It’s your worst nightmare come alive.
Stuck in the room next to the noisiest, most-selfish, pain in the *** housemate who insists on playing their terrible music until the early hours, regularly steals your food and always leaves the washing up for someone else.
How did this happen? How did we end up like this? They seemed the perfect bestie-material when you were living in halls with them. Now you’re left to wonder if all those freshers’ social events are to blame for your cloud of judgement or if they just happen to have a split personality.
If you want to avoid housemate warfare, you need to know how to pick the good ones from the sloppy ones. Who knew? Just by asking the right questions you may just end up living with people you actually like.
So, what are you likes and dislikes? Any hobbies?
Get straight to the point. You’re going to be stuck with these people for a whole year so you want to be sure you at least have some common ground.
Given the perils of different personalities and habits coming together under one roof, it’s only natural some conflict will go down. However, it’s a lot easier to deal with this conflict when you live with people who value you as a friend and aren’t just in it for themselves.
Remember, a shared fondness for vodka shots probably isn’t a smart indication you’ll be able to live together (but you’d definitely make for a good party team).
How important is a clean house/apartment to you?
Find out if they’re the messy or neat type. You can’t expect the house to be spotless just because you’re a neat freak. On the other hand, there’s a difference between an organised messy person and to put it simply, a dirty slob. This is also a chance for you to be upfront about about your habits too.
It may also be better to ask how often they clean. Find out what they absolutely loathe and don’t mind doing when it comes to house chores. The ‘I’ll do it in a minute’ housemate will result in the kitchen sink starting to resemble a mind of its own. Terrifying and just plain gross.
One thing’s for sure, living with other people will make you realise why your mum was constantly nagging you to clean up after yourself all those years (you better call her now and tell her how much you love her).
Are you in a relationship?
Not many people think to ask this one. Let us tell you, this is very important.
There is NOTHING more infuriating than having your housemates’ significant other helping themselves to your food, taking hour long showers and making themselves at home. Before you know it, they’ll start to rearrange the furniture and walk around in a towel (your towel, BTW).
Let’s get one thing straight, you cannot expect your housemates to subsidise your boyfriend/girlfriend staying for half the week. Every week. This isn’t a student hostel, this is your home.
Yes, you want to be able to invite people over and have your lover around, but there’s a line. Be sure to set the rules from the outset so you don’t end up having an unexpected new roomie (who doesn’t even pay towards the bills).
What do you enjoy cooking?
This is a casual way to find out about someone’s dietary preferences without straight up asking someone to delve into their finicky eating habits.
It’s not to say you can’t live with someone just because they have a different diet to yours. But chances are if you’re living with a vegan, they may have a slight issue with the fridge containing slabs of dead animals from time to time. Being honest before makes sure these type of surprises don’t happen.
On the subject of food, ask your potential housemate what their thoughts are on sharing. It’s handy to have certain shared supplies like salt and oil but you don’t want to be living with someone who keeps helping themselves to your food.
Set the boundaries so you can avoid passive-aggressive notes on the fridge and the heartbreak of having your leftover pizza being scavenged the night before by a drunk housemate.
How’s your ability to lock doors and shut windows?
Find out how cued up they are with their security. If you come home to find the door has been left unlocked and the windows are wide open, you could be living with a ‘it won’t happen to me’ type of person. And we all know how living with this person will end.
In tears and broken friendships.
Students are easy targets for burglars so avoid having your laptop stolen in the middle of your dissertation and talk about safety beforehand. This way you can worry less knowing the house will be in good hands when you’re not around.
Are you willing to sign the contract?
To ensure your best chance at coexisting with these people, you need to know where you stand with each other. If your potential roomie isn’t willing to make a legal commitment, this is probably a red flag. You’re in this together and you should share the responsibility together.
This is a perfect time to mention the deposit. One month’s rent is standard. Talking about money is never easy but you’ll get a good impression of this person depending on how they react to this question. Unless they have a really good poker face, in this case, we can’t help you.
Remember, try not to be too intrusive whilst asking these questions (no one wants to live with someone who sounds like their parents). This is probably going to be your only chance to live with your best mates so choose wisely, make the most of it and buckle up for the good times (it’s going to be a wild ride).
Good luck with gathering your ultimate housemate crew. You’ve got this.