13 questions to ask before you move in with a roommate



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 Your room is huge, the apartment looks great, and location couldn’t be better. When you’re renting, there’s one more factor to consider before signing on the dotted line: Roommates. Compatibility with new roommates can make or break a living situation, especially if you don’t know your roommate-to-be very well.

Instead of crossing your fingers and hoping for the best, ask these 13 preliminary questions. Some are obvious, but others could save you from a lot of heartache in a few months.


1. Where do you spend most of your time?

If your roommate is camped out in front of your only television 24/7, you may have issues down the road.


2. How often do you clean?

When cleaning habits aren’t on the same page, you’re setting yourself up for frustration and passive-aggressive fights.


3. Do you smoke indoors?

If your roommate smokes the occasional cigarette outside, it isn’t necessarily a deal-breaker. It’s just better to talk about your smoking expectations now before an ashtray is brought into the living room.


4. What do you do on the weekends?

This question will give you insight into your roommates’ relaxation style. Either end of the spectrum (party animal or couch potato) is probably a red flag.


5. Is there anyone in your life who will come over a lot?

A significant other that spends the night every once in awhile is no big deal, but there’s a fine line between a visitor and a third roommate that doesn’t pay any rent. Be up front if you expect significant others to pay their way if they’re staying over every night.


6. How would you prefer to divvy up bills?

We say, Venmo all the way. If splitting isn’t your style, there are ways to make it fair by taking over different bills.


7. Do you have a pet?

If you’re allergic to cats, it’s better to know now before you’re buying Benadryl in bulk. If you’re a pet owner, be up front. Chances are, it’s no big deal to share your pad with a four-legged friend, but don’t spring it unexpectedly on a roommate. Tip: Smaller, polarizing pets like tarantulas count!


8. What do you do for work?

This innocent question actually gives you a lot of information. You can find out if they have a stable job, how often they work and if they work from home.


9. Do you get along with old roommates?

Ever heard the phrase history repeats itself? Well, if the answer is, “No, we all hate each other,” there may be a reason for that. Tip: Try to approach this question in a subtle way, just ask generally about their previous living situations and try to get a feel for how things turned out.


10. In the past, how have you handled food?

Food is a big deal when you’re living with strangers. Be up front if you expect everything to be separated and labeled, or if you’re okay with sharing now and then. If you don’t tell your roommate now, you can’t expect them to know that the microwave popcorn is off-limits later.


11. What time do you go to bed?

Sleep is precious. If your roommate works nights and hits the sack around three AM, while you’re an early-to-bed-early-to-rise type of person, you may not mesh.


12. Do you expect a lot of out-of-town visitors?

Some people have big families and lots of friends from out of town, which means you’ll have weekends full of visitors in your future. If you’re okay with that, cool. If not, it’s better to find out now.


13. How long do you plan to stay?

If you’re just looking for a place to crash for a short-term lease and they’re hoping to find a roommate they can stick with for years, you’re probably not meant to be.


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