How to Find a Roommate in a New City

Zumper Creative House

Living with a roommate is a great way to save money on rent, utilities, and other living expenses. However, finding a reliable roommate in a new city can be difficult. As a foreigner, you have a limited to nonexistent social circle, so finding trustworthy people willing to share an apartment with you can be difficult. However, it is certainly not impossible. Follow these tips to find a roommate in a new city and avoid wasting time.

Ask family, friends and colleagues

Once you’ve decided to move to another state or city, chat with your family, friends, and coworkers to see if they know of anyone in the city who might want to live with you. These personal recommendations can be great leads in your research. Even if they don’t succeed, your new contact might know other potential roommates for you or just become a good friend in your new home.

Hit your social networks

Now that you’ve used up your actual contacts, it’s time to get connected. Post on your social media pages to ask if anyone knows someone looking for a roommate in your new town. Friends of friends online can make great roommates because you already have someone vouching for their character. If your online friends like them, chances are you like them too. Be sure to ask your friends online how they know the person they referred, as online connections can vary.

Remember to check all potential roommates carefully, especially if your online friends haven’t met them in real life.

Access applications

The search for a roommate can sometimes feel like a meeting. You come across a lot of possible candidates, but unless you feel the right spark it won’t go any further. Surprisingly, you can take a similar approach to your roommate search and access the apps. Just like Tinder, these apps allow you to create a profile and view the profiles of other people looking for the same thing as you. Many apps for finding a roommate in a new city are intuitive and match people based on their interests and personality.

Apps designed to connect roommates are a much safer option than more general apps like Craigslist because users need to verify their identity. This requirement increases the chances that people with profiles are legitimately looking for a roommate. Fraud detection tools keep spammers and scammers out, so you can be sure that anyone you love is legitimate. Some of the best apps for finding roommates in a new city include and Roomiematch.

Post to community bulletin boards offline and online

Target your search area by posting on community bulletin boards. The old-fashioned approach of creating a poster and sticking it on a community bulletin board or utility pole can still work. This option also allows you to walk around your new city and get a feel for it. Post in places where you think people like you will spend time, such as bookstores, coffee shops, and concert halls. Be sure to ask the owner of any establishment if you can hang your poster before displaying it. Take the time to talk to the speakers and assess their character before deciding to meet with you.

Posting to a Facebook group is the online equivalent of posting to a community bulletin board. Join groups focused on your new city and post a message asking if anyone wants a roommate. While there are general city groups, look for groups that fit one of your interests. For example, you might find groups for local foodies or local cosplayers. When you connect with people from these groups, you’ll know you already have something in common. Check the Facebook profiles of people who are replying and having a conversation on Messenger to see if they are genuine people before meeting you.

Whether you meet strangers who you’ve connected with offline or online, it’s important to keep security in mind. Choose a public location for your meeting. Let a trusted friend know of your whereabouts and check in with them before and after your meeting so they know you’re safe. If your new town is not too far away, they might even accompany you.

Ask questions and watch out for the red flags

A lot of people recklessly get into the first roommate relationship that comes along because they’re desperate to make rent they ignore the red flags. However, deciding to live with someone is not something to be taken lightly. Some made the wrong choice and ended up with a roommate who lived differently and was always behind on payments. To avoid regret, ask potential roommates questions that will help you judge their character.

You can tell if a person is reliable by determining why they are looking for a relationship. Find out if they have ever lived with a roommate and, if so, how that relationship ended. Ask them what they do for work, so that you can determine if their income is stable and regular.

Then assess whether they are right for you. Ask what their daily routine and lifestyle look like. A musician who practices with her band during the day is unlikely to be a good fit for a nurse who works nights and sleeps when she returns home. Be sure to ask them questions about how they think you should split expenses and chores, if they regularly have friends over and if they smoke.

The answers to these questions can help you decide if someone will make a good roommate. Trust your instincts and move on if something goes wrong, as the issues will get worse once someone moves in.

For a quality apartment in your new town, visit Zumper. Our handy search engine allows you to filter listings of multi-room apartments with enough space for you and a roommate. Browse our up-to-date listings through our website or the Zumper app, which puts a real estate agent in your pocket.

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