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A lot of people have e-mailed me about how to find roommates.   When I first started years ago, I used roommates.com as my sole medium to land my first several roommates.  Since then, I’ve listed roommate advertisements on all possible sites.  This is because I’ve developed confidence in my screening process to find reliable roommates and most importantly, to weed out the scammers.

I feel that for anyone starting out, roommates.com is a good place to start because

  1. You have the ability to prescreen roommates based on their profile.  If they seem like a fit, you can send them an e-mail introducing yourself and take it from there.
  2. It has a relatively large network value, meaning there’s a large user base such that you’ll find a roommate.  I live in a suburban area and have had luck with the service.  So if you live in an urban area, you’re likely to have more responses than me.

Roommates.com is a pay site, but it is free to sign-up and to browse profiles.  You only have to pay for a subscription of either: 3 days, 30 days or 60 days if you want to READ messages in your inbox or to view their comments section of their profile.  I wrote a detailed post on how to get started with roommates.com here.

With roommates.com being a pay for site, it doesn’t mean it’s not susceptible to scammers.  In fact, I think there are scammers anywhere on the internet where money can exchange hands.  For information on weeding out scammers, read this post here.

  • Austin March 14, 2012, 10:49 pm

    Hi, I’m a high school student taking a finance course in Singapore American School.

    I really plan on doing something like this since not only do I earn money from rent, I can always enjoy company. But for something like this, I do have a few concerns. What happens when you have a fight with a roommate. If the person starts throwing a tantrum he could potentially ruin your house! And if he starts to give you problems what then? Since he has already paid you can’t really kick him out of your house, right? And what if he refuses to pay rent and refuses to move out? Since it’s your house I doubt you have a security guard at the ready. If you called the police and had him dragged out because of his disruptful behavior, couldn’t he later file a lawsuit since he’s already paid? There are just so many possible negative scenarios that could play out. But I really do hope I can do something like this or something similar, so please could you give me some advice?

    • Mike March 15, 2012, 5:37 pm

      Hi, would hope that your roommate would act in a more civilized manner rather than throwing a tantrum or physical violence. It’s certainly a risk, but I’ve never experienced any physical violence. If such events did occur, calling law enforcement officers, would certainly be the best option.

      As far as lawsuit go since he has already paid, I can’t say for sure if it would result in a lawsuit, but if I were in that situation, I would try to resolve it between the two of use rather than taking matters to court.

  • Joanna June 9, 2012, 10:43 am

    I have been renting a spare bedroom in my house on a short-term basis for several years now and never had a problem, although I am always mindful that things can happen. The best way to protect yourself is to trust your best judgment about the potential renter. If you feel on a gut level that something is off, don’t rent to that person. I do not advertise at all. I only respond to ads on Craigslist. This way I can choose the ads I respond to. You can tell a lot about the person from the way his or her ad is written. I only respond to ads that are polite, respectful, there are no signs of desperation or distress, no “chores in exchange for reduced rent” deals, and no ALL CAPS ads. I also respond to ads that reveal the right amount of relevant information about the potential renter, i.e., reason for renting, ability to pay, cleanliness habits, work schedule, social habits. I will not respond to cryptic ads which disclose no personal information at all. Another no-no is too much personal or irrelevant information. For example, if a potential roomate looks to rent “from females only” and describes himself as “good looking,” or any other quality that has nothing to do with his ability to pay rent or being a responsible tenant, it is a red flag. I also avoid renting during the winter time, when there is an increased risk of an injury because of snow or ice. So far it has worked out fine for me and I have been able to get top dollar for my one spare bedroom.


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