Unexpected Vacancy? How To Use Craigslist To Find The Perfect Roommate

If you’re looking for a new roommate, Craigslist is a great place to find one. If you aren’t familiar yet with this free community classified ad site, this guide will help you through the process of posting a roommate wanted ad and finding someone to share the rent with.

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1. Visit Craigslist

Go to www.craigslist.org. In most places, you’ll be automatically routed to the specific Craigslist site that has ads for your city, but if not, or if you’re looking for a roommate in a different region, you’ll find the city and country directory on the sidebar on the left. There’s no need to sign in, the site will walk you through it once you’re ready to post an ad.

2. Research

Before you write your own ad for a roommate, take a look at the ads other people are posting for roommates. Look at what information people give and get a feel for what kind of ads work. There are LOTS of bad ads on craigslist (and plenty of Internet sites devoted to poking fun at them) and if you want a new roommate, you’ll want to make sure you’re not one of them. (See our blog post on the ‘5 Craziest Roommate Requirements‘ if you are curious!)

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3. Take a Few Pictures

Though you don’t need them, there is an option to filter out ads that don’t include pictures. Adding pictures is very easy and ads are more successful if they include them. Snapping a couple quick photos of the apartment will go a long way towards assuring potential roommates that the apartment 1. does exist and 2. is what you say it is.

4. Write Your Ad

Though you can use the word processor in the ad system, you may want to write your ad as a word document first. Research shows that ads with good grammar and complete sentences attract more inquiries than their poorly written counterparts.

As far as the content of your ad goes, you’ll want to give as much specific information about the place as you can and also tell your prospective roommate something about yourself and what you’re looking for in a roommate. For instance, if you can’t stand smoking or have ¬†several furry friends living with you these are qualifications you need to mention!

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5. Build your Ad

Putting an ad up on Craigslist is very simple. Just click on the place an ad button, choose your category, upload your photos and paste in your body and you’re off. You’ll want to make sure you follow the instructions in the confirmation e-mail or the ad won’t be posted.

6. Contact Info or Craigslist E-mail?

Unfortunately, people do fish e-mail and phone numbers off of craigslist, so leaving your real contact information isn’t recommended. Tell people to send you an e-mail through the ad and then you can then share your real e-mail address if you decide the person might be a good match. It is, however, a great idea to leave your first name at the bottom of your ad.

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7. Beware of Scams

There are a number of scams happening on Craigslist at the moment, some of which affect people looking for roommates. Beware especially of a scam involving an “exchange student” who sends you a large check and then asks you to return some of the money to them. An Internet search on current Craigslist scams will help you know what else you should watch out for. As a general rule, anybody responding to this sort of posting by asking you to mail/wire/front them money is a scammer!!

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