Let’s take it back to your worst ex-roommate. Maybe they liked to play heavy metal music at 3 am, or left dishes out until they molded, or seemingly never left the apartment. If you think hard enough, you can probably think up a few questions you should’ve asked them, which would’ve given you hints that they weren’t the best person to share space with. Often, guessing someone’s worst habits can be close to impossible.
While we can’t be your magical roommate matchmaker, we can help you out by giving you the ten most important questions to ask a potential roommate. Just make sure to ask yourself these questions, too. The only thing more awkward than having an awful roommate is being the awful roommate. Here’s to hoping your latest awful roommate was your last:
10 Questions to Ask So You Don’t Hate Your Next Roommate
On a scale of 1 to 10, how clean are you?
If you’re closer to 10, you know how much a few dishes out of place can bother you. If you’re closer to 1, you know how much a nagging a roommate can ruin your relationship. Make sure you stand near each other on the scale (and that you’re being honest when you scale yourself).
How often should I expect to see your partner (or other romantic interests), or you around the apartment?
If you’re comfortable with strangers in your apartment at any given time (and the noise that often accompanies that), you can skip this one. But for the rest of you who aren’t thrilled with that possibility, you need to ask this question. Many partners who’ve been together for a long time are over so often that they’re practically an additional roommate, so if it sounds like this person is someone you’ll be seeing a lot, you may want to meet them, too.
Do you have a stable job? (Or, if you want to be more direct: will you be able to pay rent every month?)
At some point in all of our lives, we’ll miss a month’s rent. But missing one month is different than missing every other month. Ask what this person does for a living, if their job is seasonal or temporary, and if they have backup money in case they need to use it.
When are you usually at home?
If you can’t sleep knowing your roommate hasn’t made it home yet, you probably shouldn’t live with someone who regularly rolls in at four in the morning. But if you’re the type who needs alone time, that might be the perfect roommate for you.
What do you like to do in your time off work?
Obviously, if they say, “I host keggers nightly,” run away. But even if they say, “I like painting,” you might want to think up some follow up questions: do they clean up after themselves immediately? Do they put down a tarp? Will you be bothered if it gets on your prized Pottery Barn couch? There’s always more to a hobby than just the hobby itself.
Do you believe dirty dishes need to be washed immediately?
Wars have been fought over dirty dishes. Find out which side you’re on – and make sure your potential roommate is on the same one.
Do you have any allergies?
If you love peanut butter, you probably don’t want to live with someone who can die just from breathing in the scent of nuts. And this goes doubly for pets: know before you move in if they’re allergic to any furry friends you’ve considered bringing home.
Tell me about your worst roommate ever.
We’ve already established that we’ve all had a bad roommate (and if you haven’t, you probably are the bad roommate), but digging into what made them so awful gives you insight into your potential roommate’s pet peeves without asking them directly (which will often get you a dishonest answer anyway).
And finally, do you want a roommate who’s also your friend?
For some, a roommate who you only speak to about chores and rent is ideal. For others, a roommate who will eat Ben & Jerry’s with them while binge watching Scandal once a week is what they really want. Figure out what your “type” is and everyone will be happier after move-in.
Finding the perfect roommate is the first step. The next step is finding the perfect crew to help you move. Dolly’s got your back for apartment moves and so much more.
Miranda is the Marketing Coordinator at Dolly. She’s moved nine times in the past six years, and while she’s grateful for the moving expertise, she’s hoping she doesn’t need to move a tenth time anytime soon.