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Common-Baltic-04 Furnished living room in the co-living community Common Baltic (Common)
While the number of shared households is currently in decline as more people live with relatives than friends well into their adult years, there are still a lot of people who live with roommates. According to the PEW Research Center, 18% of Americans lived in a household in which the head was unrelated in 2017. In most cases, these people were living with one or more roommates.

A decade ago, finding a roommate typically meant going on to Craigslist and hoping for the best. While thousands of New Yorkers have found great roomies on Craigslist over the past two decades, this pre-sharing-economy platform also has gained a reputation for being the place where roommate nightmares are most likely to begin. So where does one go if one is too risk-averse to look for a roommate on Craigslist? Fortunately, there are now dozens of platforms catering to people who need to find a roommate and most of these platforms drastically reduce the risk and guesswork that roommate searches once entailed.

Roommates for the Young and Young at Heart

Statistically, the majority of people who live with roommates are still young or youngish. In 2017, 30% of young people (ages 18-25) nationwide were the extra adult in someone else’s household. Go-to platforms for this demographic currently include Roomi, Diggz, Roomster, RoomieMatch, and Room Zoom. While all these platforms essentially offer the same services, they each have their pros and cons.
Roomi is free, but if you want to take full advantage of the platform, it does cost a bit more. If you want a background check, it will cost $15. If you want to bump up your listing, expect to pay $12 for a day or $50 for a week.

Diggz is free, and looks and operates a bit less like a listings site and more like a dating site. To begin on Diggz, users are invited to survey potential roommates and click “like” when they see someone who seems like a good match. The platform also relies on an algorithm to help potentially good matches find each other more quickly.

Roomster, which can be used to find roommates in major cities around the world, is another popular option. Once again, while Roomster is free, if you upgrade to a full membership for a fee, you can also gain access the other features, including the Roomster mailbox and Social Connect features.
RoomieMatch essentially offers the same service offered by its competitors—it promises to help you find a roommate who won’t scam you or turn out to be exceptionally skeezy. There are two options on RoomieMatch—what the platform describes as free or cheap. If you do choose the cheap option, the extra $19.95 per year will help speed up your search by enabling you to immediately contact potential roommates.

• Finally, this brings us to RoomZoom. This woman-founded roommate-finding app was developed when founder and CEO Elien Blue Becque was living in New York City, juggling poorly paid jobs and gigs, and of course, living with roommates to help makes ends meet. Years later, her app is a go-to platform for people just like herself—18- to 35-year-old New Yorkers who are college students or recent graduates and in search of roommates who share their lifestyles and values.
Common-Baltic Common Baltic offers private rooms within furnished shared suites (Common)

Roommates + Co-Living

In addition to platforms for finding roommates, there are now a growing number of platforms set up to bring together like-minded people in co-living spaces and find much more than a roommate. On platforms like Common, you not only get roommates and an already furnished room, but also utilities, WiFi, and laundry facilities. Better yet, there will be no nasty fights with roommates about the grungy shower or dirty toilet since your monthly Common fee also includes a weekly cleaning. ALTA+ by Ollie is another option for New Yorkers who want it all, but Ollie units also throw in a boatload of additional amenities, including rooftop pools, workout spaces, cafés, and lounges where you can hang with the like-minded roommates with whom you’ve been matched.
The furnished social apartment spaces in Common Baltic

Roommates for Creatives

If you’re a painter, drummer, bassoonist, or performance artist, you’ll probably be looking to live with people who are also artists or at least art lovers. You may also be looking for a specific type of space— for example, one equipped to handle paint fumes, long hours of rehearsal, or room for props. Likewise, if you already have a creative home and would like to keep it that way, you may have a strong desire to find roommates who are open to your specific lifestyle, odd hours, and creative vibe. The number one roommate-finding platform for creatives in New York City is Stephanie Diamond’s passion project known as Listings Project. Originally just a list of available rooms and studio spaces, over the past decade, Diamond’s project has turned into the most reliable sources of workspaces and living spaces for artists in the five boroughs and beyond.

Roommates in the Golden Years

If you think roommates are just for people under thirty, think again. In New York City, high rents often leave older residents searching for roommates to help cover rent or building fees and searching for rooms in other people’s homes. Over the past decade, a few online platforms have launched in other cities (e.g., Nesterly in Boston) to meet the needs of this unique demographic. In New York City, there is not yet a dedicated intergenerational online roommate platform, but there is the New York Foundation for Senior Citizens Home Sharing Program. To participate in the program, either the host or renter must be over the age of 60. In some cases, older residents who join the program are searching for a roommate to help offset their current rent, mortgage, or building fees. In some cases, it’s not money they want in return. Many older residents also elect to take in a roommate to help with the occasional heavy lifting or just for companionship.
Image by Ed Yourdon's flickr. https://www.flickr.com/photos/yourdon
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Contributing Writer Cait Etherington Cait Etherington has over twenty years of experience working as a journalist and communications consultant. Her articles and reviews have been published in newspapers and magazines across the United States and internationally. An experienced financial writer, Cait is committed to exposing the human side of stories about contemporary business, banking and workplace relations. She also enjoys writing about trends, lifestyles and real estate in New York City where she lives with her family in a cozy apartment on the twentieth floor of a Manhattan high rise.
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