How To Find a Roommate

Finding a good roommate can mean the difference between living in peace and staying away until the evil one is asleep.

Here are some tips on how to find a roommate, and how to find someone who needs a roommate, to get you started in your search.

Finding Someone to Move into Your Home/Apartment:

• Determine how to split the cost of rent and utilities. Costs should be split evenly, unless one bedroom is substantially larger than the other. I once rented a house with a roommate and I got the larger room and attached bathroom, and agreed to pay the cable TV bill to make up the difference.
• Divide daily expenses, such as groceries and laundry detergent. One idea is to go grocery shopping together. Also determine how to pay for shared property, such as furniture, appliances or items needed for the yard.
• What kind of person do you want to live with? Male or female? Smoker or nonsmoker? Gay or straight? Partier or bookworm?
• Ask friends if they know of anyone looking for a place to live. Getting recommendations from friends will make it easier to make a character reference.
• Place ads online, on community bulletin boards and local newspapers with a description of your home or apartment. Also detail the monthly expenses and kind of roommate you're looking for.
• Screen applicants on the phone so you don't waste time meeting them in person.
Invite promising applicants over to meet.
• Ask for references from previous landlords and roommates.

Finding Someone Looking For a Roommate:

• Look online and in local newspapers at "roommate wanted" ads. Find ads with a description of the living space and costs.
• Call about the ads you like, and discuss what you're looking for and what your privacy expectations are.
• Arrange a meeting and go look at the place. Be sure you know which bedroom is yours.
• Discuss any problem areas for you, such as smoking or living with someone who stays up late.
• Discuss how daily expenses, such as groceries, will be paid for.

And if those ideas don't work, there are plenty of Web sites that will help you find a roommate.

Aaron Crowe has lived in at least five rentals in the San Francisco Bay Area. Reach him at

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