Avoiding the Ax-Murderer: Questions for Interviewing a Prospective Roommate

So they look great on (Craigslist) paper — how do you know if someone is really going to be a good roommate for you? Here are our suggestions for what to ask before you move in…

1. What do you do for a living?

This is basic information you should know. It will also tell you something about the financial stability of a person.

2. What’s your day-to-day schedule like?

If a person regularly stays out til 3 a.m. and you’re a light sleeper, you might not be the best housemates. If you both try to take hour-long showers between 6 and 7 a.m., ditto. Definitely ask about sleep schedules.

3. What are you looking for in an apartment—short-term? Long-term? Sub-letting or signing the lease?

You want to be on the same page about the logistical expectations of renting together. Make sure that the person is willing to sign on to whatever agreement you already have set up.

4. What are you looking for in potential housemates?

If someone is looking for best friends and you’re a hermit…well. Figure out what role you’d be willing to play in someone’s life before asking this question.

5. What kinds of things would you like to share—furniture? Internet? Food?

Insert whatever amenities you want to share—or not. You don’t have to agree on all things from the interview; these things can be worked out and compromised upon. But if you have diametrically opposed ideas about sharing with housemates, it’s good to know that upfront.

6. What’s your social life like? Will you have overnight guests?

Does the person want to have tons of parties, even dinner parties—and would that be okay with you? I personally have been fairly offended by one person suggesting that because I had a boyfriend, I’d be brining a “second roommate” along with me. But his attitude and mine were so different that it’s probably good we had that conversation and decided not to live together.

7. How often are you home/how do you like to relax?

Of course your roomies should feel comfortable in their own home. But it can be irritating if they’re on the couch every moment of every evening. Especially if YOU want to be on the couch!

8. What kinds of living situations/roommates have you had in the past, and how did that go?

You never know what this could turn up. It’s worth knowing whether a person has lived with others, at the very least.

9. Do you smoke?

‘Nuff said.

10. How neat do you consider yourself? How often do you clean?

Weigh this against what you know about yourself, and how you’d like your living space to be run.

11. Do you have references?

You might want to check these!

What’s on your essential info list when choosing a new roommate? Tell us here or on Facebook!

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