Finding a roomate online can seem like a daunting challenge for most. If you're living in an expensive metropolitan area like San Francisco, Miami, or even New York City -- odds are that you're struggling to pay the rent alone. Sharing the rent, the utilities, and splitting on that Friday night pizza makes economical sense, right? But where do you start trying to find a roomie? You could always turn to friends or faamily and see if anyone is looking for a new pad to share with you. Or, you could turn to the Internet. Let's explore a few popular options.
Perhaps one of the most popular ways of finding a roommate online, Craigslist has long been turned to by renters looking to fill spare rooms. The site is broken up into numerous region-specific iterations in order to link you up with the people closest to you. Posting and searching through ads are both easy and intuitive-- the interface is bare-bones and simple, but finding the perfect roomie has little to do with appearances.
The information included in each listing varies by poster, so don't get discouraged if you run into ads that leave you uncertain or concerned; finding the perfect request can be as simple as clicking on the next listing in line. Aim to make your own posts (and responses to post) detailed, friendly, and clear. It's up to you to determine what information you want to share or require before move-in, so consider what you want before delving into the site.
As of right now, Diggz only serves thirteen cities in the United States. If you're in a major metropolitan area, though, there's a good chance that you're in luck. Diggz allows you to view and post roommate advertisements in:
- New York
- Los Angeles
- San Francisco
- Washington DC
Because the Diggz community is smaller than that of, say, Craigslist, you're more likely to run into quality matches who are serious about getting settled into a new place. You can utilize great tools that allow you to filter potential matches based on a variety of factors-- interest in partying, sleeping habits, and other common points of contention can all be filtered based on your preferences.
Creating a profile on RoomieMatch is free-- other users will be able to message you, but you won't be able to take advantage of the site's curated roommate system without coughing up some change. Fortunately, the service only runs users about $20 a year; that $20 may feel a lot easier to fork over when you consider winding up with an ill-matched roommate.
The most sizable benefit of utilizing RoomieMatch to find a roommate comes down to the human element behind the site. Boards like those on Craigslist are often overrun with spam postings and scammers, but RoomieMatch is moderated by real people who flag and remove potential scams. You can also have information about potential matches sent straight to your email inbox.
Those in smaller cities might be out of luck if they're looking to hop on the site, though. RoomieMatch serves major metro areas across the U.S. and Canada, so small-town residents may need to look elsewhere for their perfect match.
Circle for Roommates
Circle isn't actually an online service-- it's a downloadable app that can best be viewed as "Tinder, but for roommates." The foundation of the service lies in the concept of having a circle of friends; Circle's creators believed that most of us are probably better off moving in with friends (or friends of friends) than total strangers.
Because of this, the Circle app matches you up with potential roomies straight from your Facebook friends list. All you have to do is log in using your Facebook account, share your location, ask your friends to do the same, and let the app do the grunt work for you. You'll be able to sort and swipe through friends-- doling out likes and dislikes accordingly-- until you've found your perfect match.
Profiles on Circle feature short write-ups and a handful of personality tags meant to help you determine whether you're compatible with potential roommates. If you're in New York City or Los Angeles, it's a great way to link up with people that you may already know and trust before moving in.
One of the primary benefits of Roomster lies in its scope-- the website is a global roommate finder that offers listings in cities and suburbs. Users are highly encouraged to connect their social media and other personal accounts to their Roomster profile, which can afford you some peace of mind. You'll be able to peruse prospects' Facebooks, LinkedIns, and Instagrams to get a better sense of compatibility before sending a message.
Posting listings and receiving messages on Roomster is free, but you'll need a subscription if you want to send messages or view social media profiles. Three-day trials are available for about $6, two-week subscriptions are $14.95, and a four-week run will cost you $29.95.
Roomi is yet another curated, forward-thinking roommate matchmaking service. You can pick up the app for both Android and iOS systems and take advantage of the peace of mind that the service's background checks offer. There's no need to worry about running into scammers or questionable characters when you seach for roommates on Roomi-- users who have completed each required verification steps have a readily-visible badge displayed on their profiles.
Another great benefit to Roomi is that the app will transfer your roommate's portion of rent on move-in day. No more worrying about dodgy flakes or a lack of funds-- Roomi handles the nitty gritty so that you can focus on forming connections and getting your new home organized. The app is free to use, but there are payment options for increasing listing exposure.
If you're a member of the LGBTQ+ community, Rainbow Roommates may offer you solutions that you never knew you needed. The roommate finder is specifically designed to serve LGBTQ+ individuals in New York City neighborhoods. It'll run you $140 for ninety days' worth of access to listings, but peace of mind and safety can hardly be overlooked when you're factoring costs. Creating your own listing is totally free.
The site claims that it helps most users find a new place to crash within two weeks. Due to the nature of their services, it's not infrequent that potential roommates are looking to find someplace to live on a tight deadline; Rainbow Roommates can serve as a lifeline for those who are struggling or displaced due to their association with the LGBTQ+ community.
Reddit is much like Craigslist-- it's a free-for-all site that requires thick skin and some effort on users' parts. The site isn't only for room listings, so you'll need to know where to look if you're hoping to luck into the perfect roommate. Users can wade through local subforums (called subreddits) to find accommodations; some larger cities like New York even have rental-specific subreddits.
One upswing to using Reddit lies in the site's versatility. After you've found the perfect roommate, you can head to other parts of the site for great tips on moving and getting settled in your new living situation. Get bored while you're picking through listings and profiles? Take a break and click away to a random subreddit for a burst of entertainment before getting back to work.
PadMapper isn't a roommate-specific service. It does offer a free map-based interface that's perfect for locating apartments and homes in specific areas, though. You'll be able to see a comprehensive list of people looking to fill up available rooms with roommates-- the site aggregates listings from numerous sources like Apartment Search and AirBNB, so there's plenty of variety to be found here.
The only downside to PadMapper is that it doesn't allow the space for folks to stretch their creative muscles and share about themselves. Other roommate-specific sites let you see profiles and get a feel for the character of somebody without even needing to send a message; you'll have to put in your own work to form connections and learn about potential roommates if you try your luck on PadMapper.
Roommates.com serves cities nationwide, which already places it a step ahead of more location-specific services. The site relies on an automated matching algorithm that's meant to help weed out irrelevant listings-- you're left with only the listings which are most relevant to your search. One of the primary benefits of Roommates.com comes down to its age-- the site is well-established, so there's often a wide pool of people to select from.
Creating a profile is free, but full access (which includes helpful features like messaging) will run you anywhere from six to thirty dollars depending on the length of the subscription.
There are a host of online roommate finding services that renters and rentees alike can take advantage of. Whether you're located in a big city and can leverage access to location-specific services like Rainbow Roommates and Diggz or you'll have to rely on services with broader coverage, finding a roommate doesn't need to be difficult. Understanding how to leverage free services like those offered by Craigslist and Reddit can also help save you cash while you're on the quest to find the perfect roomie.
Launching in February 2020, VerticalRent Community will be unveiled to the public. Since 2011, VerticalRent has amassed over 50,000 landlords and renters from all 50 states. Community will be a free service to renters across the United States to match themselves with other potential renters in their geographic proximity based on factors such as cleanliness, interests, budget, and lifestyle goals. An intelligence layer is built into the service that provides automatic matching to weed out irrelevant roommate matches. In addition, renters will be able to list rooms for rent in their existing apartment and use VerticalRent's award-winning applicant screening engine to obtain criminal, eviction, and criminal reports. Upon finding a roomate match, Community provides renters with a built-in roommate agreement where all parties can agree to terms, negotiate their share of the rent, and digitally sign. The first all-in-one solution for renters, VerticalRent has re-defined how renters engage with one another while bringing a higher level of safety to the equation through its proprietary badging system.
Get in touch with us today for more information on the wealth of online roommate finders that modern renters have at their fingertips. No matter the reason for your quest for information, our team is well-equipped to tackle your questions and provide helpful, actionable tips and support.
About the author
Matt Angerer is the Founder and President of VerticalRent. He enjoys writing on a variety of topics that help Landlords, Property Managers, and Renters across America. He is particularly interested in helping renters understand their local marketplace, pick the best places to live, and find an awesome roommate. Since 2011, VerticalRent has grown to service over 100,000 landlords and renters across America.