Practicalities regarding moving apartments and finding roommates
June 1, 2012 12:56 PM   Subscribe

Tell me about the practicalities of finding a new roommate/apartment.

On some level this is a trivial question that I already know the answer to, but I wanted to get the crowd's input.

The last time I moved, I needed to do so as quickly as possible due to my living situation. I gave 30 days notice and then looked and looked for a new place, and kept finding less than ideal places. Finally, a week before I had to leave, I settled on a very-much-less-than-ideal place, because I didn't want to be hanging in the air a week before the move. I was anxious about not having a place to stay a week beforehand.

I will need a new apartment on 10/1. I'm in Los Angeles. I want to find half a two bedroom apartment. Let's assume that I can't find a personal friend beforehand to be a roommate; if I did, this would be simpler.

So 30 days before I move, I give written notice to my current landlord. Even before that, I look on craigslist and perhaps facebook for a roommate, and hope to I can get something lined up. The problem, however, is that it seems that things really only open up a week or two before everyone's move date -- which means committing to leaving my current place by 9/1 and then not making much progress over the next few weeks in finding the next place. I want my next apartment to be somewhere I can stay for YEARS -- but I'm anxious about once again settling for a not-great place, and then being tied down there a while by the fact of using all my savings to pay the deposit.

Complicating issues is that this is the first time I won't be moving just by putting everything in my car; I'll need to rent movers for my bed/desk etc.

Any practicalities about the entire moving and finding roommates process are appreciated. For example, I heard someone once recommend creating a facebook event "FIND ME A ROOMMATE" and then inviting local people to the event -- it's a clever idea that I wouldn't have thought of, and it could work. Anything else?
posted by lewedswiver to Home & Garden (6 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
How much free cash do you have?

If you're willing to spend a little extra, you could rent out a whole two bedroom place yourself, then take your time finding a roommate to sublet one bedroom to. You might pay double rent for one month, but since you wouldn't have to coordinate, you could probably find something faster plus find a roommate you like.
posted by insectosaurus at 1:05 PM on June 1, 2012

Why don't you just look for a situation where someone who already has a place is looking for a roommate? In my experience, it's a lot easier to find that than finding a good place AND a roommate.

Alternately, if you can afford it, the best thing to do is to start looking for a place early (say, in August) and then give your landlord notice once you've found a place. Of course, this might require breaking your lease, and might leave you on the hook for a month or two of rent at your old place - which is where the "if you can afford it" part comes in. But really, this is the way to go if you can - you'll be much more likely to find something good this way. FWIW, I've done this a few times, and I've never had to pay double rent. I've made the transition easier by offering to place the CL ad, show the apartment, basically do all the work for the landlord, and this has always worked out.
posted by lunasol at 1:14 PM on June 1, 2012

When I rented in a complex, they had a roommate matching service, so I met the girl and we moved in together. She had a great cat.

I too would be looking to be the roommate coming in. You might want to think more upscale and be one of 4 people in a 4 bedroom house. You'd see this a lot in Silicon Valley and if you were young, it was awesome. Of course, more people, more drama.

Check Craigslist as this is the ubiquitous way the roommates link up. Place your own ad, "I want to be your roommate!" Then extol your virtues. Be specific about the geographic area you want, whether or not you're okay with 420, that you have a 9-5 (or don't), if you're a neat-freak or a slob, make your wish list!

Be sure you get on the lease, that there's no shady stuff going on, etc.

As for finding movers, again, ask around. Google: Good Movers Los Angeles and see what you get.

If you were in Atlanta, I'd recommend Mark the Mover, they were AWESOME! Also, look into Rentacrate. Seriously, it will change your life.

It's a lot easier moving into someone else's already existing deal, than starting all over again from scratch. The cable will be installed, the electric will be on, look at all the money you save right there!
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 2:09 PM on June 1, 2012

Simply can't afford renting out a two bedroom.

I *am* kind of looking to be the roommate moving in, but I guess the problem is that it always seems that people don't start posting to find a roommate until a couple weeks before the move-in date -- at which point, I would've needed to give 30 days well before that!

That's how I feel like I'm basically in a catch-22 of sorts. It's hard to find a good place with someone I would live well with, all in 30 days+ advance... but I don't like having the countdown of X days to move out and still no place settled hanging over my head.
posted by lewedswiver at 2:30 PM on June 1, 2012

Since you're not on a fixed lease, this whole problem is solved by being willing to pay double rent for a month or two. That means not moving unless you find a situation that is worth that extra money. So don't wait until October, start looking now. If by October you haven't found anything, move the bulk of your stuff to storage and find a temporary month to month solution.
posted by Salamandrous at 5:18 PM on June 1, 2012

I had the best success with finding a new roommate first and the apartment searching with her. But that was a decade ago & we were students.

In my experience, good apartments get snapped up without necessarily going on the open market - they pass among friends & acquaintances.

Which means, put the word out, maybe throw a meet & greet ... Let people know you're looking to move and what kind of place you want.
posted by Heart_on_Sleeve at 6:56 PM on June 1, 2012

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