A little update on my living situation over the summer. My last lease ended at the end of July, around the same time I had decided to see a little bit of the world. Instead of finding (and paying for) a new home before leaving, my stuff found a nice home in storage and I spent a month in guesthouses and hotels. I figured I would come back, spend about a week at a friends while I found a new place to live, much like when I moved to San Diego. It took me about 5 days to find a home that time.

I returned, plopped my backpack down in my buddy Ernie’s place (he has a spare room, no couch for this couchsurfer) and started replying to Craigslists ads for roommates. This did not go well. I’ve chatted with a few people on the dynamics of finding a room, and it is widely considered that it is easier to find a room at different times during the year, but nobody knows when the good times are. There might be some validity to this, no problem in May but in September an influx of college students looking for housing makes drives up the demand.

From my recent experience, I would argue that time of the month is more important. At the end of the month room hunters are desperately trying to find the new home they have to have by the first, while room suppliers can hold off to find the right roommate because it will just cost them a few bucks (obviously the cash strapped don’t have this option, but many do). My recent experience backs this up, at the end of last month when I started my search I had trouble just getting anyone to respond to calls and emails, and the places I did see I got the impression had what for practical purposes was an infinite supply of room seekers. After the first the success rate, at least in terms of getting to go check out the place and meet the room supplier, went way up. And now, about 20 days after starting my search I have finally scored a place to live, near SDSU, my new institution of higher learning, which was kind of my second option after the beach, but it seems like a good place with cool roommates.

So if you are going to need to rent a room in shared housing, I would recommend searching early or mid month, and I wouldn’t be surprised if the effect goes over to renting out places as well. Of course, the sample here is pretty small.

Actually meeting with all these people was interesting. Some folks basically show you the room send you on your way and might later call to offer it to you. Some people want to have long getting to know you chats, most are somewhere in between. I ruled out people who didn’t seem interested in getting to know potential roommates, who your living with is often more important than were in a given living situation. Deal breakers for me were people who invited me over to get to know me, then informed me that I would have to come back to meet everyone, as if I have nothing to do but come over to there house to meet with them over and over again.  Worse were people who weren’t home when I was supposed to meet them and later called trying to reschedule, that’s just rude. One place had me fill out a questionarre instead of a getting to know you chat, which I think is a decent idea, but should’ve been done by email instead of me driving twenty minutes to look at a house and be ruled out as a roommate because I didn’t have the correct hobbies. I wonder if some sort of eharmony like roommate matching site could be profitable? I smell a class project…

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