20 Questions You Should Always Ask When Interviewing a Potential Roommate

Living with a perfect stranger might not be your thing, but it does sound a little more glam than living off ramen for weeks while struggling to pay rent for an overpriced apartment. And while people have certainly lucked out with roommates before, not everyone's experience turns out like that hilarious episode of Friends (remember when Chandler almost lived with that other guy?!).

Before you go signing a lease with that girl you met on Craigslist, it's crucial to make sure there's a serious amount of common ground between you and the person you can potentially be living with for an extended period of time. Meet any serious candidate for coffee first, and ask them these questions so you can really make sure the two of you can coexist (and hopefully be friends!).

  1. How old are you? Don't be afraid to get right to the point. Unless you're in college, make sure the person you're considering is legally old enough to rent with you.
  2. Do you smoke? This can be a deal breaker right off the bat for nonsmokers — especially for those who have serious reactions to secondhand smoke or former smokers who are still struggling to quit.
  3. Do you have pets? Permitting the apartment or home has a policy that allows pets, it's important to know if (and how many) pets a future roommate has, and whether or not they can take full responsibility for them.
  4. What do you do for a living? What a potential roomie does gives you a little more information about who they are. Whether they work night or day shifts might also be a game changer.
  5. Do you attend school? A roommate who takes classes at a college or university (or some type of technical school) might have an unpredictable schedule that you may (or may not) be down with.
  6. Will you be working or studying from home? Yes, working remotely means you get to answer emails in your pajamas. But it also requires a lot of self-discipline and quiet time.
  7. What do you do for fun? If cuddling up with a good book is their idea of a good time, it could get in the way of your daily jam session (or vice versa).
  8. Do you mind having visitors? Chances are, you'll both have a visitor at some point in time. Be sure your future roommate doesn't mind people invading on their privacy too much, and what they consider to be overstaying a welcome as far as visitors go.
  9. Are you single or dating? Asking this question doesn't mean you're attracted to your potential roommate — it just allows you to predict their type of behavior in the future. If they're in a relationship, they may invite their partner over on a steady basis. If they're dating, they might continue a date at your place.
  10. What type of personality do you consider yourself to be? Is your future roommate an introvert or extrovert? Knowing what type they are can tell you if you're a good match.
  11. Do you drink? And if so, how often? No one's judging. It's just a good thing to keep track of, especially in comparison to how much you drink.
  12. How has it been living with roommates in the past? If a candidate seems a little too defensive after being asked this question — or has nothing but negative experiences with little self-awareness — it might be time to pass.
  13. Are you a homebody or do you go out more often than most? You might be the type of person who just loves to stay home, plain and simple. But that could be a big challenge if you live with a roommate who goes in and out of the apartment frequently.
  14. What does your ideal day look like? Asking someone to describe their perfect day is a great way to summarize someone's likes and dislikes in one answer.
  15. Can you pay rent on time? Let's be real: rent can be super expensive. And while inquiring about someone's ability to pay may feel awkward, you'll be depending on their half to afford your place, so ask away.
  16. When do you usually go to sleep? Chances are, a night owl and an early bird are probably not going to get along too well.
  17. Do you consider yourself to be a quiet or loud person? Yes, opposites can attract. But if your future roommate is a quiet person and you sometimes scare yourself with surprising volume, it may be something worth discussing before you sign lease papers.
  18. Can you provide references from past roommates? It works for jobs, so why not ask a candidate for references? Hearing from a former roommate of theirs can either be a huge red flag or really reassuring.
  19. How often do you have friends or significant others over? Someone who doesn't like having a ton of people around their living space might get pissed if you really enjoy having your boyfriend, girlfriend, or best friend by your side.
  20. What are some things that annoy you? A pet peeve of yours might be a normal habit for them. Find out now whether or not they'll drive you nuts later.