I’m looking for off-campus housing. What questions should I ask potential roommates?

Living with roommates is a common practice during university. Here are some tips on how to prepare for a roommate interview.
Students moving boxes

For many people, university is a time in their lives when they try out different living arrangements for the first time. Whether you’re looking to save money, be closer to campus, or are just looking for a new life experience, living with roommates can be an amazing experience if you find the right fit.

When you’ve found a place where the location, cost, and amenities suite your needs, the roommate interview is the next. Many would say this is the most important step in the process.  

It’s a little like a blind date or a job interview. Whether it’s a panel of roommates or just a single person, everybody in the room is there to measure their compatibility with one another. Everyone hopes the other person is somebody they'll get along with, whose lifestyle and habits aren’t too different from their own, and whose desire for where to live will match their own.

To ensure your next roommate(s) is the right one for you, here are a few questions to include in your roommate interview to determine if you’re a good match.

Ice-breakers and personality questions:

  • Where did you grow up?
  • What are your hobbies?
  • What are you studying and what made you choose it?
  • Have you considered what you’d like to do after your degree?

Logistical questions:

  • What time do you generally wake up and go to bed?
  • Do you prefer a lively household or a quiet one?
  • Which chore do you least like doing around the house?
  • How clean or messy do you prefer common spaces to be?

Lifestyle questions:

  • Is a roommate somebody that you hang out with, somebody that you live with, or both?
  • How do you prefer to talk about difficult issues if they come up?
  • How do you like to decompress at the end of the day?
  • What are your feelings about overnight guests?
Students hanging out in a kitchen

Living with roommates can be an amazing experience. Just be sure to choose the right ones for you

Like looking for a job, finding a place to live is critical to a person’s sense of self, safety and security. While it’s important to find a place to live – especially when the rental market is difficult – be sure to listen to your gut feeling if something doesn’t feel quite right. If you’re unsure about anything at all, ask questions and do research before signing a contract or handing over money.

Take care of yourself first. Make sure you feel good about the people you’ll be living with and place that you’re moving into.