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Looking to save on your bills or need to pay off your debts faster? Learn how you can rent out a room to earn extra income!

My name is Mike, I blog at Renting Out Rooms, which is about my story of renting out my spare rooms. 

I started blogging a few months ago, but I have been renting out my rooms for the past several years.

Renting Out Your Extra Rooms – Earn Income for You

Looking to save on your bills or need to pay off your debts faster? Learn how you can rent out a room to earn extra income!

The extra income generated from this endeavor has allowed me to:

  • Pay for graduate school without a single penny in debt
  • Reduce my second mortgage balance from $35,600 to $21,734, with plan of eliminating this debt by the end of 2012.

To get to this point, I’ve had 7 different roommates cycle through my spare rooms over the past 5 years. 

All of them were found via the Internet using various services. The overall experience has been positive.  In fact, I keep in contact with my past roommates and consider them friends.

If you’re interested in finding roommates to ease your financial situation, I’ll go into detail about my experiences with the various online methods available.

Craigslist – Easy and Free Way to Find a Roommate

This is probably the most common way homeowners use to find roommates.  The popularity and no cost attract numerous homeowners and potential roommates to this site.

However, because of the popularity and free cost, the competition can pretty tough.  For instance, depending on where you live, there could be several listings for the same town you live in.

Also, potential roommates may feel overwhelmed with the choices available and with new listings every day, they tend to be indecisive if they don’t know exactly what they are looking for. 

I’ve had numerous of people say “they are interested,” but when it comes time to commit to paying the security deposit, they decide to keep looking.

Looking to save on your bills or need to pay off your debts faster? Learn how you can rent out a room to earn extra income! #realestate #money #fi #save #earnmoney

Using Roommate Subscription Sites

Another less common way of finding roommates are roommate subscription sites such as roommates.com and roomster.com

Roommate subscription sites require a profile to be created from both the person who is looking for housing and the person who can provide a place.

This can be an advantage for someone who can provide a place to live because they can solicit a potential roommate with a message if a roommate seems to be a fit based on their profile. 

As opposed to Craigslist, the potential roommate is the only party that can reply to a post.

The biggest drawback with the roommate subscription sites is that you have to pay to read messages from potential roommates.  

For example, you may send a message or have received a message from a potential roommate, but in order to read the message in your inbox, you need to pay for a subscription via credit card.

Another observation I would like to note is that roommate subscription sites have a varying degree of network value. 

Network value is defined as the more users belong to that particular site, the more value it has.  An example, I often use is when you want to sell something, you’re going to go with eBay.com because the likely hood of finding a buyer on ebay is greater than other sites due to the number of registered users on eBay. 

This same concept holds true with roommate subscriptions sites.  I find that roommates.com and roomster.com have a decent number of registered users for my less than suburban area.

Paper Flyers Can Still Attract Roommates

I have used this old fashion method and it still works. This method actually takes some resources to create the flyer and time to post the flyers.

The key for this method is to post flyers in high traffic areas where your ideal roommates will lurk.  For example, if you want to find a college student, you would want to place the flyer around a college campus.

It may take some time to actually receive a phone call from the time the flyer is posted, thus patience is required with this method. 

If you’re looking for responses I would highly recommend using the aforementioned online methods.

Final Thoughts on Renting Out Rooms

With the combination of these methods or from just from one method, it’s possible to find a reliable roommate for your spare room.  The extra income from a roommate can definitely ease your financial situation.

I know there may be some apprehension when you’re renting a spare room to a complete stranger. 

It’s perfectly natural to feel that way.  I’ve had some minor issues along the way, but nothing has discouraged me so far.

I’m also not going to say that finding reliable roommates is an easy task.  It’s important to remember to find the right roommate versus any roommate. 

Don’t let the thought of the financial relief from the rental income cloud your better judgment and let anyone move in.

After hearing horror stories from other homeowners, I think I have been lucky with the roommates I had so far.  They have all be respectful of each other’s privacy and most importantly they pay their rent on time.

If you have a spare room and looking to ease your financial situation; Happy roommate hunting!

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9 comments comments closed

  1. Good stuff Mike. What has your experience been with female renters or exchange students perhaps?

    I’ve always been tempted to rent out a room, but I’m afraid the renter will bring over guests and party it up in the common space. Feels weird. Is there anyway I can tell them “room only” and not common space?

  2. I guess the upside of having a room mate is that they don’t have all the rights that a normal tenant would do so if they don’t pay the rent it’s easier to throw em out.

  3. @Samurai My experience has been good with both female and male renters. They have been respectful of my belongings and privacy. I never had an exchange student, although I never tried to look for an exchange student.

    I also want to mention that I am on travel for work right now, leaving my roommates by themselves. This is NOT the first time I have gone away for work or vacation. So far, I’ve had no problems(I might have just jinxed myself, this trip is only a day old). Obviously, you have to do your diligence in finding reliable/compatible roommates rather than finding anyone to all amped up about how much financial relief the rental income will bring.

    I don’t think you can tell them “room only” it’s not as bad as you think, like I said before my roommates have been all respectful and clean up after themselves and help clean when it comes time.

    Any other questions let me know!!

  4. I think it’s a good option to consider but I’d rather not. Thanks for the tips in case we ever need a roomie.

  5. Hi Mike – Sounds good. I had a relatively good experience where I rented out a room for 6 months, and the person worked nights and always kept to herself.

    I think I’m at the stage where unless there person is a relative or someone I’ve know for a loooong while, I don’t think I can rent it out. But, good to know if Armageddon strikes again that we have this option!