Need a Roommate? Find One... Fast!

Women talking in kitchen
  Robert Daly/Getty

If you need a roommate fast but don't know anyone who would make a good candidate, don't despair. There are several websites and other online resources that can help renters like you find someone who is a good fit in the most important ways, whether it's a roomie who shares your interests (and hours) or someone who comes from a different walk of life and can introduce you to new experiences.

Online Roommate-Matching Services

As the Internet has matured, several websites have sprouted up that offer renters the opportunity to search a large database of potential roommate candidates. If you're relocating to a place where you don't know anyone, or if no one you know needs a roommate, you can use these ​online services to find the right person for you.

These roommate-matching sites vary somewhat in their look and feel, and some offer more bells and whistles than others, but the main concept is the same: you post ads and search listings to find a roommate based on your preferences and search criteria. You can also chat with potential roommates, to get a feel for their personalities and to ask random questions that might not be covered otherwise.

Pricing on these sites varies by the services available and amount of information you can access. Most offer a basic membership for free, allowing you to create a profile (usually with photos) and exchange emails with a limited group of other members. Upgrading to a pay membership gives you better access to other members (including phone numbers, if they are provided) and additional search services.

Roommate Bulletin Boards

Other websites, like Craigslist, offer bulletin boards or categorized listings from people looking for roommates. Rather than signing up for a service, you simply browse the listings. When you find a listing looks worthwhile, you get in touch with the person who posted it using the contact information provided.

To find a roommate on Craigslist, for example, visit www.craigslist.org and select your local area. Then, choose "rooms / shared" under "Housing," and start browsing.

The Social Option

Another free, if less focused, resource is your own personal network on social media. You can always create a post on Facebook or other social site to announce that you're looking for a roommate. It will go primarily to people you already know; if they don't need a roommate, perhaps they know someone who does. Of course, you have to be willing to advertise that you're looking for a roommate, and you should be mindful of your privacy settings for your post.

Hey, Not So Fast...

Renters who live alone sometimes choose to add a roommate to save money, following a change in their financial situation, such as a salary freeze or job layoff. Hopefully, your roommate search will go as quickly as possible, but remember that finding the right person takes time. If you don't properly vet roommate candidates or you choose someone with whom you're not compatible, you risk more serious problems down the road.