Living on your own is one of the most exciting things about being an adult, but finding the right roommate and apartment is no easy feat. On top of looking for an apartment in a safe neighborhood, in close proximity to a subway stop, without paying a broker’s fee, the search for a roommate whom you can trust and get along with may sound impossible. But at least you won’t have to comb through shady listings on Craigslist any longer. Roomidex, an online Rolodex that connects you with friends and friends of friends who are looking for roommates too, helps streamline this process. Roomidex currently lets you search for roommates in New York City and San Francisco, but will be expanding to other cities in the near future.
Medha Khandelwal, co-founder of Roomidex, has had her share of roommate trials and errors. “I currently live in New York City with my sister, which is probably the best roommate outcome I’ve had. But I’ve definitely had challenges with finding the perfect roommate. Over the past three years, I’ve lived with six to seven roommates in a variety of situations, including subletting, switching roommates, and moving out of state.” To help you make smarter, more efficient decisions when finding a roommate and apartment, consider these tips:
- Be picky. Khandelwal says not to be shy about being selective during the roommate search. Roomidex allows you to filter your search based on what neighborhood you want to move into, how much rent you can afford, but also what profession, gender, age, and school (bonus for college students!) you prefer. “Sometimes your friends aren’t the best roommates for you. You may share the same interests and get along great, but your living styles are very different.”
- Save as much money as you can. If you get approved for an apartment, things move rather quickly, so be sure you have enough money saved to pay for first and last month’s rent as your security deposit. But you should also continue to save money well after you’ve moved in case of emergencies. “You never know if your roommate needs to move out suddenly or decides to break the lease. Having extra cash for your buffer zone will help you stress less as you search for a new roommate.” To help you save on paying a broker’s fee, you could also contact the building or management company of the apartment you like directly.
- Don’t be afraid to negotiate. Some management companies offer a two-year lease, and you can use this as a bargaining chip to negotiate your rent a few dollars down, since most companies would rather not lose you and go through another tenant search. “If you’ve shown longevity in the place you’ve lived, you could also talk to your landlord about not raising the rent the following year if you decide to stay.”
Khandelwal says she and her business partner are working on building relationships with management companies and brokers in the city to help Roomidex users find and get the best deals on apartments. Now, if there was only a way to find an affordable apartment near a Trader Joe’s then we’d be all set, right?
Photo via savvysugar.com