Anybody who’s ever had plans of living in the great city of New York knows about the struggle of finding a decent living space that will not break the bank.
As of August 2020, the average rent in New York goes for $2,811 for a one-bedroom apartment and $3,583 for a two-bedroom apartment. Not to mention the utilities and the cost of living, and your monthly expenses can start soaring higher than the Empire State Building.
That’s why so many New Yorkers forgo the luxury of living alone and instead choose to live with a roommate. Sharing your apartment is a great way to cut costs and it comes with its own set of benefits like accountability and companionship.
How to Find Roommates in NYC
Looking for a roommate in a city of over 8 million people can be a bit daunting, especially to those new to the whole roommate game. Fortunately, there are several reliable ways of looking for roommates in NYC, listed below.
1. Friends and Family
Your roommate does not have to be a stranger at all, as it can be someone you already know.
Sourcing a roommate from those you trust that you’re close with spares you the necessary background checks and gives you enough confidence about who you’re living with.
However, some people advise against living with a friend or relative under one roof. Arguments and misunderstandings may become too personal and take a jab on your otherwise healthy relationship. Still, these arguments are more of an after-effect and can be avoided.
If not them directly, your friends and family can refer you to someone from their own circles. Almost everyone in New York knows someone who’s searching for a roommate, so chances are you’ll find a lot of leads from friends alone.
2. Facebook Groups
Besides your own social media circles, you can join large Facebook groups dedicated to roommate finding in New York City.
Some of the most popular groups have upwards of 100k members and 500 posts a day, so these are a goldmine in your search for a roommate.
Popular and general Facebook groups include Alpaca’s New York City Roommates and Anyplace’s large public group. There are also Facebook groups for specific boroughs in New York, like Manhattan or Queens, or areas near college campuses for student roommates.
3. Alumni Networks
Your college’s vast alumni network can be tapped for potential roommates in NYC. Most schools have active groups or pages for their alumni that they can use for networking and, in this case, to find a roommate.
Even if you did not come from a New York college, your school might be offering NYC-based groups for their alumni.
4. Mixers and Meetups
Because of the abundance of people looking for roommates in New York, mixers and meetups specifically for roommate finding have already been established to fill the need.
Events such as these help people who are on the lookout to get together and find their perfect roommate match.
Speed Roommating, a roomie finder event hosted by SpareRoom, is kind of like the speed dating scene for the New York room owners in need.
These free-for-all bar nights can be a place to safely mingle over a few drinks while connecting over each other’s room photos and arrangements. Don’t hesitate to network and contact people that fit your roommate preferences.
Craigslist may have developed sort of a bad rep for harboring shady deals and ne’er-do-wells, but these are still outnumbered by several well-intentioned people who are just looking for a room for rent or a roommate.
Craigslist remains one of the best places to find lease owners or room-seekers in the city, albeit a bit old school, simply because of the big traffic of listings that the website receives every day.
The trick is to be smart when dealing with listings from Craigslist. Create your ads on the New York City Rooms & Shares page, making sure to be specific with your listing and clearly indicate important information.
Sift through the multitude of listings and search for those that fit your personal preferences. Make the most out of Craigslist’s keyword search to narrow down the posts to the most relevant to what you need and what you’re looking for. Practice due diligence to avoid being scammed or ending up with a bad roomie.
Another unfiltered site for room and roommate searches is Reddit, which has long been an avenue for roommate finding before the arrival of designated websites and apps.
The community in the r/NYCApartments subreddit is sufficiently large with daily postings, so you’re sure to find many leads for potential roommates.
Like in a Craigslist hunt, you eliminate the middleman when you use Reddit, for better or worse.
It pays to be diligent when searching for rooms or roommates in Reddit because the postings go unfiltered, and it is up to you to verify whether the post is legitimate and trustworthy.
7. Roommate Finder Websites
Perhaps the easiest and most comprehensive way to search for roommates is through specialty websites and apps.
These websites are specifically designed for roommate finding, and they offer various features that can make your search much easier, such as advanced search options and in-depth roommate profiles.
Listings on these websites are often screened, so it gives you a good level of confidence that these rooms or people are verified and trustworthy.
Some roommate finders are completely free to use while others ask for a small fee when availing of advanced features.
What Websites To Use To Find A Roommate in NYC
Several apps and websites out there in the market cater to those searching for an apartment or room share in NYC.
Depending on your style of searching, these websites vary in the way they approach the roommate game. Here are just some of the best roommate finder NYC websites that you can use in your hunt:
After a successful start in the UK, SpareRoom has since branched out into the US to help out those looking for a new room share. The website and its accompanying phone app are no-nonsense and are loaded with various features, such as a map, in-app messaging, and a powerful advanced search option.
SpareRoom also hosts regular Speed Roommating events in Manhattan and Brooklyn, where roommate-seekers and apartment-seekers can mingle and ideally find a good match. These mixers are super productive, and you can meet dozens of potential roommates in a night.
Diggz operates much like Tinder but for room owners. After going through a comprehensive questionnaire that will ask you about specific lifestyle and preference questions, you will then be matched with the most fitting users based on the algorithm.
You can then “like” some of these profiles, and if they “like” you back, you can have a chat with some of them on the app before disclosing your email or other contact information. Diggz’s proprietary algorithm can help to simplify the whole process so you can reach the most relevant room owners immediately.
Roomi is another popular flatmate finder that offers a freemium service for its users. The app is intuitively designed and loaded with important features such as stringent inspection of room listings and in-app chat options.
However, room-seekers need to pay a fee of $5 for an ID verification and $25 for a complete background check. This may seem a bit pricey, but it also builds a more secure platform and protects its users from scammers. Because of this human-monitored security, you can be given some serious peace of mind that it’s safe to chat and transact with Roomi’s verified profiles.
4. Listings Project
What started as a small passion project by a New York local, the Listings Project is now a full-fledged operation helping residents (mainly artists) connect with each other and find the city’s best living spaces.
Sign up for the Listings Project’s free weekly email newsletter, which brings together different room and apartment listings personally compiled by the project’s small but dedicated team.
There is a $30 fee for those who want to list an apartment in the newsletter. The tight list weeds out brokers and shady deals, so subscribers are guaranteed a curated and ultra-personal service.
5. Roomie Match
Compared to the other flatmate finder websites, Roomie Match is strictly intended for users to find a roommate, and thus it does not carry any apartment listings. Mate-seekers need to fill out a detailed questionnaire about their lifestyle and personal preferences, and Roomie Match aims to help by connecting users that best fit each other.
These curated matches are delivered daily to your email. You can choose to wait for someone else to contact you first, but if you want to take the initiative and contact potential roomies, you need to pay a $19.95 annual fee good for the whole year.
What Details Should I Include in My Listing?
No matter which method of roommate finding you pursue, the key to finding the best match for your needs and preferences is to be as specific with the details as much as possible. Some of the information that needs to be included are:
- Employment status
- Current living situation
- Budget range
- Target location
- Move-in date
- Personal preferences (pets, smoking, lifestyle, active hours, etc.)
If you already have a place and are looking to fill up the space, show several photos of the room, mention any amenities of the place, and include relevant information such as whether it’s a fee or no-fee kind of listing.
Being specific with your details makes sure that you narrow down the list and find the most relevant options for your search, especially if you’re using high-traffic websites such as Craigslist or Reddit.
Additionally, when using a roommate app, NYC room-seekers must try to make the most out of the app’s features. Share any and all details that your potential roommate may need to know about you or your living arrangements. Make sure that it’s a match for both parties.
Finding the perfect roommate in New York City may seem like hard work, but you’ll be surprised by how many decent people are out there in the streets searching for a roomie and an apartment just like you.
The best way to find roommates in NYC is by using multiple avenues that we’ve mentioned to maximize your search and make sure that your chosen person is someone you can live with. Looking to move around? Check out the best moving companies in NYC
Along with the help of different specialty websites and other ways of roommate searching, don’t forget to pair your search with vibe meetups and an exhaustive background check. After a diligent roommate hunt, we hope that you find a roommate that’s exactly who you’re looking for.
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