There’s a lot of questions newbies have about finding roommates that I wrote an entire guidebook dedicated to this section. I rent out the individual rooms versus the whole house, hence the term “live-in landlord.”
The guidebook is available for FREE if you signed up for my e-mail list. The guidebooks are available for FREE on the right hand side tool bar. If you’ve read it and decide that renting out a room is for you, great! Lets go through the logistic of finding 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 never had experience with students, but I think it would depend on type of student you’re living with i.e. graduate or undergraduate. I feel that graduate students will be busier and be more studious as they might more involved in academia, such as being a teaching assistant on top of their school work.
Our first inclination is to inquire our circle of friends or acquaintances for 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 16 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 16 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. In fact, there’s a whole list of live-in landlord duties that I came up with. I can assure you that the issues with roommates is dwarfed by the financial gains from the rental income.
If you do go about using the internet to find roommates, here are some tools I use to protect my privacy.
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.
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.
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 to 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!
The same scam has a different twist as mentioned by one commenter.
WHAT’S THE AVERAGE DURATION A ROOM STAYS 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.
HAVING TROUBLE FINDING ROOMMATES?
Don’t worry, I’ve had this problem. Some readers have asked me how long it takes 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.