When you are moving into a new flat or house share, finding the right housemate can be a difficult and awkward task. Renting somewhere is a lot cheaper when you have a housemate, and in some cases, like student housing, you don’t have a choice but to share with others.
Whether you’re a student or professional, asking questions to a potential housemate is crucial as it can prepare you for what is to come or can sway your decision on if you want to share with this person.
Why it is essential to know your housemates
Ultimately, you don’t want to live with someone who you don’t get along with and up arguing about everything. This will create a toxic environment, not just for you, but the other person/people as well.
In an ideal situation, you can be good friends with whoever you’re living with! This is why you want to make sure you will be compatible.
Don’t be afraid to ask questions
It might seem quite awkward to bombard someone with questions, but it has to be done. It’s not a great idea to move in with someone completely random and just hope for the best. Asking questions and allowing the potential housemate to ask you questions, will give you both an insight into what the future could look like.
Whether you’re meeting up over a coffee, or you want to ask questions before even meeting them in person, it is important to try cover most things. Below are ten questions to ask a potential housemate.
1. Do you have a job?
This is an important one, especially if you’re a working professional. If you’re up for work every morning at 7:00 AM or working from home, you ideally want a housemate who is going to be in a similar routine. If the housemate doesn’t have a job, they may be noisy until late at night, and there is a chance they could not respect your situation.
If you’re a student, this is an excellent question to learn more about the person. They might be part-time at Tesco, which means they can pick food up on their way home!
2. Do you smoke or have pets?
If you don’t like pets, or don’t like smoking – this is a good way of finding out whether you can rule somebody off straight away. If you don’t mind – it may be something you can bond over.
However, this decision is not just down to you. Many landlords will not accept smokers or pets. If your potential housemate has a pet and is a smoker, you must check with your landlord on whether this person is allowed to become a tenant.
3. How often do you clean?
It’s easier to phrase the question like this, as people have very different standards if they count themselves as a ‘clean’ person. A messy environment is one of the biggest causes of arguments in house shares.
If you class yourself as quite a clean person, then it is best to look for someone with the same cleaning habits. However, if you’re known to be quite a messy person, this probably won’t matter to you too much!
4. Have you ever had difficulty paying rent?
If someone has had trouble paying rent in the past, it is important they can prove to you that they’re able to pay it properly now. You don’t want to be stuck paying 100% of the rent as this can become a financial burden for you.
Not paying rent is known to be one of the main reason housemates will have arguments or stop living with each other. Try to understand if your potential housemate is financially stable.
5. How long are you looking to move into a house share for?
Knowing how long someone wants to move into a house share is crucial. If you are looking for someone to rent with for 12 months, it will not work to have a housemate who is looking for a short term let under six months. This question will allow you to understand the situation of the housemate and whether the share would work.
6. What is your budget around rent and bills?
You might have found the perfect house for your needs, and it costs £800 per calendar month. If the person you are interviewing only wants to spend £250 a month on rent, this won’t work out.
You and your potential housemate need to be on the same page when it comes to finances.
7. How do you feel about guests and visitors?
Many people prefer their home to be a place they can have some quiet time. Others may want constant visitors and guests (such as a partner) overnight, as this is how they socialise.
It is important to figure out what kind of person your potential housemate is and how they feel about guests and visitors.
8. What do you like to do on weekends?
This is a great question just generally to get to know someone. By asking this, you’ll be able to find out if you and your potential housemates have any similar interests.
This question can also give you an insight into whether your lifestyles would work together!
9. Do you have any food requirements or dietary restrictions?
In some cases, a housemate might have a specific food requirement or dietary restriction.
For example, if your potential housemate is allergic to peanuts and can’t be anywhere near them, this is important information that you have to take seriously, for their safety.
10. Is there anything else you want to ask me or want to know?
By this point, you’re going to have asked a lot of questions, and it can be pretty intense! It’s time to give your potential housemate a chance to ask some questions.
You could be living together, so you both must get a chance to speak and relay your expectations to one another.
Trust the process!
This whole process may seem really intense and unnecessary. It is vital that you and your potential housemate understand what you’re getting into, and whether it will realistically work out.
If you’re looking for somewhere to live in Leeds, explore our selection of quality house shares for young professionals.