While choosing a potential roommate isn’t quite as stressful as finding (and moving in with) the perfect life partner, it can still be fraught with uncertainty.

After all, living with a roommate means you’re entering into a binding agreement with another person. You’ll share your home, your furniture, and even your refrigerator for the duration of your lease.

Sure, you could turn to your friends for recommendations or sign up for one of the many roommate-matching apps out there, but to really learn whether you want to live with someone, you need to dig deep and ask questions. There are some great questions to ask a potential roommate to save yourself from the headache of being incompatible down the road.

How Do I Vet a Potential Roommate?

While contemplating how to choose a roommate, keep in mind that there is no foolproof way to ensure a perfect match.  See below for some questions to ask your future roommates, and be prepared to answer some of these yourself.

  1. Have you had a roommate before? This question can tell you a lot about a potential roommate. If they haven’t had a roommate before, they might have unrealistic expectations about how much time you’ll spend together or how bills and other duties will be divided. If they’ve had a roommate, ask how the experience was.
  2. Do you have a job? Hopefully, you’ve already confirmed that they receive a regular paycheck, but it doesn’t hurt to double-check. You could also rephrase the question to something along the lines of, “Tell me about your job.” Phrasing it this way can give you a sense of whether they’re happy at their job and intend to stick with it for the long haul (ie: keep paying their portion of the rent).
  3. Have you ever been late paying your bills or been evicted? Money is always awkward to discuss, especially with someone you don’t know very well. But each person’s rental history and credit score will come up when the property manager reviews your applications. It’s best to be prepared and deal with the questions head-on. You could also ask: “Do you make a monthly budget and stick with it?”
  4. What’s your schedule? Maybe you don’t want to live with a night owl who likes to practice their music at 2 a.m. (although, there are ways to practice music without disturbing the neighbors or roommates). Or maybe you like to work from home in the evenings and would prefer a quiet, productive environment during those hours. Having an idea of who will be around, and when,  can help merge two schedules. Or, help you decide if you need to rent an apartment that has designated space for an office.
  5. How often do you have friends/significant others over — and if so, when? This is related to the previous question but gets into whether you can expect to have any additional, unplanned roommates on a regular basis. The occasional weekend guest or potluck party full of friends is one thing. A significant other who stays over every night means you might need a larger apartment and to adjust the financials.
  6. How often do you clean the apartment? Probably the biggest argument roommates have is over the division of cleaning duties. This ultimate apartment cleaning checklist can help you split the chores and create a peaceful, sparkling environment.
  7. What temperature settings do you prefer? If disagreements over cleaning the apartment is the number one friction point between roommates, thermostat setting is probably the second. So while it might seem like an odd question, it goes a long way to keep everyone comfortable.
  8. Do you have any allergies or food restrictions? You might want to hold off on getting that long-dreamed-of puppy or kitten if your potential roommate is allergic to pets. Likewise, you don’t want to reach into the refrigerator for your lactose-free milk only to find your roommate has already used it. Discuss both allergies and food restrictions as well as what measures should be taken in case of an emergency or reaction.
  9. Do you smoke or drink? Drinking or smoking, especially in a shared space, can be deal-breakers for a lot of roommates. How your potential roommate handles these habits — whether theirs or yours — can be a big issue that is best addressed in advance.
  10. What do you expect out of a roommate? This is one of the most important things to ask for how to choose a roommate. This is an open-ended question that allows your potential roommate to ask questions of their own, raise their concerns, or offer up other information they need to decide if you’re their ideal roommate.


Choosing A Roommate Can Be Tricky, But Choosing An Apartment At Southern Management Is Simple

While our apartment communities offer a slew of amenities, a perfect roommate is not one of them. But with this list of questions for potential roommates, you’re already well on your way to finding the right match.

At Southern Management, we offer beautiful 2-bedroom, 2-bathroom apartments for you and your roommate throughout Maryland and Northern Virginia. Tour our communities virtually and contact us online to find out more.