7 Things to Consider When Screening Potential Roommates

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Don't end up with this guy (above, reclining in a pile of trash). By asking the right questions—of yourself and your would-be roommates—you can ensure the best match possible and live happily ever after (or to the end of your lease). Consider this your new roommate questionnaire.


Take a good look at the way you spend your time and occupy your space. Some people like a more communal atmosphere at home, while others prefer keeping to themselves. Some people expect their roommates to be their friends, while others are looking for a business relationship. You want someone whose lifestyle and expectations are compatible with yours.


Some people throw raging parties every weekend. Some people smoke in the house. Some people use recreational drugs. Some people collect guns. If you’ve got a household ban on these things or any others, make that very clear to any aspiring roomies.


There’s a roommate out there for everyone. But if you’re a Felix, you should probably rule out all the Oscars, and vice versa (sorry friends, life isn't a sitcom). Being honest about how tidy (or untidy) you are will spare you a lot of resentment and passive-aggressive notes later on.


Do you like pets? Do you (or your building) allow them? Do you have a cat allergy? If there are pets in the equation, how much room do they need? How much noise do they make? Is it realistic to bring an animal into your home?


At bare minimum, a roommate should be able to pay their share of the rent. In the absence of a monocle and a bag of gold, a steady job is generally a good sign. But the work itself is worth discussing, too. Some people work a lot and are never home. Others work from home and rarely leave the house. Do either of those things sound like a nightmare? Figure it out before you start interviewing.


Whether you prefer your home to be a quiet refuge or a jamboree, it’s important to find someone else who likes it that way. A roommate with a drum set or no inside voice can chuck your serenity right out the window. By the same token, if you like a lively, bustling environment, a silent housemate might just be too creepy to bear.


Trust your gut. If you click with someone immediately but they don’t meet your criteria, take another look at your criteria. Is there any wiggle room? If something about a potential roomie bothers you but you can’t put your finger on it, abort. There are plenty of house-hunting fish in the sea.