Roommate Checklist: the 30 Things You Should Always Ask a Potential Roommate

Picking the right roommate follows the same route as that of choosing a significant other. It helps to find someone whose values and lifestyle align with yours. Ideally, the right roommate should be compatible with you, at least if you are to get the best experience of living together. 

roommate checklist

Additionally, there should exist mutual respect between both of you- this is a person you are going to spend a lot of time with, after all. Finding the perfect roommate starts with coming up with a roommate checklist- asking the right questions, that is. Throwing ideal questions at your potential roommate will, without doubt, give you insight into who a person is exactly, and how they prefer to live. A roommate checklist is about more than seeking to determine whether or not you can get along (we all know that there is no guarantee that great pals don’t necessarily make great roommates).

Now, if you are on the hunt for that ideal roommate, make sure to do your due diligence to find one that matches you big-time. Below are 30 things to always ask a potential roommate. By the end of the article, you should have a better idea of whether living together with him or her is a good idea. Read on.

Roommate Checklist

1. Do You Look Forward to Us Getting Along Like Friends?

When you are looking for an ideal roommate, you expect to become great friends with them, right? Well, you also expect that your new-found friendship will lead both of you to share your things freely. But you would not be surprised to find that your potential roommate is a total opposite- he or she could be the kind of person that doesn’t expect much more than the occasional greetings. They could not be interested in sharing, maybe because it’s in their blood, or simply because they prefer living a solitary lifestyle, parallel to other people. So, it is important to know the expectations before you can move in together.

2. Do You Drink Much?

Excessive partying is one thing that can drive a wedge between a good friendship. Similarly, there’s a likelihood that you could become great friends if both of you do.

This means that it’s extremely important to know the approach your potential roommate has towards partying, drinking and drugs. Do they see drinking and smoking inside the room as a big deal? Make sure to touch on this before renting a room together.

3. What Do You Do to Make Ends Meet?

There’s nothing that can tell more about a person than their job, right? It also gives you an idea about what their typical day looks like. Also, listen to how they talk about what they do. A potential roommate who is stressed out by their job could mean an added stress to you as well.

4. What’s Your Budget Limit?

Yes, it may sound awkward to ask someone you know little about finance-related questions, but it helps to make sure that you’re reading from the same script. You can seek to know the most amount they can spend on rent and other expenses. Getting such information is also particularly useful if you’re finding a roommate to fill an empty corner in your current residence. You know you don’t want someone who will always be stretching themselves thin to make their rent every single month.

5. Roommate Checklist: What’s Your Policy on Visitors?

This is yet another important question we can’t afford to ignore when it comes to the roommate checklist. You know, it is unreasonable to expect someone to never expect visiting guests. But communicating with your potential roommate around guests, when, and the frequency of visits can help avert conflicts. This way, both of you will be okay with each other’s policies on guests.

6. What Would Your Previous Roommates and Landlord Say About You?

Before signing a lease agreement together with your potential roommate, it is important to do a background check on him or her. Although it can be difficult to get a recommendation letter from their previous landlord, or contact details of their previous roommates, you can still bring up the topic and listen to what they have to say. If you realize that they have a pattern of nasty room incidents, they are partially to blame.

7. How Often Do You Do Cleaning?

Most roommates break up because of uncleanliness. Whether you are clean or messy, there’s a likelihood that discord will arise if both of you are not reading from the same script. But it is avoidable. Instead of being blunt and asking your potential roommate whether they are clean, ask them how often they do cleaning.

8. Do You Have Any Difficulty Paying Rent?

This is so important, and we ought to have placed it at the top of the roommate checklist. Not paying rent on time is one major reason roommates break up. So, listen for clues to determine whether they’re reliable financially, or whether they have a pattern of late payments (or non-payments). You can easily know this by first knowing about their job, expenditure, etc. Or yet still, you can create a conducive environment for them to talk about this issue freely.

9. What Does Your Typical Schedule Look Like?

Roommates can have rough times with each other if their schedules. For example, you might want to sleep while the other one wants to play music with the volume up. You don’t need to have identical schedules for you to get along well, but you can work to accommodate each other. Make sure to discuss your schedules right from the beginning, and also find workarounds where mismatches come up.

10.  Do You Avoid Certain Foods?

This is a great question to ask your potential roommate. It makes you aware of what you can or can’t keep in your apartment. And it also shows that you care. Some people avoid certain foods due to health issues, beliefs, principles, or fitness goals.

11. What’s Your Take On Pets?

If you love pets, you really need to ask yourself if your roommate is okay with your little beasts roaming around your apartment. Allergies are yet another thing to keep in mind. And even if you aren’t a pet lover, don’t turn your roommate down until you have made sure that it’s a bother to you.

12. What Can Stress You in Life?

It is important to know what your roommate considers stressful so that you will be able to handle them carefully when they feel down. Life will certainly bring drama, but knowing to detect red flags in advance will help both of you to compassionately maneuver through stress. Additionally, you will also learn to avoid doing things that can stress them.

13. Are You Dating?

We talked about visitation limits earlier on. This question might seem awkward but it is worth asking. Living with a roommate whose significant is over often amounts to having a third roommate who is exempted from paying utilities and rent.

14. How Long Do You Plan to Stay?

While we know that there are circumstances that require a person to break the lease agreement quickly, it can be daunting and annoying if you are left with the task of finding a replacement. Ask your potential roommate how long they plan to stay with you, to avert the possibility of being left hanging in case they move out earlier than planned.

 15. What Do You Expect Out of Me?

Before opening up about what you expect out of your roommate, it is important to allow them to finish their thoughts. This way, both of you will be forward with your expectations in such an arrangement.

16. How Can We Split the Costs?

The most obvious method of splitting utility costs and rent is 50/50- every one of you contributes half. But this may not be the case, especially if your earnings are way too far or lower than those of your roommate. For example, you could find that due to financial constraints, your roommate may be able to settle rent only. Talk with them and see where you can help if that extra coin remains after you pay your bills. And remember, if the roommate is the kind of person that nitpick about who used more money, water or food, that is not a good fit for you.

a person sleeping on a coach

17. Do You Have a Little Savings for Expenses or Emergency?

Whether the chair breaks and you have to share the costs, or if their car develops a problem, you will need to know whether there’s a separate budget to cover such costs.

18. Have You Been Arrested in The Past and for What?

This is one way to tell what is in your roommate’s past-just by looking at them. A ‘’Yes’’ to this question doesn’t render them unfit to be your roommate. Just gather all the information from them before you can decide.

19. Roommate Checklist: What Do You Do in Your Leisure Time?

If your main aim to find a roommate is to fill the space, you might not care much about how the two of you get along. But if you are looking for a friend in a roommate, having common hobbies or interests is a great place to start.

20. Have You Ever Shared a Room with Someone?

 Asking your roommate this question helps you to be aware of the circumstances that lie ahead. If they haven’t ever shared a room with someone, there are chances that banter could arise. That said, you can always make sure to be on your guard, especially if sharing is something they will need to adjust to.

21. Do You Suffer from Illnesses I Should Know?

Now, since your roommate is more of a stranger to you, you’ll need to know them better, from their strengths, weaknesses, attitude, passion, interests, hobbies, and even bodily health. Besides snack allergies, your roommate could be the kind of person that is affected by smells and scents. Knowing what allergies that they could be suffering from will go a long way to help you choose body lotions and air fresheners wisely. They will know that you’re caring and considerate.

22. Do You Like the Room Cold or Warmer?

You could be a cold person, and then your roommate a person who prefers hot air. This can lead to conflicts because of your preferences. So, when finding a good fit for a roommate, ask them this question.

23. Are You a Party Animal?

If you are looking for a roommate that can throw parties apart from being a roommate, then this question is pretty important. If you fail to find one that likes parties the same way as you, you can consider letting your roommate know when you expect to come in late, and vice versa.

24. What Music Do You Like?

Music is fun, yeah? Well, you need to test if both of you enjoy the same type of music, or better still, the same volume. If either of you doesn’t like loud music, this question should be asked so you can accommodate each other’s tastes and preferences.

25. Do You Have Future Goals?

Asking them about their personal and career goals will spark a new conversation. We all know great business partners who started as roommates back in college. This could be you and them. Who knows? Dig in!

26. Can You Tell Me About Your Family?

Every one of us likes talking about our families, right? You’ll accommodate your potential roommate more if you get to understand his roots. So, prepare to spend a few hours on this question.

27. What’s Your View on Privacy in the Apartment?

There are many questions that relate to privacy in your room. You know, it is easier to forget what is and isn’t cool, especially now that you don’t have the room to yourself. Are they OK with you being in the room when skyping or face-timing?

28. How Will We Fix Disagreements?

People living together must differ or disagree on a whole range of things. Some people will leave angry notes when they are angry, while others will confront each other directly. It helps to communicate about communication in times of disagreements.

29. Is There Anything You’d Want to Know About Me?

Even if this question will spark a random conversation, leave the floor open for questions. Your potential roommate will begin feeling at ease to be open to you. You know, an introverted roommate might not open up about what they feel about you unless you open the floor for questions. Maybe other unrelated issues weren’t addressed. Also, ask them if there’s anything else you should know about them.

30. How Do You Feel About Move-in Day?

Let them say how they feel about the day you’re planning to move in together. Are they excited about that day?

a person standing next to sign

Prepare Roommate Checklist in Advance

A potential roommate could be a total stranger, a co-worker, a friend of a friend, and such. Moving in with someone you know little about can be scary at first, but you can fix that by ensuring that you sit them down and get to know them better. You can practice such questions because no matter the choice you make; you will still feel the consequences.

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