Ever wonder about using a website like Craigslist to find a roommate online? Well, if you’ve ever searched on Google for the term “Roommate Finder” or “Best Free Roommate Site” there’s a good chance you saw a local listing from Craiglist in the results.
In my roommate guide 8 Steps to Finding and Moving in With the Perfect Roommate I talk about how you can search for and evaluate the best roommate finder website to use for your local area.
If Craigslist turned out to be your only choice, you’re in luck. In this guide, I’m going to provide you with everything you need to know for writing and responding to roommate wanted ads on Craigslist. You’ll learn how to do this in a very safe and smart way. Thus, getting rid of flakes or worse that creepy feeling you might get with the idea of using Craigslist to find a roommate.
You’ll learn how to do this in a very safe and smart way. Thus, getting rid of flakes or worse that creepy feeling you might get with the idea of using Craigslist to find a roommate.
Let’s get started! By the way, you can use these tips for any website where you can post a text ad, and it does not have to be just Craigslist!
Quick Note: I highly recommend you check out the following self-help books for being a tenant and having roommates. It’s super important to know your rights and be educated. Nolo Tenant and Roommate Books
Step 1: Create your account for posting and responding to ads
Create an account on Craigslist by clicking the “My Account” link just below where you see the option for creating a post. It will ask for a user ID and your e-mail address. All communications through the site are anonymous, so you can feel safe using your real email address, or just use a fake one.
When you post an ad, Craigslist will send an e-mail with a hyperlink referencing the ad to your inbox (e-mail address of your account) with a confirmation. Make sure your spam filter on your inbox does not block this from coming in, or you may have to check your spam folder.
Quick tip: You should take that hyperlink, and use it to share out with your colleagues and friends, this could also help bring in a potential referral for a new roommate. You can also share it on Social Media or send out a message.
When you respond to an ad you’ll notice there is a temporary e-mail address in the To: Field, make sure you don’t check the option to use your real address. It will make you appear not anonymous anymore, and you also increase the chances that a spammer might get your real email address.
Step 2: Decide if you want to use your real phone number or an anonymous one
Before meeting a new potential roommate, you’ll want to speak to them on the phone. It’s perfectly OK to you use your real phone number if you get a good feeling for your new potential roommate. Especially, after your first few e-mail messages.
But what if you are not sure yet about sharing your real phone number?
If you are not sure, then I recommend signing up for a free phone number from Google Voice and then forwarding those calls to your cell phone.
After you talk on the phone, you can decide to proceed further or not by setting up a meeting to view the property. Then you can share your real phone number only if you end up being roommates!
Step 3: Have great photos!
Having great pictures of the room, house, or yourself is a must for making a great first impression.
High-quality photos for your “Room for Rent” ad is a must. You know what they say, a picture speaks 1,000 words. So by having a minimum of four decent photos posted, you’ve expressed to the viewer you are serious about finding someone, and you are not hiding anything that looks shady.
To capture professional looking photos of the room you have for rent, you’ll want to have an open and clean area for the picture. With as much natural light as possible from a nearby window (don’t forget to open up those shades!).
Feel free to take pictures of the kitchen, bathroom, backyard or anything else that will attract someone for renting the room. One time, I even took photos of the downtown area of the city I was living in, those pictures are what got the new person’s attention.
When responding or posting an ad, it’s not a bad idea to have a personal picture of yourself too! Keep it fun and professional, and a face picture is probably best, maybe a picture you’d use on LinkedIn.
If you’re not comfortable showing a photo, that is OK too, lots of people still meet new roommates without seeing a picture of the other person.
Quick tip: Craigslist will compress your photos when you upload them, so make sure you take high-quality ones from your digital camera.
Next, we’ll go over some roommate ad examples!
Step 4: Creating an ad
Review these following examples as a guide only, defiantly spend the time to write an original ad that matches your personality. That will help potential roommates reading it get to know the real you.
I created two example ads below.
The first is an ad for advertising a room that is available for rent and the second will be for someone looking for a roommate (aka roommate wanted ad).
A Room is For Rent Example Ad
For this first example, I’ve created an “A Room for Rent” ad posting. Pictures are required if you are to get any decent responses. Make sure to include at least four decent looking photos that highlight the room for rent, bathroom, kitchen, and the yard, etc.
Talk about the location, your ideal living arrangement and any features that set it apart from the other listings, like being close to downtown or public transportation.
Here is the start of the ad.
Seeking a new roommate to share a three bed/two bath house!
I’m a 30-year-old professional male who is currently renting a three bed/two bath home that is 1200 square feet. I’m seeking a new roommate who will occupy the spare bedroom (12X10 feet). It also includes a private remodeled bathroom (see pics!) and a big closet.
The house has an updated kitchen with a decent yard for entertaining. Parking is plentiful and close to all public transportation. This place is ideal for a commuter going to the city! I’m a non-smoker, but smoking outside is just fine with me, and I am 420 friendly too.
There is also indoor laundry, so no trips to the laundromat!
The total move-in cost is $1,100 (Rent is $600 per month; Deposit is $500). The utilities will be an additional $80 per month. It includes cable TV, high-speed internet, water, garbage, and gas/electric.
Total monthly costs with utilities will run $680 per month unless one of the utility bills has a sudden price increase.
Please e-mail me for details, and please look at the pictures!
This is the end of the example ad.
Roommate Wanted Example Ad
In this second example, I’ve created a “Roommate Wanted” ad. Your ad should include personal information about yourself, the location you are looking for, the type of space that is ideal, and maybe a personal photo of yourself. Overall, you want to put some personality into it so that you can attract a compatible roommate.
Here is the start of the ad.
Looking to share a new place with a new roommate!
My name is Cindy, and my lease is ending at the end of the month. I’m looking for a new place in a safe neighborhood that is close to downtown and the bus lines. I’d like my next place to have plenty of street parking for guests, but I don’t require my own parking spot.
My budget for living expenses can’t go over $1,000 a month. With this tight budget, it will be hard to get a place with two bathrooms, so sharing one is fine with me. But, I’d prefer to find a place with my own bathroom if possible.
I live best with someone who is smoke-free, doesn’t use drugs, is good at cleaning and responsible! I hate paying the bills or rent late. You should have a job and be professional. I also don’t want to live multiple roommates, just myself and one other roomy (two people in the place total)! I am okay with overnight guests since I also like having my boyfriend over.
If this sounds good to you, send a message. Thanks! We can exchange pics or Facebook profiles after an initial conversation.
This is the end of the example ad.
After you post your ad get ready to respond to the various responses that you’ll get. Next, we’ll discuss how to respond to an ad.
Step 5: Communicating via e-mail
Replying to an ad:
When you respond to an ad make sure your first e-mail message is short and concise. Highlight a few things you liked about the listing such as the room in the picture or the location.
Responding to someone’s e-mail:
When responding to someone’s e-mail, it’s also best to keep it short and concise. Have fun with the conversation and find out as much as you can about the person and why they’re looking for a roommate.
Whether you’re responding to an ad or replying to someone’s e-mail message. It’s a very good idea to mention a few things that convey your personality and what it might be like living with you.
Are you a clean freak or somewhat organized? Mention it! If you feel good about this other person, proceed to meet them.
Before living with a new roommate, you should review my other guides first. Check out The Secrets to Pain-Free Living With a Roommate! and 7 Roommate Secrets for Living with the Opposite Sex! for more information.
For a long time, Craigslist has been the only real option once Newspaper Classified Ads went out of style in the late 1990’s. Believe it or not, I found my first roommate in a newspaper ad. Wow, how things have changed.
I hope you enjoyed this guide, make sure to sign-up for my e-mail list on the top right for more updates, I publish about two articles a month.