Last Updated on December 4, 2021 by Kelvin Nielsen
Having a roommate can be a very rewarding and pleasant experience. Getting to save money or having some companionship can be a blessing.
However, not all roommates are a fit for you. If you end up living with the wrong one, your life can turn out to be miserable and nightmarish.
So, how do you know that a roommate is right for you? By screening them with the right set of questions. If you don’t know where to start, there’s no need to fret; the following are 10 roommate screening questions to help you find the roommate of your dreams.
What do you do for a living?
Admittedly, you’re majorly looking for a roommate so that you can help each other out financially. Therefore, the first question you want to ask is regarding how they make their dollars and how much they are.
A roommate with a decent income is likely to be reliable and won’t have issues paying their rent. Conversely, it’s risky to rely on one who isn’t employed or is unclear about their income source. If they don’t bail on rent, they could leave you in the lurch when it comes to other bills.
How’s your schedule?
It’s not uncommon for roommates to quarrel over conflicting schedules. When one is trying to sleep, the other could be wanting to play their kazoo or enjoy full-blast music. So, to avoid wrangles, you want to ask the prospective roommate what their schedule is like.
Ideally, you want a roommate whose schedule matches yours. If, for instance, you’re a night owl, your best-suited roommate is one who also works at night. Otherwise, chaos could erupt.
How often do you bring friends over?
It’s also in your best interest to know whether the roommate prospect is the charismatic kind who’ll always have guests over. This is so because some roommates will have guests every other night, parting until the break of dawn. If you prefer silence and peaceful moments, this can get into your nerves.
While you don’t want to make bringing friends a deal-breaker, you want to have some rules regarding this. For example, you can agree that partying can only go down on weekends. During weekdays, the apartment can be quiet for study or work.
Do you keep pets?
This is a big one! Even if you love pets, you want to establish whether you’ll be comfortable sharing a roof with theirs. And if you’ll be, you need to know in advance what kind of pet they have. Is the pet trained? Is it aloof towards neighbors?
Besides, you need to let the roommate know that they’ll be fully responsible for their pet. From paying a pet deposit, pet rent to cleaning up any messes the pet causes, make it known from the outset.
Do you smoke or vape?
If you don’t smoke, you can have a hard time living with a smoker. It’s even worse if you have asthma, an allergy, or a religious belief towards smoking. So, you want to know whether they smoke and break the deal if you’re not comfortable with it.
If you don’t mind smoking, then it’s in your best interest to put restrictions on where they can smoke from. For instance, you can allow smoking in the bathroom but ban it in the living room. Bur that’s if the landlord allows smoking in the apartment to begin with. They rarely do!
How do you approach chores?
It goes without saying that living with a roommate means sharing chores. And the only way you’ll get along is if they’re going to play their part. Some of the questions you can ask them with regards to chores include:
- Are you willing to share chores?
- Do you like to cook?
- Do you leave dishes for later or clean them immediately after a meal?
- How often do you clean your floor?
- How often do you do your laundry?
- What do you think of a chore chart?
- Do you have allergies to some foods?
Another important question to ask your potential roommate is whether they’re sensitive to some foods. While you could be a beef lover, they could be vegan and the smell alone could intoxicate them. In the same way, you could be an avid egg-eater while the egg smell could trigger an allergy.
Asking them if they have any food allergies presents you as a caring and considerate roommate. Still, it can help you break the deal if you’re not willing to part with your favorite dish.
What’s your ideal indoor temperature?
Unbelievable as it may sound, roommates also quarrel over indoor temperature. This is, for one, because what’s comfortable for one person may not be for the other person. Also, some roommates consider that the electricity bill is directly proportional to the frequency of AC usage. So, they prefer the AC off and only on when necessary.
To avoid trouble in the future, ask the roommate in question what their ideal indoor temperature is. If it’s noticeably different from yours, then the two of you aren’t a fit.
How long do you plan to stay?
You want a roommate whose timeline matches yours. In other words, if you plan to rent long-term, they should be down for the same. This is so because if they’re seeking short-term tenancy, you would soon have to go back to the drawing board. By finding a roommate whose desired renting period matches yours, you’ll save yourself a lot of hassle.
Do you have any references I can call?
While the prospect can say a lot about themselves, people who know them can give valuable insights about their character. The references you’re interested in here include previous landlords, former roommates, their friends, and other people who know them. Also, you can check the potential roommate’s social media profiles to learn more about their personal life.
A roommate can be good for your bottom line. However, not all of them are compatible with you. To ensure you choose the right roommate, use the above questions to learn more about them.
Hi, I’m Kelvin Nielsen, an experienced landlord and accomplished real estate lawyer. My focus is on answering your questions about renting in the hopes of making your life as a renter or a landlord a bit easier.