How To Find Roommates for House Hacking
While some house hackers rent out extra units in a multi-unit building, many others rent out individual bedrooms in a single-family home or condo.
If you’re thinking about house hacking by renting rooms, one of the first questions you might have is how to find good roommates who are compatible with your lifestyle (and who you can trust to take care of your home).
Here are some tips on how to find trustworthy and compatible roommates for house hacking:
1. Check with Family and Friends
Start by asking friends and family if they know anyone who might be interested in renting a room.
This is a double-edged sword. Realize that your recourse options might be limited if your friend doesn’t pay rent, assuming you’re unwilling to kick them out.
But at least you would theoretically be more comfortable living with a friend, or a friend of a friend, rather than a total stranger.
2. Post an Ad on Craigslist
You can try posting an ad on Craigslist or another online classifieds site. When you post your ad, you might include information about what kind of person you’re looking for as a roommate and what kind of home you have.
As always, make sure any rental ads are compliant with fair housing laws.
In your ad, be sure to include lots of pictures showing the unit (including the common areas).
And don’t forget to repost your listing when it expires.
3. Post Listings to Roommate Sites
Another option is to use a roommate-finding service like Roomi or Roommates.com.
These websites allow you to create a profile and search for potential roommates who match your criteria.
4. Post Listings to Apartment Sites
You can post listings for free (or very cheaply) on sites like apartments.com. Just be sure to clarify that just the room is for rent, not the entire unit.
Facebook Marketplace can be another great option to post on.
The more platforms you can post your room to, the greater your reach. But you shouldn’t have to go crazy with posting to dozens of sights. A few platforms should be plenty for a fairly priced room listing in most markets.
5. Consider Short Term Rental Sites
You can also list your room on sites like Airbnb.
In this case, you won’t have nearly as much control over who rents the room, but guests typically only stay for shorter periods of time. And you’ll likely be able to charge money more for the same space.
That said, you can offer longer term stays on a site like Airbnb, and this can be a viable option for finding a roommate.
Careful – especially if you’re in a condo building, make sure there aren’t any restrictions against short-term rentals or house hacking in general.
6. Place Flyers in Local Businesses
You can also try old-fashioned, offline methods like placing flyers in local businesses or on community bulletin boards.
This can be especially effective if you’re in a university town with many students looking for temporary or cheaper forms of housing.
Make sure your flyer includes a way for interested parties to contact you.
7. When in Doubt, Hire a Professional
You could always hire a leasing or real estate agent to fill your space if you don’t want to handle the process yourself.
Obviously, you’ll have to pay the agent if and when your space rents, but at least you won’t have to go through the trouble of listing and showing the unit yourself.
Screening Potential Roommates
Once you’ve found some potential roommates, be sure to screen them carefully before making a decision.
This includes doing a background check and, if possible, meeting them in person to get a sense of their personality.
Since you are living in the property, chances are you can use the Mrs. Murphy exemption to the Fair Housing Act. This will give you broader flexibility to deny a potential tenant who might otherwise be in a certain protected class (like age or gender).
However, other state restrictions might apply towards who you rent (and don’t rent) to. Definitely check with an attorney who is an expert in your local laws to be safe.
Either way, you want to know that your tenant’s income is high enough to manage the rental payment and that he or she has a history of making payments on time.
You can run a background check using something like TransUnion Smart Move. You can have the tenant pay the fee to run the check, and you’ll get a detailed report shortly thereafter.
Finally, trust your gut. If you have a bad feeling about someone, it’s probably best to move on and keep looking.
Finding Great Roommates for House Hacking
With a little effort, you should be able to find some great roommates who are compatible with your lifestyle and who you can trust to take care of your home.
Start by checking with family and friends, then move on to posting online classifieds and listings to roommate sites and apartment complexes.
Most importantly, be sure to screen potential roommates carefully before making a decision. This includes running a background and credit check.
When in doubt, hire a professional leasing or real estate agent to help you find the perfect tenant or roommate.
How do I find roommates for my house hack?
Check with family and friends first, then move on to posting online classifieds and listings to roommate and apartment sites. Most importantly, be sure to screen potential roommates carefully before making a decision. This includes running a background and credit check. When in doubt, hire a professional leasing or real estate agent to help you find the perfect tenant or roommate.
What are some tips for screening potential roommates?
Some tips for screening potential roommates include doing a background check and, if possible, meeting them in person to get a sense of their personality. You can also run a credit check to see if they have a history of making payments on time. Finally, trust your gut. If you have a bad feeling about someone, it’s probably best to move on and keep looking. Just be sure not to run afoul of any fair housing laws!
What are some red flags to watch out for when screening potential roommates?
When screening potential roommates, watch out for low incomes or bad credit scores. You also want to be sure that the potential roommate is compatible with your lifestyle and that you can trust him or her to take care of your home.
How can I make sure my roommates are compatible with my lifestyle?
The best way to make sure your roommates are compatible with your lifestyle is to meet them in person and get a sense of their personality. This could be as simple as getting lunch or coffee in a neutral place. You can also ask them about their lifestyles and see if they are compatible with yours. Don’t be afraid to move on if you’re not getting a good impression.
What are some tips for living with roommates?
Some tips for living with roommates include communicating openly and honestly, being respectful of each other’s space and belongings, and being considerate of each other’s schedules. It’s also important to have a system in place for dealing with conflict so things don’t escalate. Make sure house rules are fair and clearly communicated.
I’m having problems with my roommates. What should I do?
If you’re having problems with your roommates, the first thing you should do is talk to them directly and try to resolve the issue. The next step would be to refer to your lease or room rental agreement to see if you have any recourse. Make sure any action you take is allowed under your lease and any local landlord-tenant laws.
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