You and your potential roommate need to have an open, honest conversation to ensure you will be compatible before you sign a lease and move into an apartment together. This conversation and some of the questions may be uncomfortable and personal, especially when it comes to discussing finances, but they are necessary questions you both need to answer.
Here are 10 questions to ask a potential roommate to help you both get to know one another and to ensure you’re making the right decision to live together.
1.What are our expectations as roommates?
Are we roommates just for the sake of saving money? Are we roommates who want to be friends? Do you expect your roommate to hang out with you on the weekends? Does your roommate expect you to cook supper once a week for both of you? These are important questions to answer to know how involved in each other’s lives you expect each other to be.
2. Do you have a steady income?
If you’re planning to move into an apartment, you and your roommate should have a steady income that will cover all of your expenses. Moving into an apartment without adequate funds and a steady income can cause major financial problems that are often difficult to recover from.
3. Do you have an emergency savings fund?
If your roommate suddenly loses his/her job, you need to know that they can still afford to pay their part of the bills. You don’t want to get stuck in a stressful situation where your roommate has no income and no savings, which leaves you to pay the entire rent, electric bill, internet bill, etc.
4. How will we divide monthly bills?
This is another important question you should answer before you sign the lease. You need to know whose name the bills will be in (or maybe both names will be listed), who is responsible for paying which bill, how you will split each bill, who is responsible if there is a problem with service or a charge if the bill is paid late, etc. When discussing bills, you also need to make sure you can both afford the rent and any optional expenses like cable and internet before you sign a lease or contract.
5. How will we split groceries, cleaning supplies, and household items?
You and your roommate will have to buy groceries, cleaning supplies, and other household items. It’s only fair to split things that you both use evenly, so come up with a plan for who will buy what and when. You might feel more comfortable taking turns buying cleaning supplies every other time something is needed. Or you might want to shop together and split the bill evenly.
6. Who is going to do which chores and when?
If you’re a stickler for cleaning but your roommate is not, you need to come up with a cleaning system you can both agree to. Discuss things like laundry, dirty dishes, sweeping and mopping, cleaning the bathrooms, etc. Divide cleaning duties and create a cleaning schedule that you can both handle and that will keep you both responsible for cleaning duties so one person isn’t stuck cleaning everything every time.
7. What will your schedule be like?
What does a typical day look like at our apartment? Will we eat supper together during the week? Will you typically be out of town on the weekends? You may work 9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m., and your roommate may work 7:00 p.m. – 7:00 a.m. Know each other’s schedule, not just to know who will be in the apartment when but also to keep up with one another to make sure you both get home safe.
8. Do you plan to have guests over? If yes, how often?
Guests who overstay their welcome can become a problem between roommates, so you should work this out before you move in together. Yes, it’s completely okay to have guests over, but always be considerate of your roommate. If your roommate is preparing for a big project at school or work, maybe it’s best not to have a house party. If you’re going out of town for a few days, tell your roommate in advance because it may be a good opportunity for him/her to have friends over.
9. If we become unhappy in this living situation, what happens?
Maybe you made all of the research, hunt, and lease decisions for the apartment, so you feel like you should keep the apartment if you and your roommate decide you cannot live together. But maybe your roommate feels like the apartment is closer to their job and family, so he/she should keep the apartment. Work this out at the very beginning so you won’t have additional emotional and financial stress should it come to this.
10. What do you do for fun?
This is a fun question that helps you get to know one another. It also helps figure out what kind of lifestyle each other has. It isn’t necessarily a major issue if you and your roommate are completely different with completely different hobbies and interests, but it will help you get settled if you know the types of things each other likes to do for fun.