10 questions to ask when looking for a new roommate

 

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Compatibility matters when it comes to everything from selecting a college major to swiping right on a Tinder match. It’s especially important when it comes to a roommate situation. (Just ask the early bird and night owl who had to share a 12 foot by 12 foot room in the dorms!)

Below are 10 things to consider before moving in with a roommate, all of which will help ensure harmony in your household. But to make things easy for you, when you register for Roomdock, you’ll fill out an “About Me” profile as well as select roommate criteria based on things like “language,” “work schedule,” “cleanliness,” and whether it’s OK for your potential roommate to have children or pets who live in the rental, as well. For face to face questions, Roomdock also provides live video chat and secure messaging between potential roommates.

Do you have good credit and a clean criminal background? If you’re renting out a room, you’ll want to make sure you’re getting a tenant that won’t cause problems and will pay their rent on time.

At Roomdock, we’ll make that easy for you with an integrated service that includes an option to request a credit check complete with a TransUnion report and FICO Score that gives you a snapshot of your renter’s credit worthiness. Plus, you’ll get a report on whether your potential tenant has ever been evicted and whether they have any liens or financial judgments entered against them. We’ll also conduct a state criminal background check and a county criminal background check. The tenant pays $24.99 for the service, which is a bargain compared to what other agencies charge. You, as the landlord can request the background check with an easy click and let Roomdock take care of the rest. We’ll send an email to the tenant requesting all of their necessary information to run the background check, then you can view the easy-to-read report in Roomdock.

What’s your schedule like? When Roomdock matches you with potential roommates, your schedules are taken into consideration. When you fill out the “About Me,” section, Roomdock will inquire about your “wake up time” and your “bed time.” It also queries about your work schedule, whether you work a traditional 9-to-5 job, work at night, or have a mixed schedule. That way, we can match you with roommates who have similar schedules.

Are you clean or messy? Are you the type who hardly notices if dishes are piled up in the sink or does it make you twitch with anger? We’re willing to take a guess that a majority of roommate disagreements come down to cleaning duties. When you’re sharing a space, it’s important to agree on expectations for cleanliness and even divvy up some household chores in shared spaces so that one roommate isn’t always stuck vacuuming the living room and wiping down the kitchen counters. When you fill out a Roomdock profile, you have options that include “clean,” “average,” and “a bit messy.”

What’s on your Spotify most-played lists? A conversation about music preferences is a good vehicle to discuss your shared expectations about quiet hours and noise preferences. We’re not suggesting that you rule out a roommate if they’ve got Nickelback playlists—but if you do happen to have the same type of taste in music, overhearing the tunes coming from your roomie’s wireless speakers can be enjoyable rather than annoying. It’s also good to have a contract of when “quiet hours” are in the home. (Read: It’s super jarring to wake up in what you think is a war zone but is really just your roomie playing a video game at 3 a.m. with the speakers cranked up).

Do you smoke? Decide before moving in whether smoking is allowed and check with the rental policies. When you sign up on Roomdock, you can indicate whether you smoke, and, if so, if you only smoke outside.

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Are you looking for “4/20 friendly” home? More states are legalizing marijuana for medical and recreational use, with the common caveat that marijuana use be limited to the home. This takes the conversation beyond whether it’s OK to smoke in a residence as marijuana use can include vaping and edibles, as well. Decide whether your home will be 4/20-friendly. And, if so, remember it’s always a nice courtesy to label those pot brownies so they’re not mistaken as regular ones — especially if you and your roomie have a “sharing is caring” approach in the kitchen! Also, if you’re moving to the United States here’s a map that shows where marijuana is legal. 

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How will we split up bills? Beyond divvying up rent, it’s a good idea to decide how bills like cable, internet, and utility bills will be paid. Whose name will the bills be put in? And what about sharing services like Netflix or Hulu? Now, to get technical. Will you take turns buying shared household goods like toilet paper and household cleaners? To make it easy, consider signing up for an app like Venmo so you and your roommate can quickly transfer money to one another.

What are the kitchen rules and what’s your diet like? Really, it’s a bummer when you go to pour a bowl of cereal or dip your knife into some organic peanut butter you shelled out extra cash for only to find it almost empty. Have a convo with your potential roommate about whether it’s OK to share groceries. Is it a free-for-all in the kitchen or should you each have your own shelves in the fridge and pantry to separate your groceries? Or, maybe meet in the middle and share things like condiments and items that can spoil quickly like milk and certain produce. Cooking for one can be expensive (and end up in a week’s worth of leftovers), so maybe the two of you could take turns being in charge of dinner each night. Whatever you decide, set some ground rules in the kitchen to avoid food fights! Roomdock also has a feature that allows you to include your food preferences such as “almost everything,” “vegan,” “vegetarian,” and “kosher.” 

 

Are overnight guests OK? It’s an all too common roommate story when one roommate’s significant other does more than move in a toothbrush and actually becomes an extra roommate. Roomdock can help alleviate the awkwardness of this situation during the customized roommate match process. When you’re filling out your profile, you’ll be able to select how often you have overnight guests – with options ranging from never to frequently. 

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Do you like to party? When it comes to parties, maybe you’re both OK with dinner gatherings,  but not parties that resemble those in Seth Rogen’s comedy “Neighbors” and that can net you nuisance tickets and fines. Or, maybe you both like to cut loose on the weekends. Your Roomdock profile will let you fill out a party profile that queries about your party habits to prevent any mismatches.

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