Getting a roommate (or roommate) is a money transfer that can significantly lower your housing costs.
However, living with someone who does not suit you can be catastrophic. They could be victims of theft (theft of food!), Because of their share of bills remain on the hook or even eviction,
The best thing you can do before you make a lease with someone is to take the time to check your potential roommate – yes, even if it's your cousin, colleague, or BFF. No matter how close you are, living together and sharing your financial obligations is a completely different ball game.
You are not sure what questions you should ask potential roommates? We cover you.
11 money questions to potential roommates
It is usually a financial decision to find a roommate. If you can not afford to live alone, finding a roommate is a natural choice.
You want to make sure that your financial ethics and the way you handle money are somewhat in line with your roommate. So sit down – think: Relaxed conversation instead of rigid interrogation – and go through these screening questions to ask your potential roommate.
1. How much can you afford to spend on housing?
This is one of the questions that you first want to clear out of the way to make sure your roommate can afford to pay half of the bills.
Experts say that you should not spend more than 30% of your income on housing. Your landlord will probably use a similar percentage of the budget when reviewing your rental application. If your potential roommate does not feel well Share salary information Let us know that you are applying for a place – and you do not want to give up your application fee because you do not earn enough to qualify.
Remember that a sufficient income can not guarantee your roommate's rent. High debt and other financial obligations could be obstacles. So it's important to chat about what you can afford comfortably. Do not forget to consider the costs of utilities.
Choose a monthly agreement if you have doubts about the solvency of your roommate. You can test the water this way without taking a 12-month commitment.
2. Do you have a stable job history?
Nothing is worse than paying the full cost after your roommate loses a job two months after the expiration of a 12-month lease. Although you can not predict an unexpected layoff, looking into the job history of your prospective roommate can be revealing.
Chronic job hopping or frequent unemployment are red flags. Working in a difficult industry or for a workforce-reduction company can also be a cause for concern.
3. How would you like to split the bills?
How to split shared expenses should be weighed up as soon as possible.
Mark Bauer, a professor of law at Stetson University, told The Penny Hoarder that he recommends this Each roommate enters his name on all split bills, In this way, you not only realize your roommate's statement that the utilities will be paid – and you will not be cut off by electricity if your roommate suddenly moves out.
Money-sharing apps like Venmo and PayPal facilitate the transfer of funds between individuals.
Select a date at least one week before the due date of an invoice as the day every roommate must have their share, so you do not have to struggle at the last minute to get the money together.
You also want to discuss whether you want to split everything up to 50/50 or make another agreement. Does the person with the large master bedroom pay more rent?
4. What is your credit score (or credit score range)?
If your prospective housemates are overburdened with debt and do not pay their bills on time, this will be reflected in the credit scores. Therefore, landlords often conduct credit checks before approving rental applications.
If your roommate leaves a deposit for you and you can not pay your share of the bills, your credit could be a great success – another reason to choose someone you can rely on financially.
Knowledge of the creditworthiness of your roommate – or Credit score range – helps you determine if you are responsible for tax or if you should say no to living together.
5. What do you feel as pleasant sharing (and what not)?
It is good to set some ground rules as to what you and your roommate consider shared property and what not. These include furniture, appliances, household goods and staple foods.
Sharing items can save you money. (You really do not need that two Vacuum cleaners in an apartment.) Disagreements, however, begin when not everyone is on the same page about who owns what.
Do not just ask your potential roommates what they would like to share. You have to make sure that your wishes are met – before you argue about who drank the last juice.
If you and your roommate want to divide up the cost of community products (such as paper towels and dishwashing detergent), keep your receipts for later reimbursement.
Schedule monthly budget meetings with your roommate to discuss spending issues for shared expenses and plans for paying bills.
6. Do you have a pet?
If you or your roommate have a pet (or are planning to get one), choosing a pet friendly vacation rental is the key. You will probably be charged an additional deposit or a monthly fee (which should be imposed on the owner).
Discuss ownership of pets before contracting if a party has allergies or serious aversion (or fear) to certain animals. It is also important to set ground rules, eg. B. Do not leave the front door open or not to feed Fido table trash.
7. How often do you expect to have guests?
If you prefer a quiet home, you do not want to live with someone who has a few people every other day. Aside from your personal comfort, your potential roommate's answer to that question can affect your finances.
If your roommate has frequent guests who consume extra power and water, your extra charges will be higher. If your roommate's spouse always stays overnight, you may want to ask him to pay for more of the bills.
8. At what temperature should the thermostat be set?
Do your roommates want to blow up the air conditioning in the summer and boost the heat in winter? The temperature you set for your thermostat affects your electricity bills.
Avoid the thermostat wars. If you agree on the indoor temperature, your costs will remain as expected and both roommates will feel comfortable.
9. What do you do for transport?
How your roommate moves in the city can affect your shared life situation. Some apartment complexes charge a fee for parking. If only one seat is included in the rent and you have both cars, it is only fair to divide the cost of a second seat.
If your roommate relies on public transport, this can restrict your living situation. And housing near a bus or train station may be more expensive than other options.
If you and your roommate work close to each other and have similar schedules, consider rideshare to save money.
10. Are you planning to change the apartment?
Painting walls and nailing works of art without your landlord's consent will usually result in a fine if you move out – unless you're really good at putting everything back in its original condition.
Temporary wallpapers and peel-and-stick wall hooks are alternatives that do not cause permanent damage. However, if your roommate insists on a more permanent establishment, you must be prepared for the financial consequences.
11. Do you smoke?
Cigarette smoke is often found in furniture, carpets and even walls. If your roommate smokes inside, your landlord may be beating you with high cleaning fees when it's time to move out.
4 More questions to potential roommates
Financial compatibility is not the only indicator of whether someone is a good roommate. Living with someone who pays the bills on time but is a nightmare in other ways can lead to you wanting to terminate the lease. If you are considering having a home together, you should consider four more questions.
1. How often do you clean?
They say opposites attract, but if you're a decent freak and your roommate is a jerk, things are probably not going well.
Talk to your roommate about the cleanliness he prefers and how often he wants to do the cleaning. Visiting their current location will show the reality beyond their claims.
2. What is your daily routine?
Some people prefer to be roughly on the same schedule as their roommates, while others like to work against schedule to have more time for themselves.
Is your potential roommate an early riser or a night owl? Will you work from home and need rest during the day? Do you both have to be in the kitchen at the same time in the evening?
Meeting your daily schedule can also help you to answer the awkward question of personal hygiene. It stinks (pun intended) to get stuck with a roommate who hardly ever takes a shower. The question of whether your potential roommate takes a shower in the morning or in the evening is an inconspicuous opportunity to address the topic.
3. What is your preferred communication method?
Even the best friends can have different communication styles. You can avoid unpleasant conversation or tense situations by knowing how your roommate communicates best.
If your roommate prefers personal conversation, sending a text over the mess in the living room can be considered passively aggressive. Someone who feels uncomfortable with direct confrontations may appreciate this text.
4. Could I talk to one of your previous roommates?
When you talk to someone your potential roommate used to live with, you can make your decision. Ask for their story of paying bills and how they got along with each other.
Ideally, this person will confirm the conclusions you have come to after asking for all the other review questions. Pay attention, however, to red flags.
Additional precautions associated with the roommate
If you've checked these questions to ask potential roommates, you have a better idea of whether you have a good match or whether you are better off finding someone.
Even if you think you've found a great roommate, protect yourself (and your finances) with the following measures:
Write and sign a roommate agreement that lists financial responsibilities, ground rules and other expectations.
Use credit monitoring to make sure nobody uses your personal information to open credit lines on your behalf.
Take out a tenant insurance to protect your belongings from damage or theft.
Finding the right person to live with is a bit of a hassle, but at best you have a new friend who can help you lower your living expenses.
Nicole Dow is a senior writer with The Penny Hoarder.
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