Finding a roommate is a good idea for all kinds of reasons. Maybe you just bought a new home and you want to rent a room out to help pay the mortgage down. Or maybe you’re renting an apartment with college friends to share expenses and save money.
And Just Maybe… You’re working at a hot start-up company in San Francisco (or Silicon Valley) and can’t afford a two bedroom apartment costing 5 grand a month all by yourself. Even if your making 100k per year; finding a good roommate to share expenses with makes a lot of sense.
People seek out new roommates for all kinds of different situations. It always seems like a good idea in the beginning, but many people might get discouraged with the challenge of finding that perfect roomie.
Over the years, I’ve rented out rooms in my home to help offset expenses and pay my mortgage down quicker. Below, I’ve compiled a list of roommate finder apps, websites, and some additional ideas to make roommate hunting much easier for you.
Before you look online, you sould consider the following:
Before looking online, the first consideration you have for finding a new roommate is to ask your friends, family, and colleagues. This option makes a lot of sense because you trust them and they’ll help screen out creepy or crazy people for you. I would advise that you be extra picky and avoid referrals from friends, family, and co-workers who you don’t have good judgment with screening prospects, it’s just not worth the hassle of something going wrong.
Another obvious place to find a new roommate is a good old bulletin board at your favorite coffee shop, college, clubhouse, bookstore, gym, church, library, or favorite hang out spot downtown (it can be a hidden gem for finding great roommates!)
When the simple options fail, try finding a roommate online instead!
Quick Tip: If you’re not able to get a good referral for a roommate don’t feel so bad. In my experience, 85% of all my successful roommates were always with complete strangers found with roommate finder websites like Craigslist.
Let’s Review The Best Roommate Finder Apps and Websites
There are many roommate finder websites and apps to choose from; some cost money, and some are free.
Each big city like New York City (NYC), Chicago, Seattle, Los Angeles, San Jose, Oakland, San Francisco, Miami, Portland, etc. will have a popular roommate finder app that will have a good selection of people local to you.
Note: If you find yourself browsing through a limited selection of people, you maybe using the unpopular roommate finder app for your local area. So always be open to try a few options when it comes to various roommate apps/websites.
A Good Roommate Finder App/Website Will Have The Following Features and Characteristics:
- Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or other Social Media presence.
- Plenty of profiles with people in your local area.
- An iPhone or Droid Mobile app for you to use.
- A reputable looking website with high-quality photos, and not cheap looking stock photos. User photos should also be of quality.
- They should NOT use sneaky sign-up forms to get your email address or credit card!
If a roommate finder app does not have these characteristics you’ll be better off using Craigslist since its in every town, pretty popular and is free to use. That’s the main reason I have it listed as the first option below.
Please Note: I’ve personally used Craigslist, RoomiApp, and Roomster for my roommate searches. So my comments for these platforms will be a bit more detailed than the others on this list.
Craigslist is a great option for just about every town; it’s the modern day newspaper classifieds site that started in the mid 1990’s. It’s still my go-to resource for finding a roommate asap (if an app falls short.) It has postings for major cities all around the world. PLUS, ITS FREE.
A craigslist posting has information such as pictures and a description that a poster will write about.
The most important thing about Craigslist is to keep a sharp mind when using it, and do your due diligence. It can attract many flaky and scammy people.
I like the roommate finder site Roomi. It’s also known as Roomi App and it’s a great option for finding your next roommate; it’s very popular with millennials.
Roomi has a clean interface, great photo options, and a complete profile for each user. It also has a mobile app you can download for your Droid or iPhone device.
I found the setup process to be streamlined and easy to follow. You can also use your Facebook account or email address to register, unlike with Roomster.
I’ve downloaded the mobile app, and the listings are displayed beautifully. It has a bit of an Airbnb feel to it, but most importantly, it loads everything fast, no waiting for pictures to load.
There’s a free profile option and some extra services for a premium.
My overall experience using Roomster for signing up was very pleasant and friendly. The only option to register is with your Facebook account. For people who don’t use Facebook, you’ll have to skip this service, you will not be able to use an email account.
The layout is beautiful, and the website has an updated minimal design with a smooth flow of options to click on. Roomster also has a Droid or iPhone app which you can use.
Roomster is a great option for anyone that uses social media and wants to view and look at the social media profiles of their new potential roommate, for Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn.
Many online reviewers have said they got scammed on Roomster. Since it’s a big roommate finder website it’s targeted for bad press. Roomster is not a scam, but you still have to be careful with who you deal with on the site itself.
There are two membership levels with Roomster, a Free Basic Level with limited options for searching the site. The full version allows you to view social media profiles and send messages.
Roomiematch lets you set up a free profile (with limited options) and does a good job of providing its user a roommate finder experience as a matchmaker using a curated feed.
It does this by having a clean, easy layout design and delivers potential roommate matches via email to your inbox.
To help cut down on spam and spam profiles, humans also review each and every account. It’s well moderated and serves Canada, and the U.S. If you want to enjoy full usage of the website, the cost a run up to 20 bucks a year.
Roommates.com is popular and based on the research I’ve done, you can create a profile for free and send messages. But, to read the messages you need to pay for a full account. So if you send a message to someone and never get a response, there’s a good chance it’s because they never read it!
The price starts at $5.99 for a paid account and it serves all the big cities nationwide. The search filters are simple too, just put in whether you have a room or need to find one, and your available location.
I live close to SF and Diggz is pretty popular here. It’s got a smaller client base and focus of just serving a dozen or so cities across the U.S.
It has some search filters for details such as your party lifestyle or sleeping habits. It’s free to use and will normally start you off with a batch of 10 matches to get started.
If you have already lined up a roommate, or you want to find a new apartment, condo, or home to rent with your existing roommate, check out pad mapper. Either though, this website is not roommate specific, it’s a great tool for finding a new place to live when your existing place is forcing you out.
You’ll find new places in your favorite city in the U.S. or Canada. It’s free and has an awesome map interface too.
8) Google Search
To find the best roommate finder website options in your area sometimes it helps to use Google. Try a simple search with the words “roommate finder.” Google will adjust its search results for the local city you live in. If you don’t find any results you can also put your city name in the search like this “roommate finder San Francisco”.
If any Reddit Forums, Facebook Groups / Pages, Alumni Networks, a Local Online Community Blog, Forums, or other local websites exist for finding a roommate, it will show up in the search.
Here’s some common search results always I find when searching on Google for finding a roommate:
- Reddit is a great option to find a new roommate if you can get lucky and find a subreddit with the keywords of your city name / area and roommates. It will be a bit unorganized, but it can be a very good resource of people to weed through and hunt down a good roommate.
- Facebook has many groups or pages set up in local communities all over the United States. There’s a good chance one might be setup that specializes in shared housing and finding roommates in your town.
- Alumni networks for college are very popular, and a safe bet most of the time because of the referral connection it has. Most colleges have listserv for alumni living in a major city, just monitor the list and seek it out.
- Local Online Community Blog, Forum or Website – Find a local popular blog, website or online forum that has roommate listings. College towns will sometimes have a website like this.
My Overall Opinion Of Roommate Finder Apps, The Good and Bad
After years of experience dealing with these roommate apps in the San Francisco Bay Area, I’ve discovered the following:
For any of these roommate apps/websites to be worth your time you need to have a large number of people to screen through and correspond with. If you live in a big city or metropolitan area, you’ll have much better success than someone living in a small town.
But even in a big place like the San Francisco Bay Area, I had very little success interacting with any potential roommates. A lot of these roommate sites have old profiles, fake profiles, or hidden profiles. It reminds me a lot of online dating; usually, there is one app that most people are signed up on. The other dating apps are just collecting money or showing you old profiles.
Again, Believe It Or Not, Craigslist Works Well And Is The Best Option In The SF Bay Area
Most of the people I have met from the Roommate Ads on Craigslist have worked out much better than any of the Roommate Finder services that offered me a free trial or charged me money for a subscription.
In the SF Bay Area, even after Social media took off, Craigslist is still good for finding housing. And, it’s simple and free.
If Craiglist scares you a bit, have someone help you run the ad, or use a fake email address and name while you screen out people.
The idea of using one of these sites might make you feel a bit insecure, awkward or unsure about your safety. Like when you first decide to give online dating a try with Tinder or Bumble.
Don’t Worry, Common Sense Will Go A Long Way!
You’re going to have to filter through lots of people that might be posing as scammers or con artists. So screen people carefully.
Finding a roommate online is a numbers game, you have to filter through the good and bad. Even when you do find a match, people may renege and not respond to your message. If this happens don’t get discouraged, just keep trying, something will bloom eventually.
Have a success story with one of these roommate apps you’d like to share? Comment below.