Craigslist and beyond: How to find a roommate online

Long ago, it was the classifieds or the grocery store bulletin board. Then it was Craigslist. Today, the quest for a roommate has expanded to specialized websites that make the search a whole lot easier.

Whether you have a room to rent or need one, these sites can help you meet the tenant or landlord of your dreams. Or at least someone whose lifestyle meshes with yours.

Not all these sites offer their services for free. But when you’re sharing a roof for several months or longer, it might be worth $20 to find a roommate who meets your criteria.

Here are some of the top players:


Roommates: Looking to share space with a 33-year-old non-smoking professional female? You can probably find one here. This site provides detailed information on people looking for or offering space to rent, including a photo, basic facts, the maximum amount they’re willing to pay and the date they’d like to move or have space available. Not unlike some popular dating sites, you can browse potential matches for free and even send emails, but a fee is required to read their responses. It ranges from $6 to $30, varying with the amount of time you want to stay active on the site.


Roomiematch: Similar name, similar concept as Roommates. It takes a little longer to get active on this site, but that’s because each proposed listing is personally reviewed for potential scams and other issues. This site even collects behavioral information and provides scores to help determine how potential roommates will get along. It allows some basic searching at no cost, but $20 buys you access to your matches’ contact info for a year.


Facebook: Sometimes the unconventional works. While none of your friends may need or have a room, one of their friends just might. Post your available space or need for a room, and you’ll likely be surprised to see how many times it’s shared and re-shared. Look for local groups where people dish on neighborhood news — sometimes they’re the best way to find a match in the area you’re looking for.


Nextdoor: If you haven’t discovered Nextdoor yet, you probably should. This private social network lets you read posts and chat with neighbors from either your immediate area, or a wider circle of adjacent neighborhoods. Not only will you learn about crimes, lost pets and wildlife sightings, there’s a Classifieds section. Post a room for rent here or a note that you’re looking for a place. Since everyone on the site has to verify their address and use their name, Nextdoor is fairly safe and scam-free.


Reddit: In many cities, you’ll find a subreddit dedicated to housing. You can post or read the posts here.


Craigslist: We’d be remiss if we didn’t include the internet’s original online classifieds section. While the site’s free and open philosophy has made it appealing to scammers, it still gets plenty of legitimate postings. Keep an open mind, but use common sense and give Craigslist’s Avoiding Scams section a quick read before delving in.


Padmapper: Created by two guys with 13-plus years of renting history, this site charts available units on a map. Click on a red balloon in the area you desire to see the rate, photos, basic info, and when the ad was posted. Want to add your own balloon to the map? The Post A Pad function is easy and free.

This is by no means an all-encompassing list. If you’re serious about finding your soulmate version of a landlord or tenant, get as many eyes on your ad as you can. Post on all these sites – and more. Then screen carefully. Request references, perhaps even a credit check. And lastly – if all those things check out – sign that lease.




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