As we mentioned in our post "How to Save Money in the Big City," finding a roommate is one of the best ways to cut costs while living in one of the most expensive areas in the country. Roommates not only share rent and utilities, but they can be the answer to your desire to upgrade from a walkup building with zero amenities to luxury accommodations with laundry and outdoors space.
But how do you go about finding a roomie in a city of 8.5 million people? Here's a few tips for quickly and safely finding your new flat mate.
1. Press your pals.
Whether online through your social networks or in person over brunch, every great roommate search (or job search or date search, for that matter), starts with querying your friends for ideas and connections. You never know who among your social circle may know of a friend-of-a-friend or the cousin-of-a-coworker who's also looking for new digs.
2. Work the web.
There's no shortage of websites and apps devoted to connecting future roommates. In fact, the smart folks over at Brick Underground just published a list of 13 of them. From ultra-specific — like BangItOut, which serves Jewish New Yorkers who keep a Kosher kitchen — to old-school sites — like Craigslist — the digital world is a great way to cast a wide net in your quest for the perfect roomie.
3. Get an assist from alumni associations.
One highlight of living in the biggest metro area in the country is the vast collection of alumni associations based here. Google your college's name with "NYC alumni association," and you're likely to find a website or social media page where you can post your roommate search. Don't forget to connect with your fraternity or sorority network or professional organizations, too.
4. Make like "Mad Men."
If you don't mind mixing work life with home life, why not do like Peggy Olson did and start your roommate search among your co-workers. They already check the box for "gainfully employed," and you've likely had an opportunity to observe how tidy or messy, quiet or loud, and stressed out or low key they tend to be in daily life. Just make sure to limit your search to peers and not those who could become your boss or employee anytime soon.
As Brick Underground points out, no matter which roommate route you choose, be sure to follow safe meeting guidelines. Meet in public, have your cellphone with you, tell a friend where and whom you're meeting, and so on. With a little effort, and a lot of luck, you'll be sharing your dream pad with an excellent new roommate in no time.