I’m assuming you’ve read the Quick Start Guide and finished the first step outlined in that guide. If you haven’t downloaded the guide, it’s available for FREE on the right hand side tool bar. If you’ve read it and decided that renting out a room is for you, great! Lets take the next step and find a roommate.
This seemingly little task seems to stump a lot of newbie “live-in landlords” whether it stems from the apprehension of living with someone they just met or they’re hesitant in sharing a part of their residence. These are all credible concerns and believe it or not I get asked this question all the time via my contact page.
In fact, I also get asked more specific questions such as whether or not students make good roommates or if renting out to a couple is a good idea. I’ve had my experiences with them and if you want my feedback, send me an e-mail.
But I’m going to be assuming you’re starting from square one and looking for reliable person to move in.
Our first inclination is to inquire our circle of friends or acquaintances to find roommates. After all, we know them and they seem trustworthy to rent a room to. However, I wrote a post addressing whether or not you should have friends renting a room from you. The bottom line is that when you’re renting out your spare room, it’s a business relationship between yourself and the renter and when you get friends involved and issues arise, it can potentially drive a wedge through your friendship.
OTHER SOURCES OF ROOMMATES
I previously mentioned that I had 10 different roommates(Yes, that’s not an exaggeration). With that many roommates, where did I find all my roommates?
Simple. The internet.
When I first started this ventures several years ago, I used roommates.com to land my first roommate. I liked this service(it’s a paid service) because you can screen and solicit roommates based on their profiles. In addition, it suggests matches based on your preference. I wrote a guide to starting out with roommates.com(I’m not getting any kind of kicks backs from roommates.com). I’m simply suggesting it as a source of roommates.
After getting more comfortable with the roommates I’ve met from the internet, I ventured to craigslist to find roommates. I almost always use roommates.com and craigslist in conjunction to list my spare room. I find the response rate much better when I post roommate advertisements on craigslist.
With 13 different roommates cycling through my spare rooms, it’s safe to say I’ve had a lot of experience with the logistical issues of renting out rooms and the issues that come along with roommates. The latter part is something that’s never detailed in the wikihow or about pages of renting out a room. I can assure you that the issues with roommates is dwarfed by the financial gains from the rental income. I didn’t know what to expect, but to dive head first when I started this endeavor several years ago.
I know some people don’t want to have roommates because they don’t want to loose their privacy. I wrote a post about the issue of privacy. If you’re completely adamant that you don’t want a roommate, consider other ways of making money with your property like these folks living along the interstate 95 corridor.
CREATING AN ADVERTISEMENT FOR YOUR ROOM
If you’re going with Craigslist to advertise your spare room, you’re going to have to create an advertisement. There’s a bit of a science to it and there’s also a bit of art. I’ve created several different advertisements for my room. I found out what works and what doesn’t work. What doesn’t work is taking a half fast approach and creating a one or two line advertisement. What also doesn’t work is creating a single paragraph detailing your spare room. I shared my though process on creating an optimal advertisement on Craigslist.
No matter which site you choose to advertise your spare room, they are still prone to scammers. I wrote a post about how to avoid getting scammed. The e-mails can be overwhelming, but it’s easy to weed through the scams and reply the legitimate e-mails. I had a reader almost fall for the trick, but luckily the reader found my post. This reader also shared an image of the fraudulent check from the scammer sent, which cool because I only know about how the scam works. The reader story should serve as a reminder to everyone to be alert!
WHAT’S THE AVERAGE LENTH DOES A ROOM STAY RENTED?
I keep records of my roommates as to when they moved in and when the moved out. The length of time a roommate stays varies and wrote a post about it.
ARE STRANGER BETTER ROOMMATES?
Looking back on the roommates I had, I think I’ve been lucky. I also think that strangers I met off the internet are better roommates than say if I asked one of my friends to move in.
HAVING TROUBLE FINDING ROOMMATES?
Don’t worry, I’ve had this problem. Its taken me anywhere from several days to 2 months to find a roommate and I’m not that picky. If you’re not faring well in the roommate hunt, here is some advice.
DON’T LIKE ROOMMATES, BUT WANT STILL WANT TO MAKE MONEY?
Think outside the box, literally, think outside your home. For folks fortunate enough to live in areas where parking is premium, your driveway maybe more of a sought after commodity than your spare room.