33 Smart Questions to Ask Potential Roommates

Protect your peace by knowing which questions to ask potential roommates and how to whip them out in conversation.

Published February 23, 2024
Two young girls talking to each other

Filling a roommate vacancy isn’t a decision you should take lightly. All those roommates from hell stories prove that being thorough in your search is the way to go. But if you’re new to this process, we’ve got a ton of great questions to ask potential roommates as well as advice for how you can conduct a winning interview to find the right one.

Responsibility Questions to Ask Potential Roommates

When you’re interviewing for a new roommate, it’s super important to figure out how responsible they are. Depending on your set-up, you might be held accountable for the rent if they don’t make their payments. Get a feeling for how reliable and responsible they are with these questions.

  • Do you currently have a job? And if so, how long have you been there?
  • What’s your current salary?
  • Have you ever missed paying rent before?
  • Have you ever been kicked out of a housing situation? If so, why?
  • How long were you in your last living situation?
  • Do you have your own car?
  • How long are you planning on staying here?
  • How quickly can you move in?

Compatibility Questions to Ask Potential Roommates

While your roommate doesn’t have to be your new best friend, you do need to be able to get along. If you’re in a band and practice your music, a roommate who likes things quiet might not mesh well. Thankfully, we’ve got a few compatibility questions to help you do a little roommate matchmaking on the down low.

  • Have you had roommates before?
  • What does your normal schedule look like?
  • Do you like pets? And/or do you have any pets?
  • Do you have any dietary restrictions?
  • How comfortable are you with strangers coming over?
  • Are you more of a morning or night person?
  • Are you comfortable with chore charts?

Personal Questions to Ask Potential Roommates

Now, we know that asking someone personal questions can be difficult. But you can’t let your fear of being impolite keep you from fully understanding the person who may be staying in close quarters with you. Feel free to use as many or as few of these questions when conducting your roommate interviews. Everyone’s comfort level is different, and so you might need to know less than someone else does.

  • Do you have a history of violence?
  • Have you ever been charged with anything?
  • Do you use recreational drugs?
  • Do you have anyone who might try to find this location to harass you?
  • Do you have any firearms?
  • Do you have any medical conditions that I might need to look out for/be conscious of (epilepsy, narcolepsy, etc.)?
  • Do you have any allergies?
  • Are there any religious customs you might be uncomfortable with others not following?

Related: 9 Ways to Uncomplicate Making Friends in Your 20s

Fun Questions to Get a Feel for a Potential Roommate’s Vibe

Not everything has to be super serious in a roommate interview! Peppering in those tough questions with some easier ones like these will make your potential roommate feel so much more at ease.

  • What’s the worst movie you’ve ever seen?
  • What’s your best friend like?
  • Which video always makes you laugh?
  • What’s the coolest thing that’s happened to you this week?
  • What’s your favorite dish to make?
  • How did you lose your first tooth?
  • What’s your favorite childhood memory?
  • Which accomplishment are you the proudest of?
  • If I gave you $100,000 right now, how would you spend it?
  • What’s that one thing you like to splurge on?

4 Tips for Interviewing Potential Roommates

Two young women sitting across each other talking

Interviewing anyone is hard work, especially when something like half of our space is on the line. Knowing what to ask someone doesn’t necessarily help you narrow it down. Make the best choice for you using our hard-earned guidance.

Be Honest From the Start

If you’re honest with the person you’re interviewing, maybe about how nervous you are or how difficult it has been finding someone, your potential roommate is more likely to be honest in kind. You’ve got to set the tone for the kind of conversation you want to have.

Warn Your Guest About Big Questions Before You Ask Them

It’s a great idea to lead into big, personal questions with some qualifiers instead of just jumping right in. Try things like, “Now this one’s a toughie, but I really need to know the answer.” Or something like, “Feel free to say no, but I’ve got some personal questions I need to go over with you.”

Ultimately, it’s their decision about whether they want to answer them. And the information (or lack thereof) that you get should get you closer to a decision.

Write Their Responses Down

Being a good listener is an awesome trait, but you don’t want to rely on it when you’re interviewing a potential roommate. Write the pertinent things down for all the people who you talk to so you and any other roommates you have can compare.

Use Examples to Help Guide Them Towards an Answer

Sometimes, people panic and can’t think of what to say. If you’re not getting much out of someone you’re talking to, start throwing out examples. For instance, if you ask what kind of routine they have and they blank, tell them a little bit about yours. These examples from your own life should help them not only answer your questions but also get a feel for if they think they’d be a good fit.

Ask and You Shall Receive

Finding a new roommate can feel like speed dating — and it may bear just as much fruit. But, the more questions you ask, the more sure you can feel about the decision you make. Kicking a roommate out isn’t as easy as it sounds, so you want to make the right choice from the beginning.

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33 Smart Questions to Ask Potential Roommates