Monday, May 17, 2010

More on Craig's List ads

I don't pretend to be an expert on Craig's List, or how to get what you want when you post your ad.  But after months of searching for a place to live, and reading hundreds of Craig's List ads for rooms, there are some "do"s and "don't"s that stick out.  There's information you should include, and there's stuff that's entirely unimportant.  And even more than that, there are some unreasonable expectations that some people have when they're trying to find roommates.  This post just contains some of my thoughts about how people write their ads.

Information to include:
 * How much the person should expect to pay--
- Rent
- Which utilities are included in the rent
- Which utilities are not included in the rent
- The approximate cost of non-included utilities per person per month
* The room the person would be living in--
- Square footage of the room
- Number of windows
- Closet space
- Exactly what furniture the current occupant has in h/er room (if applicable) (by "exactly," I mean that I've seen a room that can fit a "bed," but what they meant was "twin sized mattress on the floor")
- Floor--carpeted or hard-wood
- If the apartment is multiple floors, which floor the room is on
- Whether or not the room is furnished
* The number of bathrooms in the apartment--
- How many people will share the same bathroom as the potential new roommate
* The kitchen--
- Appliances (fridge, garbage disposal, dishwasher, microwave)
- Whether or not the kitchen is eat-in or if there's a separate dining area
* Common areas--
- Whether or not there's a living room (in splits, there isn't one)
- If there will be any furniture needed or room for more
- Whether or not there is a shared common TV
- Carpeting or hardwood floors
* General apartment information
- Parking availability (specific)
- Location (city, cross-streets)
- Floor that apartment is on, and how many floors in the apartment
- Laundry situation
- Lease terms
* Roommates--
- Number of roommates
- Sex of roommates
- Jobs of roommates--intended to give potential roommates an idea of when you will be home and when you will not be
- Any essential information about roommates ("Must be LGBT friendly," "Jonathan is allergic to cats," important dietary information)
- Existing pets
* Landlord--
- Landlord or management company
- Landlord's availability to make repairs
- Smoking and pet policies
- Background check, credit check, proof of income
* Desired roommate--
- Desired sex (if applicable)
- Desired occupation status (grad student, professional, etc.)
- Desired age range
* Pictures of the apartment--
- At least ONE representative picture of the bedroom, if not two
- A representative picture of the kitchen
- A representative picture of the bathroom
- CL only allows 4 pictures; if you have a website or you cheat and fit more pictures in, add more pictures of common areas

None of this has to be in any order; it's just information that I know I would find very helpful!

What do I hate?  When the only picture up is a picture of roommates, or it's a dim photo of a messy bedroom.  When people have a laundry list of characteristics that their new roommate must have (watch TV with us, group dinners often, environmentally conscious, no significant others can stay over, no Republicans/Yankees fans, have to love to go out to bars with us).  When someone says, "No pets because I'm allergic to them."

Admittedly, I've been struggling to find a place because of two major factors: my car and my bird.  So I really resent when people don't list pet policies, or the preference is vague (such as saying you have "pet" allergies--does that mean you're allergic to birds?).

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