Unless you’ve won the lottery, inherited property, or have an exceptionally high income, you’re probably living with roommates in New York City. It can be a wonderful thing; getting to hang out with people without having to leave the house, cooking and laughing together, binge-watching your favorite shows. And above all, you’re saving a significant amount of money on rent.
While terrifying stories about horrendous NYC roommates flood the internet, it’s really a matter of determining which people you’ll click with the most. There are a number of questions you can ask that can help you determine if a person qualifies as a good roommate.
Interviewing a potential roommate is almost like a date; you’re trying to get to know the person as much as possible to find out if they’re a good match. The more questions you ask, the more you can assess their character, habits, and lifestyle.
Have You Ever Lived With Roommates Before?
By asking this question, you can determine if the person sitting across from you is used to sharing space with another person. If they’ve only ever lived with their family and Mom normally does their laundry, then they’ll probably be struggling to adjust to life with a roommate.
That said, there are always two sides to a coin and just because somebody doesn’t have roommate experience on their resume, it doesn’t mean you should rule them out entirely. By asking follow-up questions about cleaning habits, hobbies, and their social life, you can find out how good of a match they are for you.
What’s Your Work Schedule?
By asking this question, you’ll be able to determine how well your work schedules sync up. If you get showered and ready at slightly different times in the morning, then that could help you avoid early morning frustration.
If you leave the house at 8 am and your roommate doesn’t start work until 12 pm, you’re a perfect match. It will give you all the time in the world in the morning to take a shower and make your breakfast, while your new roommate is still fast asleep. At night, you’ll have a few hours to yourself until they get home.
No matter how well you get along, a little time to yourself always feels nice, especially in a busy city like New York.
Do You Like to Party?
There are some people who have no boundaries. They will barge into the apartment at 5 am in the morning, drunk out of their minds, blast music on the speakers, and proceed to host an after party in the kitchen, while you’re being rudely awoken out of your blissful dream about your own studio apartment.
On the other end of the spectrum, some roommates may urge you to be quieter by 8 pm on a Saturday evening when you have a few friends over for a casual get-together.
In short, if your habits don’t match up, you’ll end up having regular fights with your flatmate. Make sure you both have similar ideas about acceptable noise levels and roommate behavior.
What Are Your Cleaning Habits?
Instead of outright asking them if they’re a slob, ask about their cleaning habits. Will your new roommate keep common spaces like the kitchen and living room relatively clean or are you inviting a slacker into the apartment?
On the other hand, you should also be honest about your cleaning routine. If you both admit that you struggle to keep an apartment clean, then you might mutually agree to hire a professional cleaner and split the costs.
Do You Enjoy Having Friends Over?
This is a polite way of asking; “Are you going to turn our apartment into party-central?” If you pull early-nighters on the regular and enjoy a calm and noise-free environment, you won’t match well with a party animal. Then again, you might luck out and find the perfect balance with another person.
What Are Your Hobbies and Interests?
This is another question that could unearth a treasure trove of information, so listen carefully to the answer. Do they intend to bring their drum set and do a jam session with their friends in your apartment every two days?
At the same time, this is also your chance to find out more about their character and personality.
Do You Enjoy Cooking?
If your new roommate turns out to be a Jamie Oliver in the kitchen and regularly invites you to their four-course meals, then pat yourself on the shoulder. You’ve found a gem.
On the other hand, what if they’re a strict vegan and you’re a meat lover, and you both want to cook your meals at the same time? You’ve got limited space in a typical NYC kitchen so this could be a source of tension.
What Are You Looking For in a Roommate?
What’s your interviewee’s take on roommate activities? After all, an advantage of having roommates is making new friends who are available on short notice. When you go out together, you can share the cab home. When you feel like a movie night, you just knock on their door.
Conversely, there are some people who see sharing an apartment with another person as a way of saving costs and would like to steer clear of any friendly activities. If you have enough friends already and you’re on the same page, that’s fine. But eventually, if you’re looking to socialize, having a roommate who will simply hand you a check for the rent every month won’t make you happy.