How to Find a Roommate

How to Find a Roommate

Companionship, safety and reduced expenses make sharing an apartment a smart choice for many.

After you’ve debated the pros and cons of living with someone, the next challenge is figuring out how to find a compatible roommate.

You can start the process by accessing your personal connections, social media platforms and roommate matching services. Writing out questions to ask potential roommates, and laying out a basic roommate agreement can help you narrow down your options.

Jump ahead:

friends talking

How to find a roommate through personal connections

Asking your existing contacts is one of the oldest and most reliable ways to find a roommate. People refer individuals that they know and can vouch for their character. The process often feels safer and more natural.

1. Ask friends and family

Start with the people that know you best. Ask family members and friends if they know anyone looking for a roommate in your city. Since the mutual friend or family member knows both parties (and your habits and interests), the odds of a good match increase.

Even if you don’t find a potential roommate, you’ll come away with a list of contacts in your region. They might know someone who is wondering how to find a roommate, too.

2. Use your alumni networks

Common ground and shared experiences can connect roommates, so don’t overlook your educational connections. Some universities offer roommate matching services for current students. And you can always put up a flyer on approved campus bulletin boards or message boards.

Ask former classmates (from both high school and college) if they know anyone who needs a roommate. Post an ad (see tips below) in the alumni magazine. Ask about potential roommates whenever you meet other alumni at mixers, reunions, volunteer opportunities and fundraising events. It’s an unusual conversation starter and an easy way to network.

3. Search within clubs and groups

People who enjoy the same activities are likely to share habits, goals and values — and to keep company with people like themselves. Increase your odds of a good lifestyle match by asking acquaintances in clubs, service organizations and places of worship for a roommate referral. A friend from your book club, a casual running buddy or a familiar face from your mosque, church or synagogue might need a roommate or know someone who does.

Place an ad in a club or service organization’s newsletter. Or, mention you’re looking for a roommate at an upcoming meeting or mixer.

social media

Find a roommate using social media

If your person-to-person connections aren’t yielding potential roommates, try broadening your search to include your social networks. You’ll still have that personal link, but enjoy a wider range of options.

How to find a roommate on Facebook

Facebook still has a major reach (2.45 billion and counting, according to a recent report) so it’s a great place to find a roommate. Asking for referrals here is similar to asking for referrals in person.

  • Start by posting a status update asking for potential roommates in your own feed. Since you know your followers (and they probably share interests, personal history or geography), you and your future roommate stand a greater chance of having things in common.
  • Then branch out to your Facebook groups. Post a short and sweet roommate request in groups that link alumni, volunteers, worshippers or people that share common hobbies and passions. Join groups that connect people in your city or neighborhood and ask there.
  • You can also target your current or desired apartment complex. Just find the page, like it and ask around to see if anyone is looking for a roommate. Just make sure that comments of this nature are allowed before you post. (Direct message the page or group’s administrators to double-check if you’re not sure.)

Write a Facebook ad

If your Facebook friends can’t help you find a roommate, creating a Facebook ad might work. Creating your own ad is easier (and cheaper) than you might expect.

The Facebook Business page offers simple instructions. You’ll want a focused goal like post engagement or brand awareness to help narrow the scope of your ad so it only reaches individuals that match your desired audience and city.

Write about the apartment’s key features (cost, neighborhood, amenities) and what you’re looking for in a roommate. Don’t state that applicants must be a particular age, race or religion. Not only is that a rude way to eliminate potential matches, it’s also illegal.

Tell potential applicants that references and a background check of their criminal history will be required. This should help weed out bad apples early in the process.

How to find a roommate on Twitter

If Facebook is a conversation between friends, then Twitter is like a virtual cocktail party. Your followers probably gel around common interests or a geographic location, which is useful if you’re looking for a roommate on Twitter.

  • Since Twitter limits the length of your messages, you’ll need to write what’s essentially the perfect miniature “roommate wanted” ad to attract attention. Make sure it includes the gender of the roommate you’re seeking, your apartment’s neighborhood (don’t list your actual address for safety’s sake), your potential roommate’s share of the rent and utilities and the move-in date. (You can always start a thread if you need more space, but keep it short for maximum impact.)
  • Mention one of the apartment’s perks (think underground parking, a pool or a walk-in closet) to capture readers’ attention. Then, give a few details about the type of person you hope to live with (neat, pet-lover, non-partier) to help narrow down the pool of applicants.
  • Include photos. A shot of the vacant bedroom, the living space and kitchen area are a great place to start. Or, include a link to the management company’s website so potential roommates can research on their own.
  • Add a hashtag if you have space. The most useful hashtags are focused and specific. Try your college name, your neighborhood or popular hashtags for your city and state.

girls on computer

How to find a roommate online

Still no luck? It might time to broaden your search even more by using additional online tools. Thankfully, there are more options than ever before.

Try a roommate matching service

  • Roomster operates a bit like a dating service, only for roommates. It takes just a few minutes to create a profile, detail your interests, habits and priorities and see who’s a match. You can also connect in 18 different languages.
  • operates in a similar fashion. Applicants can post that they’re looking for a room or renting a room. Just search by city to see who is looking for a place to live near you.
  • Every applicant at RoomieMatch is screened by humans, so anyone with potential red flags doesn’t make the cut. The site also makes sure that a user’s IP address matches their stated region, which helps weed out scammers.

How to find a roommate on Craigslist

If you take proper precautions, it’s possible to find a good match on Craigslist. Find your city, then search for potential roommates under the “Housing” category. You can also write your own notice using the tips mentioned for creating a great Tweet or Facebook ad.

You’ll need to make a list of questions to screen potential roommates on the phone or via video chat. But first, you have to narrow your list of candidates

guys talking

Vet potential candidates

Your personal safety, credit history and reputation matter. So, make sure you research every potential roommate thoroughly.

1. Review a potential roommate’s contacts

Ask applicants for references from employers and previous landlords. Even notes from friends, clergy, professors and former roommates can help you get a sense of their character and habits.

Search each potential roommate’s social media pages to see if they’re respectful in their interactions with others and if they show good judgment in what they post publicly. If you see evidence of illegal activity, angry messages from friends or hostile, hateful, racist or sexist posts from your potential roommate, cross them off the list.

2. Check their criminal background

Search each applicant’s name, and look for arrest records. Some states also have circuit court access websites available for your reference. People with common names are sometimes mixed up, so make sure you’re researching the right individual by cross-referencing details like photos and location.

If you have questions, reach out to the police department that made an arrest. They can offer clarification while still preserving privacy.

3. Ask about financial issues

Of all the questions to ask potential roommates, financial questions are among the most important. You’ll be paying bills with this person, so their bad credit could sink yours. Request a credit check to make sure they have a solid payment history.

Ask about potential roommate’s job. Someone with a stable, full-time job they’ve enjoyed for years is likely to be more financially stable than someone who just started working, picks up a few shifts a week or moves around a lot. You can request pay stubs if their responses don’t add up. Just remember they might also have alternate sources of income like alimony, stipends, savings, investments or allowances that aren’t part of their wages.

women speaking

Other questions to ask potential roommates

Once you’ve narrowed down your list of candidates, it’s time to go a little deeper by discussing your personalities and habits to find the best fit.

Consider creating a rough outline of a roommate agreement and using it as a conversational guide. If you hit it off, you and your future roommate can edit it together before they move in.

1. Additional financial questions to ask potential roommates

You don’t have to be best friends to be successful roommates. But you do have to cooperate and be good financial partners.

Ask your roommate what they can spend on rent and utilities and how much they can contribute to the security deposit. Discuss how and when you’ll pay bills and what will happen if someone comes up short.

2. Discuss chores and responsibilities

The bills aren’t the only thing you’ll be dividing — roommates need to split the chores, as well. Be honest about how often you plan to clean, which chores you’d like to handle and if you’re tidy or messy. If you’re on opposite sides of the spectrum, you could face an uphill battle.

Shopping, deep cleaning and other household management tasks like corresponding with your landlord also fall under this category. Hash out how you’ll allocate these tasks. Handy roommate apps, a shared calendar or a messaging system can help you delegate chores and bill-paying tasks.

3. Talk about personalities and habits

An introvert and an extrovert can live together quite happily, as long as they establish ground rules. Figure out a communication style that works for both of you.

Little disagreements can cause big drama, so chat about seemingly insignificant things like how warm you like the apartment and what you consider a “normal” volume level before you move in. If your views on habits like drugs, alcohol and smoking don’t line up, that’s probably a deal-breaker.

4. Chat about your schedules

Get an idea of how often your potential roommate will be at home. A traveling sales rep has a very different schedule than someone who works and socializes on a laptop in their bedroom.

Learn if your roommate is a morning person or a night owl and if they’re a heavy or light sleeper. Discuss compromises and adjustments to your morning and evening routines so you can live together peacefully.

It’s also smart to talk about how they plan to use your joint living spaces. If they cook three-course dinners every evening, like to throw parties or plan movie marathons every weekend, find ways to make sure their activities don’t interfere with your at-home workout sessions or meditation time.

5. Be honest about your relationships

How do you feel about friends and family members coming over or spending the night? What happens if you both want company at the same time? If they’re dating someone, discuss how often their partner will be in the apartment.

Pets are like family, so make sure you know the details about your potential roommate’s pets, discuss how they’ll share the space with yours and brainstorm how you might split pet-related chores. If one of you is allergic to animals — or if pets aren’t allowed in the building — move on.

Do your research, then trust your instincts

Once you’ve done your homework, it’s time to make your future roommate an offer. Eliminate anyone who gave you a bad feeling or people with whom you just didn’t click. Basic respect and good communication are the building blocks of a solid roommate partnership.

Figuring out how to find a roommate can be challenging. But it doesn’t have to be complicated. Asking smart questions, leveraging your personal networks and using tools available to help you find someone with similar goals and habits can help you find a roommate who will be a good fit.

Published at Fri, 06 Nov 2020 14:00:29 +0000