What to Discuss With Your Potential Roommate Before Moving in Together

questions to ask your potential roommate

Maybe you’ve already talked to potential roommates about the basics like their work schedules, preferences, and interests. But before signing a lease and actually living together, you’ll want to talk about some deeper topics to make sure you’re the right match for each other.

Even if you’re best friends or coworkers, keep in mind that sharing a place is a completely different ballgame, and that’s where a roommate interview can save the day.

Here are some things to discuss with your potential roommate before moving in together.

What Does Your Daily Life Look Like?

You’ll want to get to know your prospective roommate’s daily routine and lifestyle before taking the next step. Start by asking them when they usually wake up, go to work, get home, and go to bed. In addition, ask if they have any designated quiet hours or alone time so you can avoid disrupting them. This question is especially important if you’re sharing a bathroom or if you’re both light sleepers.

Make sure to walk them through your daily routine and sleeping schedule so you can set clear boundaries with each other and establish common ground.

How Will We Split Up Cleaning Chores?

This question might sound pretty straightforward, but it’s essential to hold each other responsible for household chores and establish these rituals early on.

Will you take turns cleaning the place, washing the dishes, and doing the laundry? Or will you each be responsible for your own messes? Don’t be afraid to get specific about your cleaning habits, and make a cleaning schedule to stay on track if needed.

How Will We Handle Financial Obligations?

Managing rent, utility bills, and a security deposit can be stressful, so you’ll want to start your new relationship with a clear understanding of your obligations. Before you move in, sit down and talk about how you’ll each pay the bills, who will be responsible for paying them, and whether you’re splitting the bills evenly.

Here, be sure to create a timeline for payments. For example, if you’re paying the full rent on the first of each month out of your checking account, consider how soon you’ll need your roommate to pay you back.

How Often Do You Have People Over?

For some roommates, inviting some friends over for a late-night movie might be completely fine, but others might prefer their downtime. Talk about your entertainment preferences and social habits early on to avoid confrontations and disagreements down the line.

Decide whether you and your roommate will need some kind of warning when people will come over or if you’re having overnight guests, and what this expected timeline will look like. If you love throwing spontaneous get-togethers but your roommate loves planning ahead, it’s probably not the best match.

Do You Have Any References?

References can make all the difference in your roommate decision. Letters from past roommates, as well as friends, coworkers, or even family members, can help you learn more about your potential roommate and what your living arrangement will look like.

To take a deep dive into their background, enter their details on Nuwber. This way, you’ll be able to check out their background information such as past locations (including the names and contacts of people who lived there before) and criminal records to paint a detailed picture of who they are.

What Are Your Pet Peeves?

find out about your roommate's pet peeves

It can feel uncomfortable to talk about each other’s pet peeves and roommate deal-breakers. But if dirty dishes in the sink leave you seething with rage, you’ll need to be upfront about it before you move in with your future roommate.

At the same time, try to be considerate about their pet peeves. Remember: a healthy roommate relationship — built on mutual respect and open communication — will make your apartment or dorm room a more comfortable place for everyone.

What Are Your Dietary Preferences?

Whether you’re sharing meals with each other, splitting groceries, or just cooking together in the kitchen, it’s important to know each other’s dietary preferences. For example, if your roommate has gluten sensitivity, you’ll want to take steps to avoid exposing them to gluten when you’re cooking and shopping for groceries.

For the best results, you’ll want to set clear expectations with your prospective roommate, especially if you’re sharing a small space.

Will We Share Personal Items?

While some people tend to share common household items like toilet paper, condiments, and paper towels with their roommates, everyone has their own preferences, and it’s important to set boundaries around this to avoid making a big deal out of it later on.

If there are any items in your dorm or personal space that you prefer not to share, set ground rules and let your roommate know so you’re both on the same page.

What’s Your Worst Habit?

If you already know your worst habit, don’t be afraid to share it with your potential roomie. Chances are, they’re going to figure it out sooner or later. Maybe you’re a night owl who makes a lot of noise in the kitchen at midnight or have a hard time cleaning up after yourself when it comes to shared spaces.

If you’re not sure what it is, consider reaching out to previous roommates or your best friend. This way, you’ll have the opportunity to work on new habits.

How Do You Feel About Pets?

If you or your potential roommate already has a pet, check in with each other’s preferences when it comes to letting the pet roam around your living space. Is your roommate allergic to any pets? Are they comfortable watching over your pet if you’re on vacation?

If you don’t have a pet but are thinking about getting one, this is the time to mention it.

What’s Your Confrontation Style?

There’s nothing worse than a passive-aggressive roommate. So, before moving in together, make sure you’re compatible with their confrontation and communication styles.

Are they someone who prefers being direct? Or do they expect you to take care of potential issues without asking you to solve them? If one of you likes avoiding conflict but the other doesn’t, it’s probably time to consider someone different.

Take the Next Step With Confidence

get to know your roommate better before moving in together

With rent prices soaring, more people are searching for roommates than ever before. Whether you’re looking to share your college dorm, rent out a spare room in your apartment, or move into a house with a roomie, it’s always paramount to do your research before deciding to live together.

At the end of the day, there’s nothing wrong with asking your roommate questions to understand their lifestyle, preferences, and communication style. Throughout the interview process, remember to always communicate openly, and don’t be afraid to push back if you’re feeling uncomfortable.

FAQ

What is the roommate situation like in the United States?

In the United States, 18% of people share a space with at least one roommate who isn’t a family member.

Even older adults — nearly 1 million people — have roommates, as buying a house or renting by yourself isn’t something everyone can afford.

Should roommates share similar interests?

Although common interests and hobbies can help you bond and create a deeper relationship with your prospective roommate, it’s not necessary to share interests. As long as you respect each other and communicate about your living situation, you can maintain a healthy relationship.

How do I set up a roommate interview?

Try asking friends and family members for recommendations or using social media to find roommates. From there, set up an interview at a public place, like a coffee shop or local park, to determine if they’re the right roommate for you. Ask for references you can call or email to find more about the person’s habits and background.

What are the best questions to ask potential roommates?

Always ask about their daily schedule, planned move-in date, and communication style so you can make an informed decision about your future arrangement. If you’re vetting potential college roommates, you might also want to ask about their study habits, classes schedule, and what their college life typically looks like.

Don’t be afraid to ask a potential roommate any additional questions to figure out whether you’ll make a good match.

Should I choose a roommate with the same schedule as me?

It depends. If you’re a person who enjoys quiet time, choosing someone with a nearly opposite schedule might be the best choice. For example, if you’re an early bird, you might choose a roommate who tends to stay up late. This way, you’ll be able to have more free time in your living space without worrying about potential disruptions.

Eugene Kirdzei
Eugene Kirdzei

Chief Technical Officer at Nuwber
With nearly two decades of experience in the IT industry, Eugene possesses comprehensive knowledge across his professional field, including in data management, data protection, and information search. Through his writing, he aims to provide valuable insights and practical advice on how to safely explore the online environment and leverage digital tools to enhance people’s lives.