Best Roommate Questions To Ask, Before Moving In Together




best roommate questions
Photo by Simone Secci on Unsplash

Getting to know a new roommate can be tough, especially when you are not good at naturally conversing with people you don’t know.

To help make things easier for you, I want to share a list of the best roommate questions I’ve used over the years to make breaking the ice with a potential roommate easy.

As you review the questions below, you won’t need to use every single one, instead, just cherry-pick the questions most relevant to your situation.

In fact, I highly recommend you make up your own questions to ask your roommate as well. Creating your own questions will help satisfy your curiosity for your new potential roommate, which is important because you will be the one spending a lot of time with them, as roommates.

One more thing I want you to consider when talking to your new potential roommate.

If you want to create a setting that is relaxed, personal, and does not feel like a job interview where everyone is nervous, try to use your question in a statement, rather than a straight up question that needs a particular answer.

For example, instead of point-blank asking a question like “Can you pass a background check?” Mix that into your conversation like this:

“So I’ve been noticing that a lot of landlords are running background checks when I’ve submitted rental applications in the past. I was unaware they had to do that until recently, have you noticed the same? I also found that if the landlord does not see something they like, they’ll disqualify your application. Luckily, I’ve not had that problem.”

At this point, you’ve brought up the idea of background checks in a friendly casual conversation, and you’ve shared that you will have no issue passing one, now, it’s time to see how your new potential roommate acts. If they abruptly change the topic or don’t respond with an answer, you have a right to be suspicious, etc. And if that is the case, you might just want to ask them directly, so you can get an answer.

My point is, try and keep your questions in the form of a casual conversation and not a job interview, this will help bring out the personality of your potential roommate, because you need to evaluate that as well, to make sure you are compatible, etc.

OK, enough about talking about conversation, please review the questions below and feel free to change any of the examples below, to fit your needs. I encourage you to copy and paste them into a separate Word document, to use later.

Quick tip before you start reviewing the questions below:

Before you ask a potential roommate a question, answer it yourself beforehand. That will make it much, much easier to look for the answers you want to hear so you can better match up with a new housemate. And if you decide you want to ask the question in a non-direct way, it will be easy to share your experience with that question in a conversational way, and then get a response from the other person.

Related article: How To Write a Roommate Agreement

Mandatory Roommate Screening Questions (finances, work, showing up on time, references, pet peeves, etc.)

When it comes to the most important kinds of questions to ask a new potential roommate, the financial and work ones are absolutely necessary to ask. In addition, you also want to ask about their references, previous landlords, and any deal breakers they might have for living with a roommate.

  • What time can you meet up for an appointment? (if someone flakes, don’t give them a second chance, just move on.)
  • What would a previous landlord say about you if I asked or called them?
  • Any recent financial difficulties paying the rent at your current place?
  • What kind of budget do you have and what is the maximum you can afford for your share of the rent? (Don’t forget to include utilities.)
  • Can you provide reliable references? (get references from friends, family, old landlords, and their current landlord.)
  • How do you make money to pay the rent? (job, side hustle, freelance work.)
  • Can you pass a background check? (if they can’t, this should raise a BIG RED flag!)
  • What are your pet peeves or deal breakers for having a roommate?

College Student Roommate Screening Questions

The college lifestyle is much, much different than a working professional one. Class schedules and views on partying are probably the biggest things to look out for. Consider the following questions for living with a college roommate.

  • Will you have fellow classmates over for study time?
  • How do you feel about scheduled quiet time for studying?
  • Are you a big partier? How often would large groups of friends come over?
  • Do you think underage drinking is OK?
  • How often would your significant other spend the night?
  • How is your class schedule? Is it more morning or afternoon classes?

Living Space Roommate Screening Questions

It’s best to know ahead of time what type of living space and arrangements you want. Knowing how many people you want to live with is a must. Also, do you really want to live with kids, a couple, or share a bathroom with someone? Think about that carefully!

  • How big of a living space do you need to be comfy? (How many bedrooms, bathrooms, etc.)
  • Do you absolutely need to have the master bedroom?
  • Do you have pets? Are they indoor or outdoor?
  • How do you feel about sharing things around the house, like the furniture and appliances?
  • What indoor temp do you like the best?
  • Can you share a bathroom? Or do you absolutely need your own for privacy?
  • What type of living arrangement do you want? For this question talk about if you can live with kids, a member of the opposite sex, someone younger or older, and a couple, etc. 

General Roommate Screening Questions (about Lifestyle, Fun, and anything else important, etc.)

The below questions will fit most roommate situations. Whether for college, working, or sharing a place with a friend. These questions will apply to every roommate’s living situation.

  • What’s your typical schedule? Are things stacked more in the morning, afternoon, or night? What time do you generally go to work and get home?
  • Do you enjoy your job or career?
  • Do you smoke or are you offended by smoking?
  • How close to work do you need to be? (To avoid a long commute.)
  • Any food restrictions or allergies?
  • Are you actively dating anyone?
  • Is this going to be your first roommate situation?
  • Do you work from home?
  • Do you have friends who come over often? What about having out-of-town guests?
  • How much do you cook vs. going out?
  • What are your absolute deal breakers?
  • Do you enjoy traveling, if so how often?
  • Do you have any bad habits I should know about?
  • What are your biggest stressors in life?
  • How do you prioritize cleanliness, play, work, or rest?
  • Are you okay with a cleaning schedule or would you prefer to clean as needed?
  • What are your hobbies and interests?
  • Do you prefer a quiet living environment or a more social one?
  • How long do you plan to stay in this living arrangement?
  • Are there any significant life changes you anticipate in the near future (e.g., job change, relationship changes)?
  • How do you feel about sharing some of the grocery expenses?
  • How do you handle security for the place you live at?
  • Can you share a story about how you resolved a conflict with a previous roommate?

Final Thoughts

I think the most important takeaway for asking roommate screening questions is to remember one thing!

The other person you are interviewing to be your new roommate is another human, so treat them with respect and be as forefront and honest as possible with them, in a very peaceful manner.

But, know when to keep quiet about something.

If there is something you don’t like about someone, and they might take offense to it, then it’s best to be reserved and not say anything at all. Just move on to the next topic of conversation.

There’s a good chance you already know it’s not going to work out. So why cause unnecessary conflict? Cut your interactions with them short, and move on to someone new, don’t waste any unnecessary time.

Thanks for reading my list of best roommate questions, I’ll add to the list if I can think of any new ones to ask down the road.


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