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There are numerous methods of finding people looking to rent a room.  I’ll go over a few methods and my observations.  The first method is roommate subscription sites.  These sites are places where people looking for or have a place to rent post advertisements.  There are plenty of these sites out there, just Google “roommate sites.”  Some are better than others.  The one thing that stands out from one roommate site to another site is network value.  Network value is a term used to describe the number of users belonging to or using a certain service.  For example, when you want to sell something online you are going to go to eBay versus ubid.com because the shear number of registered users on eBay is far greater.  Thus, the likelihood of you finding a buyer for your item on eBay is greater. The same holds true for all these roommate subscription sites.  I found that certain roommate sites have higher network values than others resulting in more potential roommates than others.

Roommate Subscription Sites

These subscription sites pretty much work on the same basic principle.  You can make a profile and browse other profiles for free, but to send a potential roommate a message, you have to pay for the subscription service.  The recipient can read and reply messages only if they paid for the subscription.  If they didn’t pay for the subscription, they would receive a notification that they received new e-mail, but cannot read it.

One important note, these subscription services are not immune to scams, so be careful and trust your gut instinct about giving out sensitive information.  DO NOT give out bank account information.   Exchanging phone numbers or e-mail is generally safe.  I have given out such information in messages and nothing bad has happened to me yet.  I will let you know if something terrible happens to me.


Craigslist is another site where potential roommates look for a place to live since it’s free. Anyone interested in a post can reply, but since it’s a free service you get all kinds of people from all walks of life asking you about your place.  Craigslist can be like the wild wild west, untamed, rowdy, and uncertain.  I have had good luck with Craigslist after carefully reading the replies and asking questions.  Nothing terribly bad has happened to me yet, but I am careful of scammers.  I am weary of showing my place to anyone.  If you were suddenly robbed after showing the place to a potential roommate, you just got scammed.  Be Careful.

Paper Flyers

Before the days of the Internet people would post flyers and run ads in the local paper advertising a room to rent.  I have posted paper flyers displaying about my room for rent in college campuses and military bases.  I did get a few phone calls from prospective roommates.  However, none of them ended up moving in or even looking at the place due to scheduling conflicts and such.  I thought I would put this out here for people wondering if this method still gets any kind of responses from prospective roommates.  Here are some tips if you have to resort to paper flyer.  Put your flyer in high traffic areas and about eye level on bulletin boards.  Use large font size and keep the headline short.  Display a color image of the place you’re renting out.  List your phone number as the primary method of contact.  I usually list my Google voice number so that if  I get telemarketers or harassing phone calls, I can have Google voice direct numbers else where.  Sign up for up for a Google Voice account if you are thinking about placing your phone number out in the public.

Corporate Classified Advertisements

Lastly if you work in a large corporation, they often times have a corporate intranet where employees can post items for sale on the internal classified bulletin board.  Often times, there is a specific section on the classified bulletin where you find people advertising places to live and people looking for a place to live will contact that posted the place to live.  From my experience, there corporate classified bulletin boards are very competitive, meaning that the number of people seeking a place to live is modest in numbers compared to the number of people posting a place to live.  For this reason, I tend to avoid, the corporate classified advertisements.  Although, if you do find a roommate renter from these corporate classified bulletin boards, they tend to be extremely reliable and responsible.  They tend to be recent college graduates looking to split costs by living with roommates or looking for a short term place to live.

Final Thoughts

These are some common ways I have used to find roommates, but I did not list every method.  There are other online sources that serve college students and military personnel.  I have used some of them.  My thoughts on these are similar to roommate subscription sites.  They work, but it depends on the network value on how big the college campus or military base is.  And of course, you must live by a college or military base or you will not likely find these useful resources for finding roommates.  If you know of any ways of finding roommates, please leave a comment, as I would love to hear about it.

Roommate Source Advantages: Disadvantages:
Online roommate sources Ability to screen potential roommates via their created profile costs money
Tend to be more serious about finding a place to live sometimes limited to their message system
Craigslist Free No user profile
Lots of visibility High competition
Corporate Classified Free Not a lot of visibility
Moe likely to be reliable roommates May be living with a co-worker(see this post here)
Paper Flyers Free to post flyers Only limited to people passing by
Less likely to receive spam Have you actually spent time making the flyers
Some towns may have anti-flyer ordinances

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