5 Steps to SAFELY Find a Roommate on Craigslist!


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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 writing and responding to “room for rent” and “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.

Let’s get started!

By the way, you can use these tips for any website where you can post a text ad for a roommate, and it does not have to be just Craigslist!

Quick Note: For legal advice about living with roommates, I highly recommend you check out Nolo’s Roommate Resource

Step 1: Create Your Craigslist Account

If you plan on listing a “room for rent” or “roommate wanted” ad you’ll want to create a Craigslist account ahead of time. The same is true for responding to a Craigslist roommate ad.

Create an account on Craigslist by clicking the “My Account” link at the top toolbar of the website. Craigslist will ask for a user ID and your email 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 email with a hyperlink referencing the ad to your inbox (e-mail address of your Craigslist 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!

Responding To Craigslist Ads or Messages In a Safe, Smart Way!

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 Share Your Real Phone Number, Or a Fake One

Before meeting a new potential roommate, you’ll want to speak to them on the phone. It’s perfectly OK to use your real phone number if you get a good feeling for your new potential roommate 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 to view the property. Then you can share your real phone number only if you end up being roommates!

I also recommend you never share any real phone number on a Craiglist ad, not only is this not safe, you open the possiblity of being bombarded with spam and scam calls.

Step 3: Sharing Photos on Craigslist

Having great pictures is a must for making a great first impression when posting a “room for rent” or “roommate wanted” Craigslist ad. Below, let’s discuss what makes a great picture for your roommate ad.

High-quality Photos For Your “Room for Rent” Ad

You know what they say, a picture speaks a 1,000 words. So by having a minimum of four decent room photos posted with your ad, you’ve expressed to the viewer you are serious about finding someone to rent your room, 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 window shades!).

In addition to the room, feel free to take pictures of the kitchen, bathroom, backyard or anything else that will attract someone to 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 roomate’s attention!

Optionally, you can include a personal (but professional) photo of yourself, if you want to share one. You can even leave your personal photo off the “room for rent” ad and just share it after someone messages you.

Personal Photos For Your “Roommate Wanted” Ad

If you decide to post a “roommate wanted” ad, I highly reccomend you inlcude a personal photo of yourself, if you want any type of serious response. People responding will want to know what you look like, etc. However, you can still make a “roommate wanted” ad without a photo, if you want to remain private!

Responding to a “Room For Rent” or “Roommate Wanted” Ad With a Photo

When responding to a “room for rent” or “roommate wanted” ad, it’s not a bad idea to include a personal picture of yourself! Keep the picture fun and professional, and a face image is probably best, maybe a picture you’d use on LinkedIn or Instagram.

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

A quick photo tip: Craigslist will compress your photos when you upload them, so make sure you use a high-quality image from your digital camera or smart phone.

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

Step 4: Creating a “Room For Rent” or “Roommate Wanted” Ad

Review these following roommate ad examples as a guide only, definitely spend the time to write an original ad that matches your personality. That will help potential roommates reading your Craigslist roommate ad get to know the real you.

I created two example roommate 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 For Rent” Example Ad

For this first example, I’ve created 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, with the bathroom, kitchen, and the yard, etc.

Talk about the location, your ideal living arrangement and any features that set your room apart from the other listings, like being close to downtown or public transportation.

Here is the start of the “room for rent” ad.

Subject:
Seeking a New Roommate to Share a Three Bed/Two Bath House!

Body:
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 email me for details, and please look at the pictures!

This is the end of the “room for rent” example ad.

A “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 “roommate wanted” ad.

Subject:
Looking To Share a New Place With a New Roommate!

Body:
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 with 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 “roommate 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 communicate via email for Craigslist ads.

Step 5: Communicating via Email For Craigslist Rommate Ads

Whether you’re responding to a “room for rent” or “roomate wanted” ad, it’s a very good idea to mention a few things that convey your personality and what it might be like living with you. The same is true for responding to someone’s email, if you are the one running a roommate ad!

Also, 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.

Remember to keep your emails short and concise, no one wants to read a book!

Are you a clean freak or somewhat organized? Mention it!

Ultimately If you feel good about this other person, proceed to meet them and exchange phone numbers to text. And remember, to increase your safety, use a fake phone number, which we discussed previously.

Final Thoughts

With all the different roommate finder apps and websites that are available today, Craigslist is still the number one option for many people to find a room to rent or a new roommate.

Each city will have its own popular website or app for finding a roommate, so be sure to do some research on Google and Reddit to find out all of your available options.

For myself, living in the SF Bay Area, Craiglist is still very popular for finding roommates, homes to rent, and buying things like used cars, so it’s a perfect option for myself and millions of others.

Thanks for reading my latest article, cheers!

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