Even if you follow the ten commandments of apartment hunting in NYC, finding affordable apartments in this town can be next to impossible, which is why so many New Yorkers have roommates. But even finding the right roomie can be a struggle, so check out the sites below to help ensure you don’t accidentally move in with a murderer (we’ve all worried about it, right?)
This seven-month-old startup tweaks the technology of a dating site, using important could-I-ever-live-with-her? data like shared rent caps, professed cleanliness and tolerance of living room ragers to match you with a roster of should-be ideal roommates. Strike up convos within the app, or at weekly mixers at NYC bars. Free.
Step one: Eliminate creeps, which this app (theoretically) does by connecting you with only friends of Facebook friends also on the housemate hunt. Step two: Figure out which non-creep also meets your roomie requirements, aided by a matching system that tallies everything from desired move-in date to affinity for drinking alone. Let’s drink alone, together! Free.
Erase the image of shuffling one seat to the right every time a buzzer dings. At Speed Roommating’s twice-a-month bar nights, run by SpareRoom.com, mingle at your leisure over booze and many, many smartphone photos of apartments. A white nametag means room to offer, while pink signifies seeking room, making it easy to meet dozens of potential matches in the time it would take to trek and see one dud. Free.
Mad Libs? Sort of. Users looking to replace an exiting roomie fill in the blanks on statements like “My neighbors are [blank]” and “The worst thing about my place is [blank].” If the basics pique your interest, read a more detailed profile, browse photos and get in touch via the site. $19.95/year; free to list or if you refer 5 friends.
Save hours browsing apartment listings, because this service doesn’t post any. Instead, fill out a lengthy questionnaire and receive a daily email of curated matches. Site monitors read every submission, cross-reference stated apartment locations with IP addresses and investigate/trash anything suspicious. If you want to contact other users, pay an annual fee; otherwise, squat for free and hope someone likes you enough to make the first move. Free to register; $19.95/year to unlock contact info.
Bang It Out
The housing arm of this Jewish humor and lifestyle site connects prospective roommates looking to share a kosher kitchen, or at least live with fellow observant Jews. With about 60 listings at press time (99% of them on the Upper West Side), we wouldn’t say there are plenty of fish or even call it a sea, but it is a wonderfully niche pond. Free.
For visual shoppers, this site syncs with Google Maps, flagging the location of available rooms so you can count the blocks to a subway and skirt “East Williamsburg” apartments that turn out to be past Bushwick. Since Padmapper pulls all of its listings from Craigslist, you’re ultimately clicking through and communicating with potential roomies like any other Craigslist user, but the map function is an insanely helpful start. Free.
This site—geared to the LGBT community, open to all—is the most expensive of the bunch, but you’re paying for quality service: Founder Douglas Leavy vets every listing himself and emails members with thoughtful matches. That said, you’re not limited to his picks; browse every available room and reach out to anyone. $75/month or $35/day; free to list.
Because we all love to social-media stalk, Roomster’s paid-subscription option links to the Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and/or Google Plus page of the person listing an available room. Or, post that you’re seeking a room within a certain budget and hope someone contacts you. Free to list and for basic browsing and messaging services; starts at $5.95/3-day subscription to unlock social media profiles and phone numbers.
Test a neighborhood’s waters with a short-team lease—this listings site specializes in sublets. Narrow search results by neighborhood, price, length of lease, gender of roommate, if pets are allowed or if amenities include an elevator, air conditioning, laundry or a furnished room—all very useful once you get past the site’s designed-in-1995 look. Free for basic browsing and messaging services; starts at $9.95/90-day subscription to unlock phone numbers and early access to listings.