The Real.Est List
Find a roommate online: Six websites that do the heavy lifting for you
There are two eternal truths when it comes to New York City living – the apartments are small and the rents are high. Finding a roommate to split the costs is often necessary. (How else are you going to swing that 700-square-foot apartment with a monthly rent that’s almost double your salary?)
Luckily, there are plenty of websites and services to help you find someone to split the rent. Here are six:
- SpareRoom.com “Britain’s no. 1 roommate site,” has just made its way over the pond. The free service allows users to search for available rooms or potential roommates. The site includes listings in all five boroughs, as well as Long Island and New Jersey. Ads are monitored by staff to avoid scams. While perusing recently, we spotted an Upper West Side single room available for $1,750 a month and a Prospect Heights double room for $1,600 a month, as well as roommate-seekers with budgets from $500-$1500 a month.
- Roommates Wanted NYC Roommates Wanted NYC works on the premise that the best way to meet potential roommates is face-to-face. And maybe with some drinks in hand. Each month, about half a dozen Roommates Wanted NYC meetups take place in Manhattan, Brooklyn, and Queens (usually in bars). Events are $5 in advance, but if you post an ad on Craigslist publicizing it, the fee is waived. There are often around 30 people at each event.
- Craigslist Sure, you hear the occasional Craigslist horror story, but this classified site is still an easy – and popular – way to find roommates in New York City (and many other cities, for that matter). There are still hundreds of postings for roommates at any one time, and using it is completely free. Just be sure to do your research and take precautions while you search; Craigslist doesn’t employ anyone to sort the listings for you the way roommate-specific sites do.
- Roommates.com Set up much like a dating site, users provide photos, bios, and information on their preferences. Sign-up is free, but in order to interact with potential roommate matches, you pay $5.99 for a three-day trial, $19.99 for 30 days, and $29.99 for 60 days. Matches are done automatically so you don’t have to wade through listings. If you like one of your matches, you simply contact them.
- Rainbow RoommatesThis site, which caters to the gay and lesbian community, has been making roommate matches for nearly 20 years. There are typically between 100 and 150 postings at a time. The site’s founder vets the listings himself and e-mails members back with appropriate matches. There’s a one-day fee of $40 for anyone who needs a match immediately. Otherwise, the cost is $65 for one month.
- Roommate Happy Hour This service is similar to Roommates Wanted, as it organizes weekly mixers across Manhattan, Brooklyn and Queens (usually in bars). The mixers are attended by people looking for roommates to start a search with, those with an extra room to rentout and room seekes, too. The service is free and claims to have a 90 percent success rate. One fun perk for signing up for the site is a (sometimes weekly, sometimes monthly) raffle, where you can win prizes like a $100 Ikea Brooklyn giftcard.