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You're fresh off the plane, you're tired, and you need somewhere to live/unpack/sleep, pronto.

Or maybe your housemate's visa has expired, and you're hunting for a replacement with a heavy heart.

However, be cool. Don't be desperate and pick anyone - or anywhere - to live. You'll regret it in the long-term, and you need to make sure that you've got a lifestyle that fits in with the people you'll be living with.

This is Gumtree.com’s ultimate checklist of handy interview questions to ask potential new housemates.

What sort of music are you into?

If you want to avoid bickering over the choice of pre-drinks tunes and who should turn their music down then it might be a good idea to see what sort of music they’re into. It’s a great ice-breaker and who knows, you might even end up with a future gig buddy.

How long are you hoping to stay for?

They may seem like they’re going to be your new BFF but if they’re only looking for a short-term stay, they may be out of your house and out of your life before you know it. This can be great if the arrangement suits you, for example, sometimes flat mates go travelling for short bursts of time and in this case, finding someone to fill their room for a couple of months would be really handy. However, usually it means more paperwork and more interviewing once your new housemate has left, so sometimes it’s easier and less time-consuming to look for people who are in it for the long haul.

What would your ideal Saturday night involve?

It doesn’t take a genius to work out that a homebody who prefers a cup of tea and a couple of hobnobs before 10pm on a Saturday night isn’t likely to get on with someone who frequently rolls in during the early hours of Sunday morning, ready to keep the music and dancing going with a hoard of new pals they picked up from the local club. As well as disturbing each other’s sleeping patterns, it’s always nice to share a house with someone you have similar social interests with.

Do you expect to have any overnight guests?

This can be a clever way of finding out whether your new potential housemate has a significant other or not, and how often they would expect them to stay. Whilst for some it can be great having more company in the house, you could easily end up as the third wheel and the water bills may become suspiciously high due to the extra housemate who, as you guessed, isn’t expected to contribute to the bills.

What do you do/what hours do you work?

A clash of working hours is a classic way problems can arise in a house share. If you enjoy your own space, having a housemate that works night shifts whilst you’re on the typical 9-5 grind can be a blessing in disguise. However in many cases, the difference in sleep patterns and mealtimes can cause distance and a disturbance of routine. Asking about their work is also a great way of finding out how stable their job is – as you don’t want to spend your evenings guiltily yapping at your flat mate for last month’s rent that they can’t really afford from their expenses-only internship.

Do you smoke?

If you’re a non-smoker, it’s probably best to decide beforehand if you’d be happy to live with a smoker (and vice versa!), and if so where they’d smoke. After all, not everyone wants to live in a chimney.

How do you feel about having a cleaning rota?

Even if you don’t actually have a cleaning rota in place, this is a good question to ask as it will give you a general idea about this person’s tidiness and cleaning routines. If they don’t seem too keen then don’t be surprised when the dirty dishes pile up and the fridge starts reeking of week-old leftover takeaway – yuck!

Once you’ve got your new pals ready and happy to move in, a whole barrage of questions may next be on your lips. For all your renting worries and woes, check out Gumtree.com’s new ‘Rent Smart: A handy guide to renting’ eBook that covers many questions and doubts that arise when it comes to renting. From a checklist of questions to ask your landlord to a UK rental price table - Gumtree’s got it covered.

Image credit: Thinkstock


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Interview questions to ask potential housemates
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