too crowded with a pet and their items taking up space. Whatever the reason may be, find out before if your roomie has any fur babies before they show up covered in animal hair.
Are they sober?
If you’re someone who is sober, maybe you don’t want to live with someone who is constantly bringing substances into your home. For some people, it’s just not feasible to live with someone who isn’t also sober, and there is nothing wrong or shameful about that. But you need to know beforehand so that there is no tension.
Is it important if they are your friend?
TV shows like New Girl have made it look like it’s a blast being besties with your roommates. But life isn’t always how it looks like in TV shows or movies. Some people only care about having a roommate who is able to pay the rent, while others may be hoping for a roomie they can be friends with. And there’s a difference between being friendly with your roommate and actually being friends. So, it’s an important expectation to assess early on so that neither you nor your roommate is disappointed or feeling excluded if you aren’t as close as you’d hoped.