Having a roommate can be either lots of fun, or the bane of your existence. If you need to find someone quick to help with the rent, you should take the time to get to know them before agreeing to live with them. You may need to go through a few roommate interviews before you find someone that’s going to be a good fit for you. When you’re meeting with a potential roommate, have a few telling questions ready to ask.
Are you in a relationship? If so, what are they like, and how do you like to spend time together?
Having a roommate in a relationship can become a big deal. You can quickly morph from having one roommate, to having two. Set up some ground rules that work for both you and the potential roommate so that both parties understand how to make it work. Even if the person doesn’t have a relationship now, it’s possible that they will start a relationship in the middle of the lease. Go ahead and make it known what you can and can’t handle.
Do you have a way to pay for unexpected emergencies?
Life happens. Accidents and unexpected emergencies are part of it. It’s important to know that your potential roommate has a back-up plan in place for bumps along the way. Often times, people live paycheck to paycheck, which leaves little room for unplanned expenses. You don’t want to get caught having to foot the entire rent bill if they have car trouble one month.
Are you a morning person, or a night person?
Ask about their daily routine. Do they need to wake up early during the week to get to work? Or, do they prefer to watch TV into the middle of the night? If you are a morning person and they are a night person, conflicts could happen. It’s not necessarily a deal breaker, but you want to room with someone who will be considerate of your schedule. If you need quiet at night, make sure that they understand not to have people over past a specific hour, and to keep the TV to a low volume.
How do you like to spend your free time?
This question can tell you a lot about a person. Do they enjoy going out and spending time with friends? Or are they a bookworm who likes to stay home read all the latest authors? Do they blow off steam by practicing guitar, or do they do yoga? Make sure the way you will mesh well with how they want to spend their free time. If there are days where you want the whole house to yourself, but they never leave, that could be a sign that things won’t work out. Or, on the other hand, if they are rarely there, and you like having the company that could be a sore spot too. This question will open them up to what their personality is like and show you if you have any common interests that you could bond over.
What are your cleaning habits?
This question will send up any red flags for troublesome roommates. You want to live with another adult, not a sloppy child. You’re a roommate, not their parent. When you share space, you need to have a clear understanding of how chores are separated. If one person ends up always taking out the trash, and constantly doing all of the dishes, problems arise. If you’re a neat freak, try and relax a little. A cup left out here or there won’t kill you--but repeatedly leaving the kitchen a mess isn’t acceptable either. You can set up a system where you alternate chores so that no one person feels burdened by it all.
The most important part about these questions is to be honest. First, you need to be honest with yourself. Know who you are and what you need to live peaceably. Second, be honest about what you need to the other person. You can state your needs in a polite, yet firm way so there isn’t any miscommunication. Be understanding and considerate of others, and you’ll find the perfect roommate to live in your apartment.