Whether your sub-letting your New York apartment or looking for college roommates, it’s always good to know what you’re getting into. Even if you know the person, unexpected issues may arise when you start living together. To save you both a lot of headaches it’s best to learn as much about each other as you can. Here are eight essential questions to ask a potential roommate.

1. What’s your definition of clean?

Standards of cleanliness are one of the biggest areas of conflict for roommates. Some people wash the dishes immediately after use while others wait until the sink is overflowing. Some consider sweeping every other day normal, others don’t even know how to operate a vacuum. Instead of asking them how clean they are, find out what their habits are. It’s always best to find someone in the same cleaning boat as yourself.

2. Do you like to smoke or drink in the house?

This is so important if you have strong feelings against certain substances. If your lease forbids smoking indoors then that’s a deal breaker there. Whatever your own habits are you’ll want to be on the same wave-length as your roommate.

3. What’s your daily schedule?

Beyond just knowing if their a ‘night-owl’ or ‘morning-person’ it’s good to know what a ‘typical’ weekday or weekend is for them. If they need nap-time during the day or like to practice kickboxing every night before bed this is something you’ll want to know.

4. Do you like to have friends over often?

If you’re studying for the bar or working a full-time job it may be better to know what kind of house you’ll be coming back to each night. If they plan on inviting a lot of friends over every week and turning the place into a party central then it may not work out.

5. Do you have references?

You wouldn’t accept a job applicants word on how good they are, nor should you with a roommate. Ask for referrals from former roommates or work colleagues. Two or three should be enough.

6. What’s your romantic situation?

If they’re in a relationship then there’s a chance you could be signing on for a third roommate. If it’s a serious relationship then expect lots of sleepovers. There’s also the potential of feeling like a third wheel in your own home.

7. Do you have any pets?

Many New York buildings have pet restrictions to find out what you’ll be dealing with. Also, just because they don’t have a pet now doesn’t mean they won’t rescue one and bring it home one day. If you have any allergies make this clear.

8. What do you want in a roommate?

You’re both going to be looking for someone you can get along with so establish what it is your each looking for. Use this moment to work out any conflicts or difficulties you may encounter living together.

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