Interviewing For A Housemate – 10 Essential Questions You Need To Ask

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What questions are best to ask when interviewing for a housemate?

Having a housemate comes with great benefits. First and foremost, the rent instantly becomes more manageable, and it also enables you to live in a larger house, a place with an entertaining area, or a home in the nicer part of town or near to work. A great housemate can be someone to share cooking duties with, decompress a lousy day at work over a glass of wine at the kitchen counter and water your plants/feed your cat while you’re away on holiday.

However, the wrong housemate can be an absolute nightmare! They can be awake all hours talking loudly on the phone or gaming, dodge rent day and worst of all they can avoid all cleaning duties and push the boundaries of housemate etiquette. There is nothing more frustrating to a fellow housemate than having to step over a stranger sleeping on your new expensive sofa as you head to the fridge to find all your milk and coffee has been drunk.

We are here to help you avoid housemate woes and to spot when a housemate may sound too good to be true. Here are ten essential questions to ask when interviewing for a housemate to share your home with to ensure you get the perfect match:-

Have they shared before?

This is a question often missed off the housemate interview list, but it’s an essential question and one to ask first off the bat. If they’ve shared before, great, it means you can delve a little deeper and ask a few questions about their past living experiences.

However, if the person you are interviewing hasn’t shared before, don’t write them off immediately. It could be your opportunity to create the housemate of your dreams! Talk through precisely what you expect from a housemate and get a feel for if they are up to it. Do they have a job which can support them? Do they come across as mature? Can they demonstrate responsibility? For example; do they finance and run their own car? 

What is there cleaning roster?

If your housemate interviewee has lived in a shared house before, they should have a cleaning roster. Do they work weekly or share tasks? Is one in charge of cleaning the bathroom and one the kitchen? Who takes the bins out? Be prepared to be flexible and fair. If they work long hours, asking them to vacuum may be a stretch, however taking the bins out, and unpacking the dishwasher might work a little better for them.  

Share in your interview your preferred cleaning roster and be really clear on your expectations and communicate that you won’t let things slide. Setting expectations in a clear way and even putting it in the lease agreement minimises the chance of arguments and stress after they’ve moved in.

How Do They Support Themselves?

You need to make sure that the person who moves in can meet not only the rent but chip in on the utilities and buy their own groceries. Housemate relationships can come crashing down the moment one seems to be contributing less than the rest of the house, and you’ll want to maintain peaceful living arrangements for everyone. It’s a fair and appropriate question to ask how a potential new housemate will support themselves, and it also gives you a clue as to their average week.  

When interviewing, ask what their job or study entails and what their weekly schedule looks like. If your new housemate works shifts, this could work well when it comes to a shared bathroom or for quiet time when you can enjoy your home and some peace. However, if they are a freelance writer, working from home every day, it may become a little uncomfortable.

How do they see a housemate relationship?

This is an excellent question and key to finding the right housemate match. You may enjoy company, or be looking to find a friend to hang out with, but if you aren’t, you need to find a like-minded housemate. Ask your new potential housemate about their past shared house relationships, and what they would expect when it comes to social interactions in the home. 

How do they unwind on weekends

Ask how your potential housemate likes to relax. Do they like to walk the dog, go for a hike and lazily read at the local coffee shop? Or, do they love to party and rage on until 3 am. You may find a housemate who becomes a mate, but if you’re an introvert, work weekends or shift work, their party lifestyle may clash with your peaceful living. Likewise, if you enjoy a big Friday night, do you want to be creeping around your home and finding a passive-aggressive note about noise on your fridge on a Saturday morning? We tend to like people who are like us, so bear that in mind when you’re choosing a new roommate.

Would they use a previous housemate as a reference?

Watch the face of the interviewee when you ask the question. A flicker of an eye or a smile that soon disappears will tell you that maybe the last housemate didn’t work out so well and moving house may be a necessity. Try and find out why. If a housemate left a previous place on good terms, there should be no issue or resistance to offering a former housemate as a character reference.

Do they intend to have friends and visitors stay?

Having a sibling, family member or mate stay over a couple of weekends a year is acceptable, but only if you have the room. Be clear about your expectations when it comes to visitors staying in the home, but ensure that you follow the same rules. It’s not fair if you have your girlfriend stay every other weekend if you don’t allow your housemate to have any visitors stay.

Do they have a significant other?

This question can lead straight on from the visitor’s question, and it’s something a housemate should be upfront about. There have been many horror stories about housemates interviewing one person only to have two move in. It’s essential to ask for upfront honest with this question, so you know what you are setting yourself up for.

How long do they intend to stay?

You can ask this question as part of the lease terms. Do you want someone to stay for just six months to help with your rent until your promotion comes through, or are you after a long term housemate to help you pay down your mortgage? Make sure you let your new housemate know at the interview stage, so they don’t settle in for the long term, only to be turfed six months later. Be fair and reasonable where you can, after all, moving home is stressful and can be an emotional minefield when it comes to serving notice.

Do they like pets and/or have allergies?

If Gary the cat happens to be out when you’re interviewing for housemates, you need to remember to tell your interviewees about your pet and also ask if they like animals. You don’t want your new housemate kicking your cat or locking them outside while you are blissfully unaware at work. 

It’s also important when interviewing for a housemate to ask about any severe allergies. It will be awkward if your new housemate moves in, only to tell you there can’t be nuts in the house, or that they are allergic to certain fragrances or seafood. Work with your new housemate if they seem like a good person and accommodate where you can. Just ensure that you compromise fairly with each other and your daily life isn’t too compromised.

 

There you have it! Ten essential questions to ask when interviewing for a housemate. Remember to ask your questions like an interview, not as mates over a glass of wine and avoid living with family and close mates as boundaries are harder to keep in check. Find a person just like you, who shares the same values and someone who’s weekly routine works well with your own. 

If you can tick all of these boxes, you are on your way to finding the perfect housemate!