Questions to Ask Your Roommate Before Moving In

Cohabitation is tricky. Whether you are moving into a room you found online, are signing a lease with a friend, or are getting a new place with a significant other for the first time, there is a lot to consider. Living with another person is a minefield, so make sure you sit down and have an honest conversation with your future roomie before you sign a lease.


1. Conflicting Schedules May Make for a Conflict Free Apartment

Are you an early bird or a night owl? Do you practically live at the office or do you freelance full time from home? These are just a few things to consider when choosing a roommate. But don't write off someone just because they keep different hours from you; with shared housing, opposite schedules could actually be a match made in heaven. If you work from home, you will be much more productive if your roommate spends the bulk of the day at the office. And a morning person will love to have the kitchen to themselves at 6 am while their roommate sleeps in. No matter how much we love our roommates, in tight quarters, a bit of solitude is always appreciated. When square footage is limited, contrasting schedules can help you feel like you have more space than you actually do.

Opposites don't attract in every situation however. Compatibility will also depend on your individual personalities and apartment set up. The early bird may resent a roommate blasting a horror movie on the other side of a shared bedroom wall at midnight. And if they are a light sleeper, the night owl may turn into a morning monster when they are brutally awakened at 6:30 am by the coffee grinder.

2. Setting Expectations

You can be awesome roommates without being friends, but you can also be best friends and great roommates. Figuring out what camp you fall into ahead of time can avoid a lot of tension down the road.

Have a frank conversation about your expectation of this relationship. Do you want to spend the evenings hanging out together, or do you see home as a place for you to unwind by yourself? What level of communal living are you comfortable with? Will you share groceries, or should each roommate label their own stick of butter? Are you pooling your dishware or are certain mugs off limits? Do you want to eat dinner together or is it every person for themselves?

This can be especially tricky to navigate if you are already friends before you move in. If you have expectations that you will regularly catch up at the end of the day, or if you just really need some space, be honest from the start. Being upfront about your expectations about your relationship can save you a lot of awkwardness and hurt feelings down the line.

3. Guidelines for Guests

Another sticky point to iron out before moving in is your guest policy. You are signing a lease with your roommate, not with their boyfriend or girlfriend, so be sure to discuss how often their significant other will be over. You don't want to end up with an unofficial extra roommate who isn't paying rent. It is also important to establish a policy about other kinds of guests. Think about how much forewarning you want before they bring friends back to your apartment, and how long you are comfortable hosting houseguests for.

4. Choose Your Battles Ahead of Time

Pick three deal breakers and lay them out before you move in. It is unreasonable to expect your roommate to be perfectly tidy, but if they know how to avoid your sore points, it will go a long way in keeping the peace. You only get three things to make a big deal about, so choose carefully. Do dishes in the sink drive you crazy? Do you hate a cluttered kitchen table? Do you need a completely hairless drain every time you step into the shower? Tell your future roomie so they know it's important to you. They are your roommate, not a mind reader, and they may not even know that their dirty frying pan is driving you up the wall.


While an open and honest conversation can help you figure out if you will be compatible roommates, and create clear communication before move in, most of the grunt work of cohabitation happens in the moment. Being a good roommate is about being considerate, and forgiving. Be as respectful and courteous as you can, and let minor transgressions slide. Hopefully, they will do the same for you.

If you feel like you are doing fifty percent of the work, you aren't, you are doing less. Go above and beyond what you think is expected of you, and accept that that is simply your fair share. You probably aren't seeing the invisible labor your roommate is doing around the apartment either.

If you think you and your future roomie are a match made in heaven, start hunting for a new pad. Check out our apartment listings to find the perfect place for you and your new roommate.

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