My friend needs advice on renting a house in San Diego.
January 18, 2011 10:15 PM   Subscribe

My friend needs advice on renting a house in San Diego. He has been there for years, but he wants to scale down from 5 total roommates (including him) to 3 total roommates, including him. In order to scale down like this, he'll have to charge at least $1000 per roommate. Then each person will have tons of space. He wants roommates that are very nice, honest, and super-clean. Is this do-able? What can he do (he's in no position to make any major home improvements) to make it more likely that he'll find what he's looking for within a reasonable period of time?
posted by SociologistTina to Work & Money (11 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I'm nice. I'm honest. But I fail on the super-clean part. I also have the baggage of my cats that shed their body weight daily.

Of course it is possible to find roommates with all three attributes and that can swing the rent. He'll need to advertise including selling the location (closeness to the beach, freeways, neighborhoods, parking, etc), the hugeness of the space (post photos of the space), parking, the types of people he's looking for (the type of person he is). The amount isn't too bad for rent unless it is a shithole in W.Chula Vista* or something. He shouldn't have to make any home improvements unless things are run down. If "super-clean" is an expectation for the roommate, I'd expect the place to be super clean to start with.

Obviously Craigslist is the starting point. He'll need to screen people and bring some in for interviews. He may need to recast the net if his first ads come up duds.

If he works somewhere cool putting up a flyer in the break room. Same with clubs and other interests/places in his neighborhood.

*no offense Chula Vistans. I love you all.
posted by birdherder at 10:42 PM on January 18, 2011

That is way too much money for being somebody's roommate in San Diego unless it's in a downtown skyscraper. Also, nobody is really "super-clean", especially those people who are looking to share a house. People who require others to be super-clean should live alone. Nice and honest you might find, but craigslist isn't the best starting point, it'd be better to find somebody with whom he's already friends.
posted by beerbajay at 11:19 PM on January 18, 2011

I'm not in San Diego, but I don't know anyone that would be willing to pay over $1000 and month and have two roommates. I don't think I know anyone that would pay that much and have one roommate if they weren't having sex.
posted by gally99 at 11:50 PM on January 18, 2011

$1000 isn't that uncommon somewhat close to the beach like Leucadia, La Jolla, up in the hills in Pt Loma, etc. Or in nicer cribs inland. You can be in a roommate situation for $200 per month or $1500 around here. Depends on the house and the neighborhood. A lot of younger professionals want to live in the nice big house and will get roommates to make it affordable. For $1000 you should get a nice big place in a nice big house in a nice neighborhood.

I would say it is too much for a condo downtown or East Village because the square ft/rent ratio is way off.
posted by birdherder at 12:03 AM on January 19, 2011

Best answer: So is the idea to have 3 people in the same house he currently lives with 5? Or to find a big 3 bedroom place? If the idea is to share a big not so fancy place with 3 people, but have extra rooms unfilled, I find it highly unlikely you'll get many takers. Maybe artists or similar people needing work space might be interested, but I wouldn't hold your breath. Not many people are looking to pay 50% more than they would for a comparable room in a comparable house, just to have fewer roommates and a little more room. Maybe 10 or 15% more, and that's a maybe. Of course a lot depends on how much the rooms are currently going for.

Honestly we need more information about your friend and the place. For $1000 someone can most likely get their own place. Sometimes people are willing to pay that for a room if they prioritize a certain location or they want to live in a house over an apartment or the house on question is really nice. However generally it boils down to wanting/needing a prime location. At that price for a room you really have to be offering something special. I'm not sure that extra space would cut it and I'm also not sure what that would amount to. Would they get an extra room to themselves? Garden? Pool? Garage? Or would there just be fewer people in the kitchen? Because there are probably comparable 2 or 3 bedroom places that can offer that for less. Empty bedrooms add to the rent, but don't add much to the people living there.
posted by whoaali at 1:15 AM on January 19, 2011

Best answer: I can't speak for the price but, in my (admittedly anecdotal) experience, finding someone who is "super-clean" or even just "clean" will be a major issue.
posted by mr_silver at 3:51 AM on January 19, 2011

If he's concerned about finding housemates who are "super clean," why not build the cost of a regular housecleaning service into the rent? That way the cleanliness is a done deal and there won't be any resentment over different interpretations of the word "clean." (And there will be different interpretations. And resentment.)

For $1,000/month in a shared situation, I'd really hope that there'd be a perk like that.
posted by corey flood at 7:20 AM on January 19, 2011 [1 favorite]

1k per month for a room is rediculous. Unless it includes an on call masseuse and personal chef. Or if the house is right on the beach.

I don't think he's going to find nice, honest, super clean takers within a few weeks. If he can't make any improvements on the house to entice people to pay 1k per month, he sounds too squeezed to even try to down-crowd his house at the moment. If he really wanted to try and entice 2 people to pay 1k a month I would try to figure out if you can knock down some walls and reconfigure the 2 rental areas to be mroe like studios, where they have a small sink / microwave area for simple food prep and their own toilet / shower or something.
posted by WeekendJen at 11:16 AM on January 19, 2011

Super clean is not going to happen with roommates. I am a neat freak and I have come to accept that my living space is not going to be the fortress of cleanliness I want it to be without living alone. "Clean" in roommate speak just means "I want you to make less of a mess than I do". In a shared space it's just not going to happen and your friend needs to be realistic. For $1000/mo (which I don't think is that unreasonable, but I've lived in NYC/SF) anyone who is actually serious about having a clean place is just going to live by themselves. For me personally, that much in rent defeats the point of having roommates - if I'm going to put up with other people's messes I'm not going to pay that much.

The best suggestion you are going to get for that criteria is to include maid service in the rent. Or your friend should live alone.
posted by bradbane at 11:58 AM on January 19, 2011

Is he willing to let the two other roommate have two rooms each? Perhaps for a home office or that type of thing?

If the set-up of the house is conducive to that sort of arrangement, I could see him finding people with particular needs possibly springing for it.
posted by polexa at 3:09 PM on January 19, 2011

I live in a 900 square foot one bedroom apartment in La Jolla not terribly far from the beach and my rent is $1210/month. I do think he's asking a bit much for a shared three-bedroom place, though one does save a lot on utilities, etc. with roommates. But yes, if it's across the street from the beach in Del Mar or something I could see it.

You can get basic housekeeping for ~$50/month for biweekly cleaning these days. I'd definitely look into it if you want to be "super" clean. I never really cared what my past roommates did in their own rooms, but shared areas were always expected to be kept clean.

Post on Craigslist and hold informal but detailed interviews. If you're OK with asking for references from former roommates, that would really be helpful.
posted by Thoughtcrime at 3:11 PM on January 19, 2011

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