I received an e-mail this week from a reader feeling discouraged from the lack of responses to his roommate advertisement. His initial e-mail didn’t state how long his advertisements were online for, but after following up, his advertisements were “live” for about a week and half. Now, a week and half isn’t a terrible long time to go without any responses. I’ve had one of my bedrooms go empty for a few months. It’s just the nature of the business and an important reason why you shouldn’t rely heavily on the rental income.
So here’s my thoughts to this reader, which may apply to anyone that’s in this situation:
- Your timing may not always be perfect. As in the case with this reader, he’s looking for a roommate when the holidays are right around the corner. This is probably the least likely time anyone wants to move unless they’re in some unusual (dire) circumstance. I’m not saying people never move, but if you ask any realtor when the slowest times are for them, 99% of them will say it’s during the holiday season. With that fact, there’s some positive correlation between the slow real estate sales and turnover on roommates. The beginning of the New Year and the springtime are more likely times roommates will be searching for places to live. Coincidentally, this is when college semesters are finishing. In fact, looking back on my roommate records, I’ve had the most roommates move in the months June and September.
- Revise your advertisement. Have you ever scanned cnn.com or other news sites and clicked on a headline because it sounded interesting? Well that’s exactly what you want to do when you create a headline for a craigslist advertisement. Create a clear concise headline so that potential roommates want to click on it and read more. Also when you create the body of the advertisement, make the body easy to scan using hyphens as bullet points(craigslist doesn’t allow bullets) to create punch lines. This is very important because a potential roommate will be looking at ton of advertisements and if you make it difficult, ie time consuming to read, it’s going to get the pass by. I noticed that my new reader friend left out some important details such as the term. Leaving critical information from the advertisement is sometimes a costly mistake too. In this specific case, he left off the term of the room rental. If you omit vital information, it forces the potential roommate to inquiry via e-mail or telephone to find out more. Guess what?, you just created more work for your roommate and a barrier for this potential roommate.
Keep some of these pointers in mind when responses are sparse. Use your good judgment and you may perhaps find a roommate in no time.