Being roommates with someone can be challenging! If you’re looking for a roommate to share your living expenses and make your apartment or home more affordable, it’s essential to find the right match for you. Look for someone who has a compatible lifestyle and who will respect your boundaries. Below are some things to discuss with a potential roommate before you move in together. 

1. Take a Note of Their Responsibility

Whether you plan to move in with a significant other, stranger, or friend, gauging their level of responsibility is critical. 

When you sign a lease with someone else, it binds you to that person, so you need to be sure they will hold up their end of the agreement. When a roommate stops paying bills or the rent, it can leave you in a serious financial situation. 

2. Ensure They Have Consistent Income 

Even if your potential roommate seems responsible, it’s also essential they have a steady income to afford the living expenses. 

Determine their ability to pay the rent and bills. Make sure they have a job, a solid record of consistent employment, or income.  If it seems like this living situation will be a stretch for them, consider looking for someone else.

3. Determine if Your Personality and Habits Mesh

In addition to the finances, you need to determine compatibility. 

Decide how well you get along with your potential roommate. Consider the following: 

  • Sleeping Habits – discuss when you go to bed, how lightly you sleep, when you wake up, and what you’re doing when you’re not sleeping. Although you and your roommate don’t have to have similar bedtimes to be happy living together, it’s essential to know if one of you engages in loud activities while the other is sleeping. 
  • Rules of Engagement – Will you two hang out together? When? How often? You don’t have to be friends with your roommate, but you should have this discussion to prevent any hurt feelings and arguments once you two move in. 
  • Do You Like Compatible Activities – Perhaps your potential roommate plays trumpet and spends their free time practicing – and you like to spend your time reading quietly. Unfortunately, these might not be compatible activities and could lead to arguments in the future. It’s important to discover these problems before moving in. Have a talk with your potential roommate about what you like to do in your free time, and prompt them to do the same.  

4. Agree on Food Sharing

Most likely, you and your roommate will be sharing the same fridge space – but you may not be buying all your food together or cooking all your meals together. Have a conversation with your potential roommate to discuss whether you’ll cook together at mealtime, whether you’ll buy food together, or keep your food (and the purchase of it) separate. Setting these expectations upfront can help you and your roommate to avoid future problems.  

5. Establish House Cleaning Preferences

In general, people who describe themselves as neat will not be happy living with people who only want to clean their home once a month. Discuss with your potential roommate how often you expect to clean your mutual space, your feelings about clutter, cleaning dishes, taking out the garbage, and so on.

If you will each have your separate bathrooms, you won’t have to worry much about who cleans the bathroom – but if the space you’re living in has only one bathroom between the two of you, this is another critical discussion to have. 

6. Communicate 

Living with a roommate that you don’t get along with can be a very challenging experience – one that you can avoid now while you’re choosing your roommate. Instead, communicate with the person that you’re considering living with.

Be honest about your expectations. Don’t trick yourself into thinking that you can live with a roommate that will make your preferred lifestyle impossible. Instead, find someone appropriate for you. If you’re considering the person as your roommate just doesn’t seem right for you, keep looking.

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