As a property management company in Los Gatos, we know how to find roommates. We’ve seen many of our tenants find great roommates, and others find roommates who were not that perfect fit. It’s unlikely that you’ll end up with a roommate that is dangerous, but if you aren’t careful about your screening process, you can find one who is unsuitable. A roommate is a great way to live in an area that you might not be able to afford normally. By splitting rent with another, you’ll be able to live in a beautiful, spacious home in a great neighborhood.
Where to Find a Roommate?
The obvious first place you can look for a roommate is Craigslist, but there are other websites out there specifically used to find a person to room with in your apartment. One of those is Roomiematch.com and another is Roommates.com. Rommiematch claims to weed out scammers by scanning each individual ad placed by anyone visiting the site. That certainly isn’t the case with a site like Craigslist. The method you choose won’t influence the next steps you take. Use the website that feels the best or use them all.
Details of the Post
Before throwing your advertisement onto any site, you’ll want to take some time to craft the perfect post. If you were looking for an apartment, this should be the one you’d respond to immediately. Don’t use obnoxious arrows, all caps or asterisks to make your point in the ad. Include all the details that made you rent the apartment in the first place. Make sure you mention the amenities like a dishwasher, laundry on site or distance to restaurants.
Pictures of the Apartment
Always include pictures of the apartment as well as the outside of the building. Take wide-angle shots of the bedroom they’ll be occupying, but don’t forget other areas of the home. Common areas like the kitchen, bathroom and living room should be included in the advertisement. Don’t include fuzzy, dark photographs in your ad. The pictures should make the apartment look bright and inviting.
Location of the Apartment
You never want to lie about the location of the apartment. That might get you some initial interest, they’ll be visiting the apartment eventually and will know it was a lie. You should lead with your experience with the neighborhood. Give them some details about what you love. Let them know what’s nearby that might be attractive including distance to transportation, restaurants or laundry facilities.
As property managers in Los Gatos, we see many roommates who get along as if they have lived together for years. We’ve seen some roommates who grow to dislike each other over time. It begins with the screening process. When placing your advertisement, let the person know about you. Write down a few your favorite things including television shows, things you do after work and hobbies you might have. If you’re looking for a roommate who is quiet and reserved, mention that in the ad, so you don’t get party animals trying to rent your extra bedroom.
Meeting the Potentials
Once you’ve started to receive some responses to your ads, correspond with them a few times by email before speaking. This is almost like a dating process. You don’t want to waste anyone’s time by seeing people who are not suitable for your apartment. You can give them the address for them to do their own Google Map search of the area before they visit too.
Questions to Ask
At some point, you’ll have to ask what they do for a living to determine whether they can pay rent. You don’t want to have a roommate who isn’t able to come up with their portion each month. Ask about prior roommate experiences. You’ll likely get the same questions asked of you too. Take note of how they respond. If they launch into a rant about their former roommates, this isn’t a great sign for the future of your compatibility as roommates even if this person was the right. Learn what they do in their free time. This is much like dating before immediately moving in with someone. You have to be particular about who you allow into the apartment.
What to Avoid
If you want a quiet roommate, avoid one who is loud and obnoxious. It’s not a bad idea to buy a background check service for potential roommates. You could have them provide half the money for it. It would show their seriousness about moving in with you. Ensure that you’re compatible with your new roommate. If you’re looking for a friend, learn whether they just want a place to crash at night with no interaction. It’ll help you avoid disappointment.
Learning how to find roommates is the easy part. The hard part is weeding through the unsuitable ones to find a great roommate who you’ll be happy living with for years. Do as much screening as possible with your ad, and don’t forget to do a background check if you have any lingering doubts about their ability to pay. Our property management company has seen many happy roommate situations, so we know it’s possible to find the perfect roommate.