How To Find a Roommate Online and Offline

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So, you’ve started your roommate search. That’s part exciting, part scary, but definitely a big step. I mean, where do you even start looking? You’ve got online platforms that are super easy to use, local ads that can be surprisingly helpful and don’t forget your circle of friends and family. Each shade of roommate finder has its vibe and perks.

Whether you’re all about scrolling through profiles online or chatting up friends to see if they know someone, let’s get straight into it and find you a roommate that clicks with your life.

Online Roommate Finder Services

Thank goodness online platforms exist — each of them offers something a little different and their roommate databases are extensive and easily accessible, just a few clicks away. They’re like the Swiss Army knives of the roommate search world and all you have to do is think about what matters most to you and set the search filters to those criteria. And, given the detailed profiles they accommodate, you can say goodbye to surprises. You get to know more about potential roommates before you even meet.

What’s the best roommate finder, you ask? As I said, there are a lot of options out there, most of them entirely free, and each has its unique features. To make your life easier, here’s a quick rundown of some popular platforms:

CraigslistHuge classifieds section, global reachFree
DiggzFocuses on lifestyle compatibility, serves 27 U.S. cities and countingFree, with premium options
RoomiRequires identity verification and covers major U.S. citiesFree, with premium options
RoomieMatchModerated postings, matchmaker systemFree, with a premium version, $20/year
RoomiesPeer-to-peer platform, direct messagingFree, with paid verification add-ons
RoommatchCompatibility quiz for matchmakingFree
Roommates.comAutomated matching system, nationwide serviceFree, with paid membership options
RoomsterGlobal listings, social media connectivityPaid, disguised as free
RoomsurfCollege roommate finder; includes a matching quizFree, with premium messaging
SpareRoomHuman-moderated, busy platformFree, with premium access

Create a Good Profile on Roommate Finder Platforms

So, you’ve picked a platform. Nice! But before you start your roommate search, let’s talk about your profile. It’s the first thing potential roommates see, and it’s your chance to make a solid first impression.

  • Honesty is key, so be real about who you are. Love late-night gaming sessions? Say it. Prefer quiet evenings with a book? That’s important too. Your lifestyle, habits and what you’re looking for in a roomie should be crystal clear.
  • Find the sweet spot between giving enough info so people get a sense of who you are, but not so much that it feels overwhelming. Stick to the essentials: your routine, cleanliness habits, work schedule and any deal-breakers like a no-pets policy.
  • Wanna stand out? A dash of creativity can go a long way. If you’re into photography, mention your love for capturing moments. More of a plant enthusiast? Talk about your indoor garden. These unique bits can make your profile more memorable.
Be specific.
Instead of saying ‘I’m easygoing,’ describe what that means for you. Maybe you’re all about having a chill vibe at home or you’re flexible with guests.
Keep things like your full address or personal contact details private. Safety first.
Show your personality.
Love quirky board games or have a passion for hiking? Mention it. It might just spark interest from someone who shares your hobbies.
Be negative.
Avoid focusing on bad past roommate experiences. Keep the tone positive and forward-looking.

Roommate Search on Social Media and by Networking

Never undervalue the help your circle of friends can give when you’re on the hunt for a new roommate. It’s like having a whole team playing matchmaker for you. There are several ways you can tap into this goldmine, so take your pick.

How To Find a Roommate on Facebook and LinkedIn

Post about your search and ask friends to share. You never know who in your extended network is looking for a place. Facebook groups can be especially useful — like virtual bulletin boards full of potential roommates.

How To Look for a Roommate in Local Community Groups

Join local community forums and groups in your area, for instance, Nextdoor. This greatly narrows down the search area so you can more easily find someone nearby who’s also seeking a roommate.

Roommate Search via Word of Mouth

Sounds old school, but it’s gold. Tell your friends, family, colleagues and even your barista that you’re looking for a roommate. Personal recommendations can lead to trustworthy connections.

Exercise Due Diligence

Just because you find a potential roommate through a friend doesn’t mean you should skip the vetting process. Ask questions, meet in person — always in a public place — and even check out their social media profiles to get a better feel of their lifestyle.

How To Find a Roommate via Local Classifieds and Listings

Sometimes, the old ways are still the best ways. Scouting local ads, both digital and paper-based, can be a goldmine when you’re on the hunt for roommates. Start with your city or neighborhood newspapers and continue with bulletin boards in local community centers, libraries, coffee shops and grocery stores.

Negotiating and Communicating Through Classifieds

The way you communicate can make a huge difference and handling responses to your classified ad is a skill in itself.

  • Be clear and specific when crafting your ad. Describe the space, the rent and any must-have qualities for your potential roommate. Use keywords that resonate with your ideal roommate’s qualities — like “quiet” “clean” or “pet-friendly”.
  • Each inquiry deserves a personalized response. Acknowledge something specific they mentioned in their message. This shows you’re attentive and starts building a connection right off the bat.
  • Go beyond the basics and ask about their experiences with previous roommates or what they do in their free time. If they’re hesitant to discuss their work, lifestyle or why they’re looking for a new place, it might be a red flag.
  • Be upfront about your non-negotiables. If you’re not okay with late-night parties or smoking inside, say it early in the conversation.
  • Pay attention to how they talk about past living situations. Are they respectful and understanding, or do they blame others? Their attitude can be a strong indicator of future behavior.
  • Always put safety first and keep personal details minimal. As mentioned above, arrange initial meetings in public places only. Consider bringing a friend along, why not?
  • Be wary of responses that seem too good to be true or too vague. Trust your instincts. If unsure, ask a friend or family member to take a look and share their opinion.

Campus Resources for Your Roommate Search (Students Only)

If you’re a student, Roomsurf may have caught your eye earlier in the list of online platforms, but your campus is actually a prime spot for finding roommates. You get to share your living space AND your college experience. You just have to know where to look.

  • Start with university housing services. Universities understand best what student schedules and needs are. Lots of places give you a hand with roommate-finding services, linking you up with other students who need a place to stay.
  • Check out physical bulletin boards around campus. Not sure where to find them? Try in common areas and student unions. They’re often filled with ads from students looking for roommates.
  • Get involved with student organizations. Even if you’re not in the mood for much chatter, joining these groups can be a great way to find like-minded folks who might just make perfect roommates.

While you’re still trying to figure out who your roommate is going to be, staying organized during your roommate search can make the process easier. Find a way to keep track of responses and set realistic timelines so that you don’t lose your cool along the way.

  • Jump into the roommate search about a month ahead. This way, you’re not scrambling last minute and making choices you might regret later.
  • Not finding the right fit right away? No stress. It might mean you’ve got to hang in there a bit longer or maybe change up what you’re looking for. Being flexible can sometimes lead you to unexpected, but great, matches.
  • Scribble down who you’re chatting with, their contact details and a couple of notes about them — like “loves to cook” or “big on cycling”. This way, you’re not mixing up details and can see who’s who at a glance.
  • Sort candidates, for instance, “yes”, “maybe” and “not really”. It helps you zero in on the folks you’re most interested in first.

When you’ve finally found your perfect roommate, read our guide to moving in with your roommate to help that transition!

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