How to Interview a Potential Roommate

You’ve seen ads online looking for a roommate. You’ve talked to friends about moving in together. But do you really know how to determine if you and another person are a good fit as roomies? It’s important to find the right person to live with in order to feel comfortable in your apartment, so it’s critical that you know how to interview a potential roommate. Here are some area you should focus on:


Ask questions about rent and utilities. How much did he or she pay at the old place? If it was less than the new apartment, he or she may not be able to afford it. How would the person you are interviewing like to handle paying rent and utilities? You don’t want to be expected to pay all the costs of living in an apartment and be paid back later. Propose a more balanced approach of each of you writing a check at the same time and mailing them together. This way, you won’t get stuck with the bills. If he or she isn’t game, don’t invite him or her to be your roomie.


Questions about employment serve to determine yet again if you’ll be stuck with the rent. Does he or she have a job? How long has he or she had it? Does he or she have emergency savings? Someone who’s had a stable job for years and who has a savings account is likely to be reliable when the first of the month comes around. If your potential new roommate unexpectedly loses his or her job, he or she will have the money to get through to the end of the lease without owing you. This is the best-case scenario and you should look for someone with these credentials.


Ask how he or she wants to divide chores. A lack of interest may indicate he or she is messy. Find out his or her opinion on doing dishes and keeping common areas clean. Your next roommate should respect the places in the apartment you both use.


Is one of you an introvert and the other an extrovert? This can work if you respect each another’s preferences. If you’re the same, you’ll probably get along swimmingly.


Your roommate may have his or her significant other over every night, or may want to host parties every weekend. If this doesn’t work for you, neither will rooming together. You should make your preferences known as well. See if you can find a way to make your lifestyles meld. This will involve compromise. If you can’t reach common ground, you should keep looking.


Does this person have allergies? If you love peanut butter and your roomie is hyperallergic, you might not fit. Or you could keep the peanut butter in your room and remember to avoid eating it when he or she is around. If you’re not a smoker and the person you are interviewing likes to have a cigarette inside, that could be a problem.


Create a messy to neat scale and rate yourselves on it. This will give you good insight into how cleaning will go. If your potential roommate is a five on the clean side and you’re a one, he or she will probably end up mad at you a majority of the time. That’s definitely not a harmonious way to live.

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