How Katie Found an Apartment and a Roommate Using Craigslist

Our guest blogger Katie tells about her success using Craigslist.

“In June of 2010, I got the call that would change my life forever…I landed my first job in NYC! I was really excited to start my job in two weeks, but then quickly realized that I had nowhere to live in the city and I wasn’t about to make the six hour daily commute. Without having much knowledge of the city, or any one to move in with, I enlisted the help of Craigslist.

When I started searching for rooms/shares in the city, I already had an idea of which parts of the city I wanted to avoid, the qualities I was looking for in a roommate and my budget, which made things much easier. I ended up emailing to five people and heard back from one that same night! After some back and forth, we made plans to meet and tour the apartment.

A couple of days later, my mom and I went to the city to visit the apartment and the neighborhood. I was lucky to fall in love with the apartment/ building as soon as I saw it and, even luckier, my potential roommate and I shared someone in common (small world). After some talking to our mutual friend, we both agreed that this would be the best match! We got along really well, and I was fortunate to have that common bond with her right off the bat.

My roommate and I lived together from July 2010-February of 2011 when she decided to relocate to the West Coast. I booted up Craigslist again and ended up interviewing four people.  I have to say there were some funky people out there, but I found a girl that I felt comfortable with. She moved in at the end of February through July when we both moved out.

Although the process was stressful, Craigslist has been a VERY helpful tool for me, both when I searched for my first apartment and when I was looking for a roommate. Here are a few pointers I found useful when doing my search:

  1. Have a clear idea of what you’re looking for both in an apartment and a roommate. Differentiate between what’s a “need “ and what’s a “nice to have” (i.e. laundry in the building).
  2. Make sure to bring someone with you when you go to look. Although things are generally safe, we’ve all heard the creepy stories. Plus it’s also nice to get another point of view.
  3. Be honest and open with the person you’re communicating with. Not that you have to be best friends, but you will be living in close quarters with this person.
  4. Ask questions. (MyMove blog has some sample questions to ask potential roommates.  Also check out the My First Apartment Roommate Agreement Checklist.)
  5. Listen to your gut, and only do what makes YOU feel most comfortable!”

MFA adds: For a little fun and self-reflection about what type of a roommate you are, check out this quiz from MyMove blog.

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Comments (2)

  1. Avatar Katie Grogan

    Hi Tyler,

    I did my search in a combination of ways. Sometimes I would use filters like number of bedrooms, but generally I would keep it a little more broad. For a large city like NY, I would search by the neighborhoods I would consider moving to, it needed to include pictures, and I would generally put in a price range. This gave me plenty to work with. Of course there are some that don’t fit, but I think you’re going to get that with any search site.

    When it comes to using Craig’s list, you have to be very patient and open to looking at different things. Stay open to opportunities that may be a little different then what you thought you wanted. Thanks!


  2. Avatar Tyler Deitz

    I recently had to find an apartment myself and used a variety of tools (our apartment search being one of them of course  ) and Craigslist was one of them. We are located in a very small campus community so we don’t have many listings and it’s easy to get through, but in New York did you have to filter many listings yourself?

    I know Craigslist has started to filter by bedroom, bath, etc. but it makes me nervous sometimes that since users just submit the information that it may not distinguish very well your criteria. For example if you wanted a 2BR with rent of $700-$1,000 and entered that it may not bring back “the perfect apartment” for you because the user didn’t fill in information correctly. Did you run into any troubles like this when searching?