What You Forgot to Ask Your Potential Roommate

I’m sure you’ve already asked your potential roommate all the basics. You know where they’re from, how late they stay up, and how messy they are. You’ve talked about their party habits, whether they have a significant other, and their favorite hobbies. But there are a few topics that probably haven’t come up yet. Here are three things you’ll want to discuss sooner rather than later:

What is your ideal room temperature?

My friend found himself in for a big surprise when he discovered his new roommate’s air conditioning preferences. On a breezy, seventy degree day, my friend had his AC turned off and had opened the windows to take advantage of the beautiful day. When his roommate came home, he immediately closed all the windows, turned on the air, and set it to cool down 65 degrees. Uh oh… Enter: Roommate problem. Personally, I try to use my AC as little as possible (my apartment is usually about 78 degrees), so this would have been a HUGE issue for me. I can’t imagine being okay living with someone who keeps their apartment that cold (or paying my half of that AC bill!)

TLDR: Ask your potential roommate: How cool do you keep your house in the summer? How warm do you keep your house in the winter? Do you often open windows?

How long are your showers? How long is too long?

Think about how long you take in the shower. Do you require a solid 30 minutes? Or do you cut it off right at five? Or maybe you’re somewhere in between? Whatever your answer, consider what you think is too long and then ask your potential roommate how long they usually take. This might seem like a weird question, but keep in mind that you guys will likely be splitting the utilities 50/50. Are you okay with paying half the water bill if your showers are half as long and half as frequent as your roommate’s? Or maybe you’re a water-conscious person and can’t stand the idea of living with someone who takes long showers. Whatever you both prefer, figure it out now rather than later.

TLDR: How long can your roommate spend in the shower before you start wondering if he drowned in there? Will your roommate get annoyed with you if you take a long, relaxing shower at the end of the day?

Do you plan on getting pets? Would you consider pets?

I’m sure you’ve already asked your potential roommate if she has any pets. However, it’s one thing for her to tell you that she doesn’t currently own any, but how are you going to react six months from now when you come home to find she’s adopted a cat? Maybe that would be a great surprise, or maybe it would have you reconsidering your living arrangement. A friend of mine had her heart set on getting a dog once she’d been in her new place for a year and had the money to do it. Except, the girl she planned to live with for the next several years is terrified of dogs. Now my friend either has to go without a furry companion or find a new place to live when her lease is up.

TLDR: It’s not enough to discuss current pets. Know whether you or your perspective roommates want pets in the foreseeable future. Do you need prior warning if your roommate wants to adopt a dog? What about a hamster? Or a snake? Clearing this question up front is especially important if you have allergies.

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Author My First Apartment

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Taylor LaSon is a recent Hamilton College graduate who is currently living in Memphis while seeking her Master’s Degree in Speech Language Pathology. She and her cat prefer a quiet, introverted lifestyle full of Netflix binges and arts and crafts, but when she does go out, she enjoys rock climbing and making silly faces at small children.

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