What you ought to know ….
You are looking for one person. You aren’t looking for fifty or twenty or even five people.
Out of an entire crowd of potential housemates, you are looking for one that suits you. So when writing an ad, write one that speaks to that person. Yes, you might feel like you want to have a choices.. but why exert time and energy talking to those who are not a good fit? If you spend time talking only to the right person who moves in, haven’t you saved yourself a lot of trouble and bother?
What follows is a great ad. (Found on craigslist.) Can you tell what makes it great?
Subject: Future Awesome Housemate. Where Are You?
I have a terrific house. I love it, I really really do. It’s maybe just a bit too big for a girl on her own. I’m looking for a kick-ass roommate to share space and expenses with.
About the house: It’s in the NE, a little ways out but not too far and right on the bus line. It was built in 1925 and has amazing built-ins and hardwoods and charm galore. I love it. The neighbors are fantastic and I’ve never felt more at home anywhere else. It’s a 3 bedroom, but I’m just looking for the one roommate right now. (I’m not hoping for any four-legged or furry roommates at this time, either.) I have furniture everywhere but the room you’ll be moving in to. If you need a bed and such, I could actually provide that, too. We’d share a bathroom, but that just makes for a cozy feeling. I’m not the kind of girl who takes forever in there, so it’s been okay so far. There is a ton of space in the basement for storage, if you need it.
About me: I’m practically 40, but not yet. I don’t feel like I’m practically 40. I am pretty active and social. I am rarely home. I am out of town most weekends and out of the house most evenings. I’m a professional woman, but not so professional that it prevents me from being a total dork a lot of the time. I like to have a glass of wine or pint of beer with friends, I like to run and do yoga, I like to read and write, I like pool and darts, I like meeting new people, and I like to eat food, but rarely cook. Occasionally I’ll have some incredible people over for a casual cocktail in the back yard. I am learning to be a better gardener/yard worker. It’s a work in progress. I’m a work in progress, I’m sure.
About you: I don’t really know demographic details. You could be a boy or a girl of any variety from 25ish to 55ish, so long as you are awesome and enjoyable. I would hope that you are financially stable and all that, but the rest is up to you. I like open-minded people, and if you have an issue with the gays or with any particular ethnic group, then we will probably not get along. At all. I’m looking for someone with whom I can laugh at the absurdity of our daily lives, but who is not expecting me to be their very best friend forever. The ideal you knows what the dishwasher is and how to use it. You’re mostly clean, but not a Nazi about it or anything. Maybe you like to garden and can help me figure out what the hell I’m doing out there? Maybe you have a partner and maybe you don’t. Maybe you are vegetarian but you don’t mind that I occasionally chew on meaty goodness and keep it in the fridge. We can figure it all out when we meet. We’ll know when we find each other, Future Awesome Housemate!
I am looking for either $500 + half utilities or $600 including utilities (which is a deal for you in the winter and a deal for me in the summer). In exchange you get your room, a front yard and back yard, storage space, a kick-ass roommate when I am there and pretty much run of the house when I’m not there, which is a lot. There is also the option of having the third bedroom as an office, if you happen to need one. We can negotiate that if need be.
I look forward to meeting with you! [Contact info deleted.]
Yes, it’s really long. What makes it great is that it has all six parts necessary to a housemate ad . The writer describes:
- the house,
- the room, (maybe not quite enough?)
- herself in enough detail to get the idea,
- what she’s looking for in a housemate,
- the financial arrangement up front, and,
- contact info (though deleted from the above excerpt.)
In addition, she’s clear about her must haves and can’t live withs and declares them upfront. Most importantly, she exudes a positive spirit about the person for whom she’s looking.
She found her housemate within a week of posting this ad.
When you write your ad, make sure you have all six parts. Make it great by putting your personality in it and drawing in the housemate who will be right for you. Before you post, get feedback from friends. It’s worth the effort to get it right the first time. You too are looking for your future awesome housemate!
And now you know what you ought to know about housemate ads.
Want more information? Get a copy of the book, Sharing Housing, A Guidebook for Finding and Keeping Good Housemates.
You might also read How Do I Find a Good Home-Mate?.