The Craigslist Roommate

Moving in general can be stressful. Packing up all your belongings, getting transportation for your furniture, physically moving in all your items and making sure they fit in the space. What’s even more stressful is moving to a new city and not having a place lined up to live. This happened to me and in comes Craigslist to the rescue. Nowadays plenty of people find their roommates through Craigslist and I did the same. Here are some tips to navigating the Craigslist roommate process.

  1. Do your research. Making my move to DC was hard, and it was even harder because I was not familiar with the neighborhoods. Adams Morgan. Foggy Bottom. Chinatown. Columbia Heights. Cleveland Park. Not to mention you have the option of living in Arlington with its own unique neighborhoods (Clarendon, Crystal City, Rosslyn, Ballston) or you could also live in Maryland! It was all so overwhelming and I wasn’t sure what area would be best for me. So I turned to the internet. I had decided I wanted to take the Metro to work and I looked for areas along the line I needed to take. This helped me narrow down my scope. Then I looked into things like safety, attractions nearby, and proximity to restaurants and bars. Once you find a few areas or neighborhoods that look good to you, focus your search there and use them as keywords on Craigslist.
  2. Ask your friends. Friends are the ultimate best resource. I had a few friends who lived in DC already and I asked their advice on different areas and neighborhoods. They helped me search for apartments and sent me Craigslist ads they thought would interest me. When you’re moving to a new place tap into people who already know the area. Their first-hand knowledge is really unbeatable.
  3. Take a look. LOOK AT THE PLACE BEFORE YOU SIGN A LEASE. I’ve heard my fair share of horror stories of people moving into places sight unseen. Do not go that route if you can at all help it. Seeing a place first hand not only gives you an idea of the apartment or house you would be living in, but the neighborhood and your future roommates. Spend some time walking around the area to get a feel for things. Feel free to ask to see all areas of the house, not just the room you would be staying in. You do not want to encounter any surprises when you start to move in your furniture (like say a basement infested with mice! Eek!)
  4. Be honest and ask questions. As much as you are looking for the right place to live, these people are seeking the right roommate for their house. Be honest with the type of living environment you are looking for. You may want to keep to yourself and just be cordial to your roommate whereas the other person is looking for a live-in BFF. You may be uncomfortable with drugs and alcohol and the other person is 420 friendly. You may want your boyfriend to visit frequently and the other person may not want excessive guests. Be upfront with your needs or expectations and don’t be afraid to ask what the other person is looking for as well. If you are planning to live in a place for an extended period of time you want to try to ensure you can feel comfortable there.

Despite all this advice, there is only so much prepping you can do. Some things are going to be unknowns when you move in with strangers and you’ll just have to roll with the punches. Try to make the most out of the situation and realize, no living arrangement is permanent unless you want it to be!

Have you ever moved in with a stranger or found your roommate through Craigslist? What was your experience like?

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