Finding the ideal roommate can be something of a tricky task. If you’ve ever wound up in a mismatched living situation you’ll understand just how awful it can be if you choose wrong, here. For that reason, asking potential housemates the right questions is pretty damn important.
Eric Yilmaz, CTO of Sorted Services, shared his suggestions of the kinds of questions you should be asking to get a clear sense of the person you’re thinking of moving in with – and hopefully avoid a damn awful living experience in the process.
4 questions you should ask potential roommates
1.Do you have previous sharehouse experience?
While it’s certainly not a ‘must’ that your new housemate has lived in a share house before, it’s always good to gauge what kind of living experiences they’ve had in the past, and how they navigated them.
Yilmaz explained that you should do your best to get a clear understanding of the way this person lives with others. Over email he stressed:
“Do you want to live with someone with heaps of experience in different types of living situations, or someone who has just moved out of home and has a clean, mouldable slate?”
“If it’s the former, it’s important to understand how many places they’ve lived at, the duration of their stay, and their relationship (or lack thereof) with their previous roommates. This will ultimately help you to work out what type of roommate they will be, if they are reliable and whether they will flake on you within a few months.”
This is also the time to check in on how topics like cleanliness went down in their former living environments. Were there often disagreements here? What is their understanding of how chores should be shared?
Were their relationships with roommates or family strained? That should be considered a red flag, Yilmaz said.
2. What do you do for a living?
Mostly, you want to get an understanding of the regularity of their pay and whether they can afford to pay the rent each month.
But work schedules are also important to get a good understanding of.
“While their schedule doesn’t necessarily need to be identical to your own, you need to be cautious of how their schedule aligns and whether it will cause issues down the line,” Yilmaz said.
“For example, if you both work from home, the constant battle for quiet during Zoom calls might be frustrating, or if your roommate works at a nightclub and you’re a barista, you might find it annoying that they come crashing home at 4:00 am and you need to get up at 6:00 am.
“If you’re sharing a bathroom, it’s also a good way to determine if you’ll be fighting for space or on different plains of time.”
3. Do you have a partner or pets?
Get clear on how the space will be shared and what you’re comfortable with here.
If your potential roommate is expecting to have their partner over a number of times per week, you’ll need to decide if that’s something you’re okay with. The same goes for pets.
“Best to rule these out at the get-go to be able to create a living environment that you both feel comfortable in,” Yilmaz explained.
4. How do you spend your free time?
You don’t need to dive too deep into your potential roommate’s private life, obviously, but it’s worth getting an understanding of the kind of person they are outside of work.
“If you’re a quiet personality type, the last thing you want is a roommate who always has their friends staying over interrupting your rest and invading your space,” Yilmaz said.
“On the other hand, you may be able to build an exciting new friendship if your hobbies align.”
In the end, you want to be upfront about your expectations and create a safe space for your potential roommate to share theirs. That way, any major hurdles can be addressed upfront and you’ll likely avoid a train wreck living experience in doing so.
Want to keep reading about rental experiences? Check out this write up on the mistakes to avoid if you want to keep your bond.