A new roommate is both an exciting and nerve-wracking thing to have—but a necessary one. As you most likely know, having roommates allows people to afford apartments with amenities, sizes or locations they could otherwise never afford since each roommate is paying a share of the rent and bills. The only catch is that you have to live with someone else—usually a stranger. So before this person moves into your apartment with you, sharing your personal space and responsibility for paying the month-to-month bills, the questions listed below are important to ask them.
Where Do You Work?
A roommate with a steady job is critical to being able to move into your apartment. They’ll need to pay rent and bills on a monthly basis, so if there is no regular income, they will basically become a squatter who you’ll ultimately be forced to remove on your own (a process which is never enjoyable). A steady job entails one that pays on a regular basis, in an office or at a business that is established. Working freelance jobs or in industries where the work is not steady (see artist or musician) can make the prospective roommate a more risky bet. Obviously, you will want your new roommate to sign a lease of some kind—if they don’t have the most reliable income stream, make sure to have a parent or guardian co-sign.
Where Are You From? What’s Your Story?
Arguably a more critical factor than your prospective roommate having a steady job, is your prospective roommate being an adjusted, friendly and easy-going human being. You can have someone who pays all their share of the bills in full every month but is a total nightmare to spend time around. It’s nearly as bad as having no roommate to share the cost of the apartment with at all. So when you are interviewing prospective roommates, really get to know them. Ask where they are from and how they got to where they are now. Just have a normal conversation with them and gauge their responses. Make sure it’s not a brief interview and they do a decent amount of talking so you can get a sense of their personalities. Remember, you are going to be sharing your home with this person and you will be around them at times when you are not at work and are trying to relax.
What Do You like to Do in Your Free Time?
See what they like to do for fun. Not only will you get a better sense of who they are and their personalities in general, but you will also get a sense of who their friends may be (who might be spending time in your apartment on a regular basis) and what they will be like when they are not working. While what your roommate does in their free time is their business, loving sports and video games means they will most likely be taking up a lot of time and space on the couch in front of the television, or in their room. Which may not necessarily be a bad thing, but it’s an important detail to gauge about your new household when you are living with that person.
And Just to Be Sure…
You might want to do a background check. This isn’t to make you paranoid when trying to find a new roommate because most of them will be truthful when you sit down. They probably want a comfortable and friendly living situation as much as you do. That said, people do tend to lie. So spend a little bit of money if you want to be one hundred percent sure and do a background and credit check on them. This will at least back up many of the things they have told you about themselves, show you whether they have a criminal record or a boatload of debt that may cause them to flee your apartment unexpectedly and leave you without a full month’s rent.