Steps to SAFELY Find a Roommate on Craigslist

find a craigslist roommate

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 Craigslist in the results.

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 safely writing and responding to roommate wanted ads on Craigslist.

Thus, getting rid of that creepy feeling you might get with the idea of using Craigslist to find a roommate.

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.

Let’s get started!

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 using a fake one.

Be Careful About Your Spam Filter

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.

A 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.

Don’t Accidentally Check Use Your Real Email Address

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 email address. It will make your email address 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 for you to use your real phone number if you get a good feeling about 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 whether to proceed further or not by setting up a meeting. Afterward, if you decide to be roommates, then share your real phone number.

Step 3: Having Great Photos Is a Must For a Craigslist Roommate Ad

Whether you are posting a “Room Wanted” or a “Room for Rent” ad, having good photos is a must.

Photos For a “Room For Rent” Craigslist Ad

High-quality photos for your “Room for Rent” ad are 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.

Photos For a “Room Wanted” Craigslist Ad

When posting a “Room Wanted” ad, it’s not a bad idea to have a personal picture of yourself! Keep it fun and professional. A face picture is probably best, maybe a picture you’d use on LinkedIn.

Having a photo of yourself will greatly increase your chances of getting a response to your ad for wanting to rent a room from somebody.

If you’re not comfortable showing a photo, that is OK too, lots of people still meet new potential roommates without seeing a picture of the other person.

A quick tip: Craigslist will compress your photos when you upload them, so make sure you take high-quality ones from your digital camera or smartphone.

Next, we’ll go over some roommate ad examples!

Step 4: Create a Roommate Craigslist Ad

Review the following examples as a guide only, definitely spend the time to write an original ad that matches your personality. That will help potential roommates 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 room (room wanted ad).

A “Room For Rent” Example Ad

For this first example, I’ve created an “A Room for Rent” ad posting. Pictures are required if you want to get any decent responses.

Make sure to include at least four decent looking photos that highlight the room for rent, bathroom, kitchen, 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 “Room For Rent” example 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/electricity.

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 “Room For Rent” example ad.

Room Wanted Example Ad

In this second example, I’ve created a “Room Wanted” ad.

Your “room wanted” ad should include some information about yourself, the location you are looking for, the type of living 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 “Room Wanted” example 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 (room) to rent in a safe neighborhood that is close to the downtown area 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 rent and living expenses can’t go over $1,000 a month.

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 is responsible!

I also don’t want to live with multiple roommates, just myself and one other roomy (two people in the place total)! I am okay with overnight guests.

If this sounds good to you, send me a message. Thanks! We can exchange pics or Facebook profiles after an initial conversation.

This is the end of the “Room Wanted” 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 Safely via Email

When responding to someone’s e-mail, it’s also best to keep it short and concise.

To ensure your safety, always communicate anonymously until you are ready to reveal your real name, email, or phone number.

Have fun with the conversation and find out as much as you can about the other 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.

Final Thoughts

For a long time, Craigslist has been the only real option for finding a roommate once newspaper classified ads went out of style in the late 1990s. Believe it or not, I found my first roommate in a newspaper ad. Wow, how things have changed.

These days we have many options, also make sure you consider using a roommate finder website or an app such as RoomiApp or Roomster. Although use caution because these apps will charge you money and may not have enough of a selection for finding a new roommate in your local area.

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