Roommate selection

The roommate and I will be interviewing potential new roommates this week. The process is weird for us because most likely the roommate will be a stranger. I’ve never been through this process since the women I’ve lived with in the past were either assigned to me or were good friends who decided we should move to an apartment together. I’ve never had major roommate issues and would definitely like to avoid them.

Do any b.la readers have advice on things we should ask or look for in potential roommates that might not go in the “common sense” category?

14 Replies to “Roommate selection”

  1. You have to ask how many hours of television a person watches per week. A more gentle way could be to ask what their favorite television shows are–or can’t miss TV.

    It seems kind of random, but it will help inform you about the person’s lifestyle. How much time do they spend on the couch or will they be hanging out around the apartment. Especially, if the TV watching is done in shared spaces of the apartment.

    If you watch a lot of TV and so does the potential roommate, no problem… If you watch different shows you might have to negotiate. Most importantly, if you don’t watch much TV and the new roommate is a couch potato, there’s gonna be some conflict.

    On a rainy day like today I’d like to take a good book and read by the fire. My old roommate wouid like to stay in and watch Ricky Lake. Obviously a problem there…

    Good luck!

  2. Get references from either several roommates and landlords….not just the most recent, because it could be a friend or relative or someone who REALLY wants them to move out….do a credit check, but most importantly, trust your intuition..AND get 1st last and security.

  3. Both Jared and Tammara offer great questions. Try to feel out the hobbys and work. Granted alot of people are “artists” here so they keep odd hours. But I’ve been surprised by a bongo session early in the morning because “That’s how I unwind dude”. Plus find out if the person has a significant other. You’ll posbility be spending a lot time with that person as well. So be ready with your view on overnight guests. My last roommate seemed to have a new significant other every night. Which ment I had to fight for my own orange juice with a stranger in the morning.

  4. If you are concerned with keeping your place clean, make sure you ask about cleaning style, that’s been my biggest problem with my current roommate. Also, I think it’s actually better not to live with friends, so you are doing yourself a favor here. Good luck!

  5. Beware of “waitresses.” Some “dancers” use the waitress moniker to get what the need when they need it. Another word for “dancer?” Stripper.

  6. What political party do they belong to.
    Do they believe in doing the dishes right away or “letting them soak”
    Do they expect to bring overnight guests on a daily basis.

  7. If there’s any diplomatic way to ask it … how are they on moodswings? Are they pretty even in their temperament, or do they regularly turn into roommatezilla?

  8. Do they have a circle of friends? I’ve found that roommating works best when each person has a separate social life and doesn’t feel obligated to invite the others to social events —

  9. The best advice above is to check for references, although they’re rarely going to mention anyone who might speak badly.
    Also ask them about where they’ve lived, what sorts of problems they’ve had, and how they’ve handled it. Ask about problems with the buildings, the landlords, other tenants, and other roommates. You’ll get a sense of how much this person might complain about petty crap, and if they have enough common sense knowing how and when to deal with different events.

  10. If they’re in a relationship, find a way to gently gauge whether or not it’s volatile – ’cause you don’t want him or her banging on the door at all hours of the night. And try to get a sense for that person too, seeing as they’ll likely be spending time in your hom as well.

  11. i think it’s good to know if the person has her/his own dishes and cooking stuff. i had a roommate scratch the heck out of my skillet and wok with a fork. guess an iq test was in order as well. cooking habits, too. do they cook a lot of meals at home or eat out a lot? is your fridge going to be overrun with takeout boxes? i second the dishes thouht, too.

  12. jillian’s comments about “washing dishes right away or letting them soak” is dead on. I never realized what an anal prick I was until I lived with a total slob.

    Also ask frank questions about drug and alcohol use. When I was interviewing for roommates, I didn’t want to live with someone who couldn’t handle the whiff of marijuana once in a while, nor did I want to live with a heavy smoker or stoner. One time I was on the other end of the interview and it was clear that the interviewer was a recovering twelve-stepper. Good to know, it was information that helped me decide not to move in.

    Unless you’re going to be best buddies, the perfect roommate is one who is never there. I have a 9-5 and once I had a roommate who worked nights (actor/waiter) and knew how to clean up after himself. I’ve never had a better roommate.

  13. Are you still looking? I’m looking for a roommate situation, too.
    I’m 34, am painfully independant, don’t drive right now so I take the bus, have a small, tight coterie of friends, my best friend is a partially-employed Jewish attorney. Looking for something inexpensive. I’m VERY neat and clean, very frustrated with people who don’t even TRY to learn English, and I love to cook.
    Respond to me, if interested, at [email protected]

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