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Questions to Ask Potential Roommates

Without a doubt, roommates are a mixed blessing. On the one hand, they can greatly reduce your housing budget. On the other, the wrong roommate can bring about disasters to your finances, mental and physical health, and personal belongings. Many people are able to find roommates through mutual friends, but if you don't know anyone who's looking for a roommate, how do you cope with meeting strangers? The following questions can help you get a better idea of whether living with a particular person will work out.

1. What do you do for a living?
2. Why are you looking for a roommate?
3. Will this be the first time you've had a roommate? If it's not, why did those arrangements come to an end?
4. What are you looking for in a roommate? How would you describe yourself as a roommate?
5. What have you liked and disliked about past roommates?
6. How long are you planning to stay? Do you see yourself suddenly moving in a few months?
7. Will your friends or a significant other be spending a lot of time here? Could you ever see yourself bringing home strangers late at night?
8. How quiet or noisy are you? How much noise can you tolerate? What times of day will you be making noise and at what times do you need quiet? (Try to get a specific answer to figure out what "noise" means to this person. Is playing music late at night OK? Will they be bothered if you do an aerobics video early in the morning?)
9. Are you a light sleeper?
10. How much cleanliness do you need? How often do you think an apartment should be cleaned? What sort of cleaning schedule do you envision?
11. Do you smoke indoors? Do you do drugs? How often?
12. Do you have any pets? Are you planning on getting a pet?
13. Do you have a medical problem?
14. What TV shows and music do you like?
15. Do you play a musical instrument? Will you practice at home? At what time?
16. How often do you throw parties? What are they like? Do you like to have people over frequently?
17. How do you feel about sharing clothing, kitchen supplies, etc...? Should we buy food together or separately? Can we borrow food from each other?
18. Which room are you interested in? Are you willing to pay more rent for the larger or more desirable room (if applicable)?
19. Are you willing to co-sign the lease and other contracts? (Be very wary of someone who says no—he or she is most likely trying to avoid being legally obligated to pay the rent.)

This may seem like a detailed list. While you probably won't end up asking every single one of these questions and you don't want to sound like you're grilling the other person, don't be shy about finding out as much as you reasonably can. If your potential roommate is responsible, he or she will likely have a lot of questions for you, too.

Elsewhere on the Web

Find the Right Roommate
Qualities to Look for in a Roommate


My Roommate Is Driving Me Crazy!
Rules for Roommates
Sharing Spaces


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