Need a Roommate? Tips for Renting Out a Room on Craigslist

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Need a Roommate? Tips for Renting Out a Room on Craigslist

Looking to add a little extra cash to your wallet each month? Renting or subleasing a room in your home can be a great way to do just that. However finding a roommate isn’t always the easiest of tasks.

Despite there being plenty of sites specifically geared towards finding a roommate Craigslist is still the tried and true favorite. While what makes the site so popular is that it’s free, that feature can also lead to tons of spam and sketchy figures you will want to avoid and not waste time on. So if you’re ready to bring your roommate search to Craiglist here are a few tips for achieving the best results:

Include photos

Just as you’ll encounter a lot of spam from posting, people looking for a room will endure their fair share of spammy posts as well. One thing that can help you stand out as a real and serious poster is including photos. People typically like to see a mini-tour of where they’ll be living including the room itself, bathroom, kitchen, etc. Additionally, if you live in an apartment or a development with amenities like a pool, you may want to include photos of those as well. However be careful about taking photos of your exterior that may give too many clues about your exact address.

As for photos of yourself, some people do appreciate seeing who they’ll be rooming with. Of course, not everyone is comfortable with posting pictures of themselves that anyone can access. If you do decide to post personal photos just be careful about what you share. Lastly don’t go overboard with photos of yourself — you’re looking for a roommate, not a date.

Use a passphrase for responses

Another great way to help weed out some of the spam you’ll get is to include specific directions in your ad. For example you can put a line in your ad such as “Begin your reply e-mail subject line with the word ‘Macaroni.'” That way you don’t sift through dozens of responses from scammers or those who don’t know how to follow directions.

Ignore odd questions and hit ‘delete’

One of the biggest tip-offs that you’re dealing with a spam reply is people who either ask questions that you’ve clearly answered in your post or ask odd questions that don’t seem relevant. This could include everything from the types of payments you’ll accept to making arrangements for a prospective renter who is currently overseas (Craigslist says their #1 rule is “deal locally”). In these cases it’s always best to just trust your gut and don’t respond if something seems fishy.

Meet up at a neutral location

So you think you’ve found a real person with an actual interest in renting your room? Just to be safe, it’s best to meet a neutral location like a coffee shop so that you can feel things out before inviting them to see your home. If anyone has a problem with this arrangement and insists you just give them the address, that’s probably not someone you want in your home and definitely not someone you want to live with. Once again, just trust your gut.


While there are some notable drawback to posting on a free and open platform like Craigslist in order to rent out your extra room, it may still be worth it if you do things right. Instead of getting frustrated by spam responses, be sure to follow these tips so you can easily spot them. Just remember that your frustrations will be rewarded when you find the perfect roommate and can start saving money on your rent or mortgage. Good luck.

Author

Jonathan Dyer

I'm a small town guy living in Los Angeles looking to make solid financial decisions. I write for a number of finance websites, including HuffingtonPost and Business2Community. I founded DyerNews.com in 2015 to focus on personal finance and the emerging FinTech markets.

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