Trying to find a roommate while navigating coming to a whole new country can be daunting. If you’re a student, that adds another layer as you’ll need certain considerations such as quiet time when you need to study. 

There are definitely questions to ask and discussions to be had before you share a living space with someone. Here are some good things to ask your potential roommate to see if you’re a good match. 

1. Have You Ever Lived with a Roommate Before? 

This is an important question to ask to ensure your potential roomie is someone that you will get along with and be able to share a living space with. 

2. Do You Have a Secure Job and Do You Have Emergency Savings to Help You Pay the Bills if Something Happens to Your Job? 

These are all very important questions to ask the potential roommate. It’s imperative to have a roommate with an income that’s secure and money set aside in savings in case of an emergency. So, if something were to happen, they wouldn’t leave you scrambling to pay all of the bills by yourself.  

3. How Much is Your Current Rent? 

This is also something you need to consider for yourself. If your rent will be more in the new location than where you live now, you need to take that into consideration. If you paid your rent for one month and then needed to buy something or an emergency happened, could you afford to do it with the higher rent payment? 

4. How Do You Want to Split Utility Costs like Water, Electric, and Rent Every Month? 

It’s super important to get these things figured out before roommates move in together for a couple of different reasons. One reason is to make sure that everything will be paid on time. The other reason is that it can help to prevent fighting with roommates over money issues. It’s definitely better to have it figured out before moving in together, so you know what to expect. 

5. How are We Going to Split Chores? Do We have Set Chores or a Rotating Schedule? 

Keeping a clean and tidy house helps in so many ways. If you don’t clean regularly, problems will arise. A good idea regarding this is to make a list each week of who is doing what chore. Change it weekly, monthly, or however you feel works best for you both. 

6. What is Your Privacy Policy Regarding Guests? 

You both should have an agreement as to whether it’s ok to have guests if one person is on a video call, working from home, studying with a group, hosting a dinner party, etc. Make note of the days and times when guests are welcome as well as when you need quiet time. 

7. When Do You Prefer Everyone Wind Down for the Night? 

Time to wind down and relax is important. Make sure that you’re on the same page about what that means and what’s acceptable and not acceptable regarding when people are trying to relax or prepare for bed. 

8. Do You Have Any Allergies? 

This is a super important question to ask anyone living in the house. Make sure you have a list of everyone’s allergies posted somewhere for quick access. Allergies can be mild to severe and even life-threatening. If you, or your roommate use an epi-pen, make sure you both know where it is and how to use it. 

9. What About Pets? 

If either of you has allergies to pets, that needs to be taken into consideration first. Aside from that, you need to know if you or your roommates has a pet and how the other feels about that. Or, if you plan on having pets in the future. What are the expectations of caring for the pet if the main pet owner isn’t around? What type of pets are acceptable? Will the owner take responsibility for any extra housing expenses or damages the pet causes? It would be best to get this agreement in writing for protection. 

10. Do You Drink or Smoke or Do You Mind if I Drink or Smoke/Vape? 

It’s important to ask because a lot of people won’t live with smokers. If smoking isn’t a deal-breaker, have an agreement on what areas are allowed for smoking and which areas are off-limits. If neither of you smoke, you may want to have a policy for guests to have a designated area outside for smoking. 
Drinking is something that can vary between people of any age. You may want to know how frequently, as well as how much, your roommate drinks. Are you ok with someone who drinks a six-pack a night, or would you prefer to live with social-only drinkers, or have a no-alcohol in the house policy? 

Contact Us 

It’s important to interview someone you’re considering as your roommate. There are just a few questions to consider asking before making a commitment. If you’re a student in the Chicago or Boston area, CSI has a list of housing resources for you.