How do you know which roommate finder website is the best to find a roommate?
To determine the best roommate finder, you must first know what’s most important to you:
- Active members
We hope when we ask the question “What is most important to you when looking for a roommate finder website?”, your top answer is safety. Allowing a stranger in your home is a very serious decision so it’s as equally important to do serious pre-screening on your potential roommates online.
Safety has been such a big issue when it comes to living with a roommate that several companies have invested time and money to try to resolve this problem. Learning exactly how a website pre-screens its members is crucial, for you to know what additional steps you still have to take.
How did the website verify their identity? Did they get a physical ID to confirm the member is the same person representing themselves online? Did they check for any criminal history? social media and text message verification is not enough to be considered an identity verification.
To look for the best place to find roommates is tricky but don’t you worry because we’ve explored and researched the top roommate finder websites safety features and pricing to see how they stack up against each other, so you don’t have to.
This will help give you a better idea of which website you should consider when looking for a more trustworthy roommate.
Top 3 Safest Roommate Finder Websites are Haydash, Roomi, and Silvernest.
These websites are highly rated when it comes to the safety features and services that they offer. Giving their members the option to run a background check on their potential roommates is what puts them at the top.
Offers roommate and long-distance rideshare services. Members can post ads for ride or room for rent and room or ride wanted.
Haydash is breaking new ground by having all members carefully vetted through its advanced background and identity verification process. These preliminary screenings minimize the risk of becoming a victim of scams, identity theft, and unwanted solicitations.
Potential members are required to complete a 3 point verification process: driver’s license check, profile picture authentication, and background check when signing up for a membership.
Haydash will use the driver’s license to verify the information provided on the background application and cross-check the uploaded profile picture on the system for an added layer of security, all while keeping the information private and secure.
Focuses on helping seniors that maybe retirees or empty nesters rent out a spare room to long-term roommates. The average age of homeowners is 62, while the average age of renters is 40.
The $24.99 a month homeowner membership comes with several roommates management perks like homeshare agreement creator, automated rent collection, three 30 minute legal consultations, and rent calculator. As a renter, you can sign up for free and can contact members.
Members are required to complete a text message phone verification. Silvernest will verify their identity by taking the information provided during sign up and matching it with the US Public Database. For $29.99 homeowners and renters can complete a basic background check to receive a badge on their profile for 90 days.
Allows you to post rooms for rent and approve or deny chat request.
Signing up for a membership will require a text message phone verification. You can also pay an additional fee to complete a background check or ID verification or link your social media account for free.
Free memberships vs paid membership
Should you pay for a membership? In many cases, you get what you pay for. A lot of free sites do not offer any safety features or any form of verification that protect you as a consumer from many online dangers. If online safety is the least of your concern, then free membership may be right for you.
However, a Paid membership is not always better. You should always make sure that you know what you’re paying for. You should ask yourself if the features or services being offered are worth the money.
The majority of the roommate finder websites are free as they only verify members identity through phone and email. If a website does not clearly state how they verify their members don’t be afraid to send an email and ask more questions.
You landed on a roommate finder website and see lots of potential roommates but as soon as you click on the “message” button you get a pop up that there’s a price to contact this member. Not everything is what it seems.
Price breakdown for websites that offer background checks
Price breakdown for websites that do not offer background checks
Why is Craigslist the go-to roommate finder website if it’s dead last in safety features?
Craigslist’s popularity is due to its simplicity and its free service. Since it’s launch in 1995 it has grown a tremendous database. With Craigslist, it’s usually quantity over quality. Since anyone can sign-up, finding a “healthy” pool of candidates can be daunting.
You probably started your roomsharing or ridesharing experience through Craigslist. But when you heard about the Craigslist killer in 2009, you’ve grown wary about it and beefed-up your way of verifying potential roommate or rideshare.
If you’re new to Craigslist you’ve most likely experienced the problem of those “oh so wonderful unwanted solicitations.” You post an ad looking for a roommate then your inbox exploded within a few hours of people replying to your ad.
With a smile on your face, you open up the ad only to read “You’re beautiful, I’ll rent a room from you” or “call me.” After about 5 emails, you finally have a fish on the hook but it takes about 13 email exchanges to get to the point just for them to cancel or change their minds. It’s valuable time you could’ve spent interviewing a more serious candidate.
Sure, Craigslist is full of listings but what security do they offer to their members aside from allowing you to keep your email address private? There’s no jaw-dropping features or screening process provided for their members.
But you put up with it because it’s free and your expectation to have a risk-free experience is usually non-existent. Like what they say, you get what you pay for or in Craigslist’s case, not pay for.
Common problems when searching for a roommate and how to avoid them.
Let’s breakdown the most frustrating part of roommate search and how to avoid the common pitfalls.
The back and forth messages.
Remember that your first message is your first impression. If you’re responding to a post be sure to provide as much information as you can besides “Is this room still available?”
Start your message by letting them know what day you are looking to move in and why you would be a good fit as a roommate. Providing this information will show that you’re serious about renting the place and will also help you stand out above the rest.
- Post a detailed ad. Writing a well-detailed roommate post shows members that you put in the time and the effort. They will also be grateful that you answer most of the important questions for them so you can dive straight into getting to know each other and working out an agreement.
- Describe your ideal roommate. If you are posting a room offered ad, you most likely provided pictures and listed all the amenities on it, as well. But did you describe the type of roommate you’re looking for? In a short paragraph, describe your ideal roommate. This will help you connect with more like-minded people. Don’t be afraid to list your deal-breakers to save you time in the pre-screening process. Avoid a lengthy list that could give off the impression that you’re a negative person.
- Read the ad twice. Make sure you did not misread or overlook any information. As you start reading multiple ads, they can start to run together. Focus on making sure you’ve addressed any questions that they may have when you contact them.
- Rewrite your ad. If you receive a message with a good question make sure you update your ad to mention the detail that was left out.
You wrote a professional post with a professional picture but you received a message saying “Are you single?” First, hit the report and block button then let the website know.
Second, as much as you may want to reply with a sharp retort, it’s better to not respond as you don’t want to give them any reason to write a bad review or give them the satisfaction that you read their message.
This is when a paid membership is worth paying for as it helps weed out anyone and everyone signing up, therefore, encourages more serious candidates.
Let’s face it, no matter how serious the vetting process is, you are still a stranger to your potential new roommate and it’s up to you to make them feel comfortable. Don’t skip the “About Me” section and make sure you include some interesting facts about you on your profile like how familiar you are with sharing your space.
The more they learn about you the more they will feel at ease and share more information about themselves. Remember you are competing against other people that are also ready to pay and move in.
Focus on showing off your personality and how accommodating you can be to make sure you both have a great experience.
Bad profile picture.
It’s not an online dating website. Your pictures should be just as professional as your Linkedin profile picture.
Keep in mind that most people are going to zoom in on your pictures and try to judge your character based on your appearance so make sure you’re paying attention to the pictures you choose and the background in the picture.
Posting a picture of you in a dirty room could affect your chances.
Pre-screening your potential roommates the right way
Often we rush to find a roommate or quickly get caught up in conversation that we forget to ask all the questions we thought of in advance and even skip steps in our verification process.
A checklist is a great thing to have in front of you during an interview to stay focused and get all the answers you need. Use Haydash’s checklist next time you are in search of a roommate. It includes the following topics:
- Asking the tough questions – a list of 50 questions that are important to ask your potential roomies to get more insight into their personality, schedule, experience, property, and understanding the roommate agreement.
- Do’s and Don’ts – 7 tips to help you avoid getting scammed or having a bad experience.
- Pre-screening & verification steps to ensure your safety – social media verification just isn’t enough to share a home with a stranger. Take advantage of the resources that you have to verify your roommate’s identity, background, and employment.
Be prepared the next time you’re looking for a roommate. This checklist will help make sure you ask the right questions and complete all necessary safety steps.
No sign up or email required to download.
Share Your Space With Confidence
Finding trustworthy roommates isn’t as stressful as you think. Haydash takes the hard work out of the screening process by doing a background check on all of its members. We’re a roommate finder website that understands the importance of safety.