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#1
Old 09-08-2004, 04:21 PM
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Join Date: Mar 2004
Location: DC, Approximately.
Posts: 2,458
Roommates.com: Good deal, or not worth the money?

I need a place to live for a new job and, at the moment, am in a bit of a dry spot. I don't personally know anybody needing a roommate in the area, so I'm resorting to some of the typical methods. One of those is roommates.com.

When I signed up last night, putting in my preferences, I thought things were hunky-dory. I guess I missed the "upgrade account" button. It turns out to do anything useful, you need to pay. $6 for a 3-day trial, $20 for a month, and $30 for two months. Without paying, you can't contact (or even get the contact info for) potential roommates, and can't check the messages left to you by potential roommates. I hate to pay for something I could get free.

But the free is the local papers, entries along the lines of "M/F shr apt, priv BR/BA, W/D, no cats, $500+1/3util". It tells me virtually nothing. I have to at least call, and really see the place and meet the people to decide. With roommates.com, this doesn't look to be the case. To sign up, you fill out a pretty detailed bio, so you can see quite a bit of info about people right off the bat. You can upload pictures of yourself and your place, and many people do. Where 30 letters need to make due in the newspaper, roommates.com gives me 30 paragraphs.

So should I pay? What are some fellow dopers' experiences with the service? Are the 40 or so listings I received for a 15 mile radius from the area I want a good number of active listings, or does roommates.com keep old ones up a while to look more impressive? Is this something worth using to get a place, or a rip-off?
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#2
Old 09-08-2004, 05:19 PM
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Join Date: Oct 2003
Location: East Bay
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My personal experience: not worth the money. Complete rip-off. Waste of time. You get the idea. I did not have one serious responder, and I often found that most other people didn't pay, thus making it near impossible to communicate.

One vote for don't waste your money.
#3
Old 09-08-2004, 05:36 PM
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Join Date: Mar 2004
Location: DC, Approximately.
Posts: 2,458
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ghanima
My personal experience: not worth the money. Complete rip-off. Waste of time. You get the idea. I did not have one serious responder, and I often found that most other people didn't pay, thus making it near impossible to communicate.

One vote for don't waste your money.
Unless looking at the details of a place sends an automatic email "from" the poster, I have two messages in my box, one of them from an apartment that looks truly interesting.

Were you trying on the "need a roommate" end or "need a room"? I think maybe that if you're listed as "need a roommate" and you have somebody look at your entry while you're online, you receive a notification.

Anything else you can tell me about your experience would be great.
#4
Old 09-08-2004, 06:52 PM
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Join Date: Feb 2004
Location: Chicago
Posts: 11,735
You might look at some of the ads on craigslist.org first. The roommate ads on there tend to have more information than the typical roomie ads in a newspaper.
#5
Old 09-08-2004, 07:52 PM
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Join Date: Mar 2004
Location: DC, Approximately.
Posts: 2,458
Quote:
Originally Posted by dalej42
You might look at some of the ads on craigslist.org first. The roommate ads on there tend to have more information than the typical roomie ads in a newspaper.
How could I forget craigslist? Thank you!
#6
Old 09-08-2004, 08:02 PM
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Join Date: Feb 2004
Location: San Diego
Posts: 469
My best friend recently found her roommate on Roommates.com and she reccomends it to everyone. She had several great leads and had to choose between two good ones. I'm sure everyones experience is different but she has nothing but good things to say about it.
#7
Old 02-23-2014, 05:12 PM
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Join Date: Feb 2014
Posts: 1
Not worth the money--nobody uses it

As with any website that is meant to link two people together, it's utility is based on the number of people who actually pay/subscribe to the website. Unfortunately, Roommates.com is not one that many people use--and this is coming from someone who tried it in a heavily populated area like Chicago. There are very few ads posted, and very rarely will you get a reply to an inquiry. It could take up to 4 months before you even have a sign of human life... and when someone does finally reply to an ad, chances are they do not have a subscription so you can't communicate with them anyway. I would save your money & just use craigslist.

In summary - it could take up to 4 months to hear anything from anyone on this website. Your options will be few and undesirable.
#8
Old 02-23-2014, 05:41 PM
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Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: North Shore of LI
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This thread is 10 years old. Hopefully someone responded by now.
#9
Old 02-23-2014, 05:57 PM
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Join Date: Jul 2008
Posts: 7,411
I rented out a room on CL - but I did not respond to any of the "room/share wanted" - I was guessing that people putting up those listings had already struck out with every place they had tried, so I viewed them as being more likely to be "damaged goods" - some/every body else had already rejected them.

I put up a brief ad showing nearest intersection (name of neighborhood is overly broad in this case) and a brutally frank description of the condition (needs about everything).
Had inquiries from students (I'm retired, and so stated) and one spectacularly undesirable (he had no car, no money, was slightly delusional and combative - no wonder the folks putting him up would drive him to the place.

Got one which most would consider problematic, but is quiet and doesn't get in the way. 3 years and counting.

If you do post:
Where desired/acceptable
Pets?
Flip side: allergies?
Minimum space (be realistic - remember the basic "kid's room" in modern construction is 10x10. Carpet is (mostly) 12' wide, so that is something of a limit in tract houses where fast is a major concern.
Any limit as to sex? Many (esp. young) women will not consider males as either renter/rentee.
Still needs to be said, sadly: noticeably gay?
Guest policies, esp. parties and overnight

The rest are "desired"
Kitchen privileges (incredibly, some refuse to let the tenant so much as to store dishes or use microwave)
Laundry privileges?
Cable/dish/whatever TV
Wifi
Separate entrance/isolated unit/cottage in back
TV and internet cost money - consider if you really, really need it. Remember you can buy about as easily as can the landlord.

Most importantly: What are you comfortable with as monthly rent, and does that cover any of the utilities?

Do not bother being yet another person who wants a separate cottage in the most desirable section of town for you, your unemployed spouse and baby and 2 the worlds two cutest pit bulls, and expect to pay for it by cleaning the place once in a while.

One of my favs: Me and my boyfriend are being evicted. We really need to move. We can pay $300 with all utilities. We will do LIGHT housekeeping - we are not your maids.

Yep, you're not my maids; you aren't even in my life and never will be.

Otherwise, look for folks who need some help with living expenses and can be trusted not to kill and eat you.

Meeting at a coffee shop/diner near the rental would be a good idea for both.

Never heard of roommates - sounds like another attempt to scam the poor.

Yes, we have lots of landlords just dying to meet you, your lover and two dogs and rent out an entire house with pool and servants for $50/month - just give us $20.

Last edited by usedtobe; 02-23-2014 at 06:01 PM.
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