How to Find a Roommate
Whether you’re looking for a roommate due to the rising cost of rent, you’re attending school, you’ve had a major life change, or you have an extra room that you want to earn some extra cash from, beginning your search for a compatible roommate can be quite a task.
From deciding where to start your search to vetting potential prospects and then signing on the dotted line, the following information will help you with all the ins and outs of finding a new roommate.
Start with your personal network
Pros: Whether you’re looking for a person to move in with or you have a room that you want to rent out to someone else, asking people you know is always a great place to start. Asking your friends, co-workers, and acquaintances if they know of anyone looking for a roommate not only taps into your personal network but expands your reach into their networks, too. You can call them, email them, post in private groups, or on social media.
Another benefit? You’ll already have at least one person who can attest to the trustworthiness and character of the person they refer.
Cons: A few more people than you’d prefer may know your personal business if you publish a post for a roommate on your social networks.
Cost: Free! Simply ask around or post on your social media channels to get the ball rolling.
Pros: Craigslist is available on several continents and is a website where thousands of people have started their search for a roommate. The platform is also pretty straightforward to use. Once you find the Craigslist website tailored to where you live, you can search through a number of categories including “housing wanted”, “rooms / shared”, and “rooms wanted” to see which options are available near you.
Cons: It’s a good idea to approach each listing with a healthy bit of skepticism since scammers love to hang out on Craigslist and there are no background check features in place on this site.
Cost: Free to search (but there may be a fee of $3-$7 if you decide to post your own ad.)
Pros: Similar to popular dating apps, Diggz uses an algorithm to match you with potential roommates who align with your location and lifestyle preferences. The platform is vetted regularly to remove potential scammers, allows you to filter out people who aren’t a fit, and has an in-app chat feature to converse with potential roommate matches. You can also either use the “find a roommate” option or you can list a room.
Cons: Diggz is focused on 20 major metropolitan areas within the US (plus two in Canada), so if you live in a smaller city or want a roommate in the suburbs, the platform might not be the best fit.
Cost: Diggz is free to join and post your profile. Your free membership includes the ability to ‘like’ an unlimited amount of profiles and begin up to five instant messages (without having to wait for a ‘like’ back).
If you need more instant messages or want the ability to filter matches by more specific criteria like neighborhood and profiles that are currently active, you might consider upgrading to the Digzz Premium membership which ranges from $14.99/week to $23.99/month.
Pros: Roomi is an app-based way to search for a roommate or list a room to rent. You can create a profile or search through others to look for possible roommate prospects. The app provides in-platform chat features so you can keep your personal information to yourself until you feel comfortable, as well as background checks that will flag someone with a history of harmful behavior. Another cool feature is the app will collect and transfer the first month’s rent to the appropriate person. Plus, Roomi is available in cities of all sizes so it’s not just for big-city dwellers.
Cons: Although many of the poor reviews are a few years old, the iOS app (at the time of this post’s publication) has a rating of 2.4 stars out of 5 with only a little more than 500 reviews.
Cost: The free version allows those renting out rooms to post up to two listings at a time and both room renters and those seeking a room can send up to five messages per day. If you want to list more than two rooms, have access to unlimited messages, or go through the ID verification and background check process so that your profile has the “fully verified” badge, you’ll need to upgrade your account to the Safety Bundle for $14.99 to $29.99/month.
Pros: Roomies is another site that allows you to either list a room or find a room for free. When you create your account, you specify your budget, gender (male, female, or other), and your situation (renting a room, looking for a room for yourself, as a couple, or with a group of friends).
Roomies walks you through best practices for setting up your profile and also gives tips on how to more safely move through the process of finding a roommate or renting out a room. Best of all, the site has features you can take advantage of to further boost your profile including ID verification, credit check, basic criminal background check, and a premium criminal background check. You pay for the services and then choose who to share your results with. Roomies even provides a free roommate agreement template for you to download.
Cons: It’s unclear if Roomies only supports major cities or can be used in a variety of areas.
Cost: Posting a room for rent or creating a profile and searching for a roommate are both free. If you’d like to boost your profile, you may choose to invest in the various identity verification features they offer. A basic ID check is $5, a credit check is $10, a basic criminal background check is $10 and a premium criminal background check is $40.
Pros: A standout feature of Roomster is that you can easily search by city, zip code, or address when looking for a roommate and you can use the desktop version or download the native mobile apps. Looking to move abroad? Roomster features listings in more than 190 countries. The platform also has a unique feature that allows users to connect their social media profiles from sites including Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and LinkedIn – which can help you create a more clear vetting process.
For pet-friendly (or adverse) seekers, profiles can be filtered based on pet preferences and users can obtain a “verified” badge by verifying with ID.
Cons: Beyond a simple identification check, Roomster doesn’t offer any additional background check options.
Cost: You may set up a profile, browse profiles and receive messages for free through Roomster but if you want to send or respond to messages or view any linked social media profiles, you’ll need to upgrade your subscription for $14.99/week or $29.95/month.
Pros: SpareRoom allows you to search by area or zip code based on your personal preferences and currently has a 4.4 out of 5-star rating on Trustpilot (with over 10,000 reviews.) The platform claims to help a new person find a room or roommate every three minutes and keeps a team of people working seven days a week to ensure they find sketchy profiles and delete them.
Cons: The site does not offer any ID verification or background check features.
Cost: You may post a profile, search and respond to free profiles at no cost but if you want access to all of the profiles and have your own profile get better visibility, you’ll need to upgrade your account. Subscription options are as follows: 7 days for $10.99, 14 days for $19.99, 28 days for $24.99, 6 months for $99, or one year for $139.
Pros: Roommates.com allows you to set up a profile and search for potential roommates through their website, iOS, or Android apps and also offers ways for people to verify their identity for your safety. You can get specific with what you’re looking for and then chat directly through the platform before deciding to exchange any personal details.
Cons: Although users can opt to verify by ID, the platform does not offer any additional background check options. Additionally, the iOS app currently has a rating of 1.5 stars with only 15 reviews – keep in mind, the app was launched at the end of 2021.
Cost: You may set up a profile and send messages for free through Roommates.com but if you want to read messages or use any of the other upgraded features, you’ll need to upgrade your account. You can try out the three-day option for $5.95, choose the two-week plan for $14.95, or pay $29.95/month.
Pros: Though perhaps not your traditional way of finding a roommate, Airbnb offers a lot of features that might just suit your needs. Many people offer rooms for rent through Airbnb, which can be rented for days, weeks, and sometimes months. You can set your preference by area, amenities, and cost so that you only receive matches that best fit your needs.
You’ll have free access to tons of listings, the ability to browse options either online or through an app, and read reviews of both the room and the host.
This option may be especially noteworthy for introverts who want the option to rent a small space but don’t necessarily want to hang out with a bunch of strangers. Another perk is that you can pay directly through the app and there are no additional membership fees to you as the renter.
Cons: Most listings are meant to be short term so the price per day or week may be a bit high compared to longer-term options found on other platforms, but you do have the option to negotiate longer stays if need be.
Cost: There is no membership cost to you as the renter (although taxes and cleaning fees may be an extra expense), but those who are renting out a room will have to pay a portion of the fees they collect to Airbnb.
Tips for finding a roommate
Don’t rush the process
Looking for a new roommate isn’t a process to rush. You’ll want to thoroughly vet the person (or persons) that you’re considering, take time to ask questions, and if you haven’t done so already, also find a suitable apartment, room, or home to share.
Ask for personal references
Though some of the apps mentioned include ID verification and background check features, sometimes these options don’t tell the whole story. Consider asking potential new roommates for personal references. Speaking with other people they know may help give you a more well-rounded understanding of this person, especially if the provided references are former roommates.
Meet multiple times
To make sure both you and your potential roommate are a good fit, consider meeting multiple times before making a decision to move forward. Doing so may help you both get a better idea of how well you will be able to get along if you start living together.
Ask the right questions
Don’t be afraid to ask questions and dig into the details of how living with your potential new roommate will work. Click here for our list of tough roommate conversations and how to have them.
Compare work/school schedules
If your potential roommate works all night and sleeps all day, while you’re in and out of the home taking classes, running errands, or your work from home, this could be a potential mismatch that leads to frustration in the future. One important aspect of sharing space with another person is making sure your schedules align.
Discuss dietary preferences
If your potential new roommate sticks to a strict vegan diet while you are a proud carnivore, this might be a potential problem in the future. Consider discussing food preferences and cooking expectations before choosing a new roommate.
Be upfront about cleaning expectations
Are you a neat freak? Do you expect everything to be tidy and in its place? Or do you leave clothes on the floor and don’t worry about leaving crumbs on the counter after buttering your morning toast? No matter how tidy you are, different cleanliness expectations may be a point of contention with your roommate. Discuss preferences in advance to avoid potential disagreements in the future.
Be upfront about monthly costs and financial expectations
Crucial and tough conversations are important when looking for a roommate – be sure to have discussions about monthly rent, due dates, how utility costs will be split, and how groceries will be purchased and shared.
Ask about payment history
If they’ve been perpetually late paying rent in the past, there’s a high chance those bad habits might carry into the future. Don’t be afraid to ask this kind of question to help curb any surprises in the future.
Put it all in writing
Once you’ve found a roommate you are comfortable with and have had all of the important conversations necessary, put it all in writing. Having a contract that you can fall back on will be crucial in working through any misunderstandings or disputes that arise before, during, or after living with a roommate.
Let the roommate search begin
Now that you have a more well-rounded understanding of all the platforms available to help you find a roommate, as well as some tips and tricks to make the process less daunting, it’s time to start your search. Get started by creating a profile, setting your preferences, and making connections. In a matter of time, you’ll find a compatible roommate that aligns with your wants and needs. And, once you’re ready to move in, we’re here for you with our top 10 tips for moving in with roommates.