Finding The Perfect Roommate: The Old School Way


By Steven Correll

Hello there!

In response to the many emails that we have been receiving lately asking us to bring RoomZoom to cities beyond New York, we decided to give you all a break-down of what’s going on with us as well as some information we’ve found useful in our (personal and professional) experiences finding really great roommates.

First things first: We are growing as fast as we can, however as with many things, the devil’s in the details. Our mission at RoomZoom is to revolutionize the way people find and live with roommates, eliminating drama and sketchiness from the process and making sure that your next living experience is a great one! So, in order to provide the best possible experience for our users, we’re growing as fast as possible in NYC right now and expanding to other cities in the U.S. once all of our ducks are in a row over here.

While we aren’t in other cities yet, that doesn’t mean we’re going to leave you hanging! Since our fearless leader,Elien, has been responding to many of you that don’t live in the NYC area with advice and tips on how maximize your chances of landing a good roommate; we decided to synthesize her advice and make it available to you all here to help out those in need. While it is a bit more work than simply creating a RZ profile and letting the matches roll in, this is a RoomZoom-verified checklist to make sure you and your potential roommates are on the same page!

Questions to ask yourself about your roommate-search methodology:

1) Have you had a bad roommate before? What was it about this old roommate that was awful?

(For example: During college I had a roommate named Donny. Don was a great guy and we got along perfectly, or so I thought. After the first week of us living together, when I walked into the kitchen, I was unable to wash my hands in the sink because his stack of dishes was piled up so high that I couldn’t turn on the faucet. Not cool.)

2) List the qualities and determine if it’s possible to screen these out in a future roommate.

(Because of Donny I realized that cleanliness was a major quality I was interested in. The next year, when I was meeting up with potential roommates I would ask them what their thoughts were on doing household chores. Hint: if they are reluctant to agree to a chore chart, they are probably more of the messy type.)

Once you figure out what qualities you like in a roommate (know thyself), and screen people for those qualities (stealthy), now it’s time to put yourself out there!

3) Write an email and FB status that’s friendly but quite detailed about your living situation (these two things are equally important— you don’t want to sound like you’re paranoid or living in a bad place) and say that you’re looking for a new roommate (important). Circulate this to your friends, family, co-workers, etc., and ask them to pass it along. Networks!

(RoomZoom DOES NOT encourage living with people in your close-friend group; just because your BFF’s doesn’t mean you can live together, and if it doesn’t work out you don’t want to loose a friend and a roommate.)

4) While we created RoomZoom so that people wouldn’t have to do this anymore, the fact of the matter is that many people do still use Craigslist, so posting an Ad there and inviting people to e-mail you about themselves will help get the word out.

(WARNING: Be über careful with this! Many people are chill but some are not. Be smart please.)

You found a person, you emailed, they seem great. They have the qualities you’re looking for and the budget to match. Sweet! 

5)  Set a time/date to meet up with them face to face (we recommend a coffee shop, not your home or theirs). Here are some conversation points to mitigate potential conflicts:

  • What is this person’s schedule? Will showering times conflict with you or current roommates?
  • Will this person’s partying/going out schedule and preferences conflict with yours?
  • Does this person have a boyfriend/girlfriend and does that person tend to be around?
  • Will this person have lots of guests staying over frequently?
  • What is their aesthetic and is it compatible with the apartment?
  • Does this person like to have dinner parties or other parties?
  • Do they have or are they suddenly going to want to get a cat, dog or other type of animal?
  • Do they prefer to socialize out with friends or bring people over at home?
  • Do they want to become friends with their roommates and hang out or do they already have an established social life and want to do their own thing?
  • How can they contribute to making the household run well/what will you expect them to partake in this regard?

And that’s all folks! With RoomZoom we try to automate this, but if you follow this process your roommate search will be a lot more streamlined and you will maximize your chances at finding a great roommate! 

Do you have any questions/comments/suggestions about this post?

Do you want your city to be the NEXT city RoomZoom lands in? We’d LOVE to hear from you :).

Feel free to send us an email at

Thanks for reading and have a great day!