How to Find Roommates in NYC

12min

Rent in New York City is notoriously high. It is exceptionally higher in the most sought-after neighborhoods like Manhattan and Tribeca. Affording that cost of living is a challenge for most people, making having a roommate somewhat necessary if you want to save a little but still enjoy the NYC life.

Living with a roommate may mean looking for a space that has more bedrooms. That is still cheaper than renting a studio apartment or a one-bedroom on your own. Living in an apartment with other people not only reduces costs but also gives you a social network. To have a healthy living arrangement, you need to be civil with your roommates. Unfortunately, you cannot guarantee that you will get a roommate with whom you get along flawlessly.

Everyone wants a rainbow and butterflies kind of living situation, but that is not always how it goes all the time. That said, there are ways to reduce friction between roommates. So, what should you consider when selecting a roommate?

A bunch of roommates hanging out on couch in living room

8 Factors to consider when selecting a roommate

We all crave an easy stay with a roommate. Here are some things you could consider when selecting a roommate:

1. Relationship

Just because you enjoy hanging out with one of your friends does not mean that you will live well together. Your best friend could have some unbearable live-in habits that you will only discover when you live together under the same roof. You do not want to ruin a perfect friendship because you need a roommate. You are better off living with someone that is outside your social circle.

Once you have found a potential candidate, you need to decide how your relationship should be. Take time to determine if you want a roommate that you can be friends with or just someone to share the bills with while living independent lives. Ensure that you are clear with your potential roommate about your expectations to ensure that you are all on the same page. 

2. Lifestyle

When selecting a roommate, one of the most crucial considerations is their lifestyle. You are different people from different backgrounds and with individual interests. If you are to live together amicably, your lifestyles have to be compatible.

See, people have different privacy needs. Some people prefer to spend their night quietly with no one around, while others love to have friends over every other night. If you enjoy your privacy, you wouldn’t want to move in with someone that loves to have friends over as that could cause some friction between you.

If you are a party animal, ensure that you look for people that do not mind alcohol and loud music in the house. Who wants an ‘annoying’ roommate to ruin their fun?

3. Schedule

Another crucial thing to consider when selecting a roommate is their schedule. You may have different programs. They could be working at night while you work during the day. With such different work schedules, the sleep schedules could be different as well.

If you enjoy time alone, being awake at separate times can be the best arrangement for you. If you feel like they will keep you up, that could be a deal-breaker. There are other things like bathroom arrangements. Some people spend eons in the shower, probably doing their hair and makeup. If you are in an apartment with just one bathroom, you have to share the same bathroom.

You may find yourself annoyed for having to wait to use the bathroom. It is therefore vital to ensure that your schedules do not contradict too much. Alternatively, you could work out one that caters to both of you. 

4. Personality

Personality is a necessary factor to consider. While you may not be the best of friends, you still want to live with someone you are cordial with because you will see them almost every day. It makes for a better arrangement when you enjoy each other’s company, or at the very least do not mind each other too much. You want to come back home after a stressful day and relax. Not be annoyed by the person that shares your living space. Living with someone whose personality matches yours is a significant plus in having a bearable living situation.

5. Cleanliness

Before you commit to living with someone, you need to know if your cleanliness standards match. If dirty dishes sitting in the sink bother you, you will for sure want a roommate who keeps it clean. You do not want to be the only one with the responsibility of keeping the house spotless. If you like to keep things tidy, it will drive you nuts to live with someone messy. You may tolerate it at the beginning. But after awhile, you may not stand coming to a trashed house. When looking for a roommate, ensure that your dedication or non-dedication to cleanliness is similar.

6. Guests’ policy

Ask your potential roommate about their guest preferences. If you want to have friends over, you need a roommate that does not mind that. You can discuss how long guests are welcome to stay in your abode. If they or you have a significant other, you need to establish how much hey can visit and for how long. Discussing this prevents clashes later on during your stay together.

7. Financial responsibility

Having a roommate means that you will share bills. If you are not clear on the financial responsibilities, there can be lots of disagreements. Have some ground rules that all of you have to follow. Before you even sign the lease, have the money talk. You do not want unpleasant surprises further along the road. Ask tough financial questions. Ensure that you only live with people who can carry their weight when it is time to foot the bills.

8. Conflict resolution

You will likely face some challenges when living together. It could be anything from crazy house guests to other tiny annoyances. Asking a potential roommate how they deal with conflict will help you understand how they will deal with future disagreements. Know how they react under pressure. You do not want to live with someone that will sulk at your forever because you left dirty dishes in the sink.

Roommates co-working together in the living room

How to find roommates in New York City

So, you know all there is to select a perfect roommate. How can you find a roommate in New York?

1. Scan your contact list

In these modern times, we do not need a manual list of names and their contacts. They are all available on our smartphones. You can take advantage of that to find someone interested in being roommates with you. Try checking in with people in the city or others that have recently started new positions in New York. The people on your contact list may not be interested in sharing a house with you, but they could have leads to people who are looking for a roommate in NYC. Word of mouth is for sure among the most effective ways to find a new roommate. The best thing about using your contacts to find someone to live with is that you get honest insights about your potential roommate.

2. Ask Friends and Family

Friends and family come in handy when you are looking for a roommate. Inquire from them if they know any relatives or co-workers that are down to sharing a house. With the spiderweb nature of NewYork housing, you are likely to find someone that knows someone who needs a roommate. Inform as many people as possible to ensure that the word reaches more people.

3. Use your local networks

If you are a member of an established group -be it a gym, book club, art initiative or are a loyal customer at a specific grocery store, take advantage of that. Ask around your community for roommate leads. Before you even decide to explore online tools, try consulting your local network. You will most likely get upfront information on the person you are considering adding to your lease agreement. You will be surprised with how much time and headache you will save yourself since you do not have to vet strangers.

4. Facebook Groups

If asking from friends, family, and the local community has not borne any fruits, you can always explore online.Facebook groups are a goldmine for finding a roomie. Join some NYC Facebook groups that are active in talking about apartments and living situations. It is a potent way to connect with someone. The main benefit of Facebook is that you can go through their profile, photos, interests, and hobbies at no cost. You can gauge their lifestyle and personality from their posts and pictures, thereby making the vetting process a little easier.

With Facebook, you get a pool of strangers. You may have nothing in common with them. That is not necessarily bad. You could find yourself starting a lifelong friendship or learning a lot of things from them. If you are not comfortable with risking living with someone very different from you, you could opt to get a roommate from a group or community that shares similar interests. There are numerous Facebook groups for communities that have similar objectives and interests. Join groups specific to New York City to help you narrow down the search for a potential roommate.

5. Reddit

Reddit hosts every kind of niche page called subreddits. There is a subreddit for almost everything under the sun.Find New York-specific housing subreddits that will lead to excellent roommate options. Reddit is a great place to start before you dive into the unpredictable waters of Craigslist. The search bar on Reddit may not be as beneficial because it tends to leave out several search results.

Use Google instead to find a subreddit for New York apartments. That is a perfect way to connect with potential roommates. If you decide to post on subreddits, do not leave vital information about yourself and your preferences in a roomie. Instead, include your crucial factors like your budget, neighborhood, work schedule, and anything that you expect from an ideal roommate. Be upfront and honest! Do not let the desperation for a roommate make you leave out things that are a deal-breaker.

If you like to stay in an organized space, make that clear. If you are not a social butterfly and prefer a quiet apartment, say that. You can not afford to leave out these seemingly tiny details.You will likely find a better match if you talk about your preferences upfront.

6. Craigslist

Craigslist is mostly an unregulated site. Start by exhausting all your other options before you decide to turn to Craigslist. With Craigslist, there aren’t any methods to determine whether the people behind the posts are legit or not, seeing that it does not have ID verification or profiles. If you can sieve through the scammers and other red flags, the platform has several potential roommates. You will need a solid intuitive sense of how to weed out the bad from the good. You cannot be naïve or gullible.

As much as Craigslist is more of a wild card, it can be a last-minute solution in your quest for the perfect roommate. And the best thing is that it is free. Create a listing for your place, giving direct requirements and your personal preferences in a roommate.

Make sure to detail things like age, pet ownership, lifestyle, and rent. Be sure to also put the same information about yourself so that any potential roommate knows what they are getting themselves into if they decide to live with you. You can begin with the New York City Room & Shares page in your search.

7. Social Media

Utilize your social media account and ask your followers for potential leads. Post on your social media platforms that you are searching for a roommate. You can post an Instagram story or a tweet to ask your online community to help you in the search. You may be lucky and find someone that is familiar. But that is not guaranteed. You may end up getting a stranger, especially if you have an extensive following of people that you do not know in real life. All the same, them being in your social media networks should be a good sign. It means that you are like-minded individuals that are most likely going to get along. You can use LinkedIn and connect with your professional circle. You may find a connection that is moving to New York for their career and needs a roommate.

A disadvantage of these social media platforms is that there aren’t any specific pages or functions to facilitate your room search. You will not find interest-specific groups on Instagram orTwitter, like you would on Facebook. There is a more general audience reach, but it is still worth a try.

5 apps to find roommates in NYC

In 2021, there is an app for almost everything, even one for finding roommates. There is a plethora of apps and websites, some of which are specific to New York City. You can use them to locate a roommate. They range from the more general ones to others that cater to a specified audience.

Some of the apps you can use to find a roommate in NYC are:

1. Diggz

2. SpareRoom

3. Rainbow Roommates

4. Padmapper

5. Listings Project

Do your research and listen to your intuition before settling on a potential candidate.

Two roommates having a drink by the window

Tips for living with a Roommate

Living with a roommate is no easy feat. On the flip side, you may end up finding someone that you sync with and befriends with for life. There is no guarantee that you will end up as besties.Even so, there are a few things that can help your stay be as smooth as possible such as:

  • Communication
    Communicating is crucial, especially if you are living with someone new. The chances are that you will find a random stranger to be your roommate. Communicate things about you that they should know. It is even more necessary to have clear communication when you have issues. If you do not like something, make it known before it develops into amore far-reaching conflict.
  • Having boundaries
    Everyone has things that they can not condone. Both you and your roommate have a set of personal boundaries. It is necessary to discuss those things and set the ground rules before you start living together. If you are not comfortable sharing items like appliances and food, let your roommate know. Keep you belonging in your space and don’t touch their things without their permission.
  • Sharing responsibilities
    There will be responsibilities like cleaning, dusting, and taking out the trash in a shared space. They should not fall solely on one person. You can choose to create a chore chart to have duties for the regular tasks. You do not have to divide every single chore among all the occupants. Just ensure that each roommate is pulling their weight in keeping the place organized.
  • Know each other’s schedules
    Be familiar with your roommate’s schedule. That will help you in setting boundaries with things like sleep schedules. You don’t all have to be on the same program. You can find the middle ground and create one that works for all of you.

Conclusion

When looking for a roommate, you need todo your due diligence. Enquire from friends and families about their experiences. You can go online to find reviews and tips on how best to navigate the entire process. Also, ensure that your scammer radar is always tuned to ensure that you do not fall victim to the popular scam stories. On the brighter side, for every roommate scam you hear, there are hundreds of pleasant tales.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Paul Sanders

Paul Sanders is an author, coach, and founder of GetTheFriendsYouWant.com. He has been writing and coaching on loneliness, shyness, social skills, conversation, friendship, and social life since 2011. He helped thousands of people change their social lives.

Paul is the author of the widely distributed eBook, Get The Friends You Want, as well as various audio and video training courses, and live seminars. Paul has been featured in various podcasts, and interviews.

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