Interview Questions to Ask Potential Roommates

Few renters can afford the quality and location they want without sharing living space. When you achieve roommate harmony, that’s a good thing! But then there are the roommate horror stories. Renters have told us about everything from being scammed out of thousands of dollars to just pulling their hair out over omnipresent dishes in the sink. To ensure a copacetic apartment share, don’t just ask the most obvious questions about sleep schedules and cleaning. Try these oft-ignored roommate interview questions, too.

What’s your biggest pet peeve?

Everybody wants a clean place with respectful roommates. BUT, it turns out that this means different things to different people. Some people are irked by clutter in the common room, some are sensitive to being woken up by roommates coming in late, and others hate when the shower curtains are dirty. To get a good idea what the person cares about, cut to the chase and ask them – what’s your biggest pet peeve? Once they’re done, it’s a good chance to share yours. It’s much more telling than asking, “Are you a clean person?”

Are you in a relationship? How often do you plan on having your partner over?

Beware the boyfriend or girlfriend who turns into an unofficial roommate. If your potential roommate does have a beau, that might not be a problem. Just be sure to set guidelines about how often they come over. Even if they don’t have one now, it’s the perfect chance to let them know what you’re comfortable with in case they later find someone special.

How often do you have overnight guests?

Frequent visitors from out of town can be as intrusive as romantic partners. Set a policy early on for how frequently houseguests are welcome and how much advance notice should be provided.

Let’s talk about alcohol, drugs, and parties

Make sure you’re on the same page. If your roommate hates drinking, then your party apartment may not be a good fit. Your home policy on second-hand marijuana smoke is a common thing to clarify, especially since people often smoke pot indoors and there may be lease restrictions on smoking indoors.

What stuff are you bringing?

If the interview is going well, you need to think about where their stuff is going to go. Sometimes roommates will own a dining set or a ping-pong table. If they need to get storage for it, it’s good for both of you to know where it’s going to go.

What kind of roommate do you want?

Remember, the interview goes both ways. Even if someone sounds like a great roommate for you, you won’t like living with them unless they’re happy, too.

Here is what you’ll need to pay

It’s always awkward to bring money but your potential roommate needs to budget for their life. Be upfront about the rent, the deposit, and any fees and utilities. If it changes from month to month, it’s better to overestimate than underestimate.

Do you have any questions for me?

It can be very illuminating to find out about a potential roommate’s priorities. And, it reflects well on you that you thought to ask!


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