Good Questions to Ask Your Potential Roommate

By Alyssa Laffitte 

Choosing a roommate can be a daunting process, since you will be dealing with this person daily for a whole year! However, if you ask your potential roommates the right questions, you will learn if you will be compatible as roommates. Here are good questions to ask potential roommates.


What is your sleep schedule like?

 Many conflicts between roommates are due to differing sleep schedules, so it is definitely a factor you should consider when deciding on a roommate. It can be a big problem if your roommate stays up watching TV or listening to music on full blast when you are scheduled to work at 5AM the next morning. If you can, try to pick someone who has a similar sleep schedule as you. Of course, differing sleep schedules does not mean your roommate relationship is doomed; it just means you must learn to work with each other. You might have to start being extra quiet as you get ready in the morning or use only a lamp for illumination late at night. Your roommate should do the same for you. Learn each other’s sleep schedules and create a system that allows you to be respectful of each other’s sleep.

Are you a tidy person?

Another factor you should consider when choosing a roommate is their level of cleanliness. You will not be happy in your living situation if you are a neat freak living with someone who doesn’t prioritize organization (and vice versa). Make sure you and your roommate come to an agreement with how you two will clean the place, including how often it will be cleaned, and who should do each chore.

Are there any chores you absolutely hate doing? What chores are you okay with doing?

Continuing off the next point, you should consider dividing up the chores between you two. A good way to start this would be to ask about which chores they prefer doing, and which they would prefer not to do. If you are lucky, they might hate the chores you don’t mind doing and vice versa. For example, you don’t mind vacuuming the floors, while your roommate doesn’t mind doing the dishes; you can divide the chores that way.

Do you like to hang out in the apartment a lot, or only come home to sleep?

Before choosing a roommate, it’s important to know how often they plan to be in the apartment. Everyone appreciates some alone time in their place, even if they live with roommates. If your potential roommate says they like to be home ALL the time, you might need to make some arrangements so you both can get alone time in the room. On the other extreme, they might only want to come home to sleep. But more likely, they will be somewhere in between.

Do you plan on having many people over, hosting parties, or other social gatherings in the apartment?

You should know how your roommate envisions using your shared space. You don’t want to be surprised when they start throwing parties all the time, or if your roommate never wants to have people over. Throwing parties (or not) is fine, just double check that you and your roommate are on the same page about it. In other words, you and your roommate should have the same ideas for how you want to use the space.

 Do you plan on having many overnight guests over? What about overnight guests of the opposite gender?

Especially if your potential new roommate has a significant other, you should definitely discuss overnight guests (and specifically, overnight guests of the opposite gender). This also applies if your roommate plans to have out-of-state friends or family visiting often. Come to an agreement on this like:

●       How long are overnight guests allowed to stay over? One day? Three days? A week?

●       How far in advance should the other roommate be warned about an overnight guest?

●       Do these policies change if the guest is of the opposite gender?

What items can we share? Are there any conditions for sharing? What items are off-limits?

One thing that should be extremely transparent between you and your roommate are the rules on sharing items. There are many things you will obviously share, like the TV. You might only share these big things, and that’s okay! However, if you and your roommate are friendly with each other, you might be willing to share smaller things, like clothes, a hair straightener, or even food. If you decide to share, are there any conditions? (For example, should clothes be washed and folded before they are returned? Should the hair straightener be put away exactly as it was found?) On the other hand, discuss the items that are off-limits. Setting these boundaries will prevent many headaches!

Of course, asking these questions and getting the answers you want doesn’t guarantee a perfect roommate relationship. However, the answers to these questions will give you a better idea of your life with your new roommate.

Interested in using our roommate matching formula to find the perfect college roommate for you? Create a profile & take the roommate quiz on Roomsurf! Get Started