Finding A Housemate In Melbourne
The Man started out in removals by shifting his student mates in his beat-up van, so he’s seen heaps of share houses, from snazzy South Yarra apartments to sprawling Preston pads.
These days he has crews out all over Melbourne in three vehicle sizes, making sure his customers are moved into their new homes with a minimum of fuss. While he's taken on some bigger jobs, he's still doing share house moves, and he's still got the lowdown on where to look for housemates.
Finding the perfect candidate for a room can seem akin to winning the lottery. Sometimes it's hard to find the specific qualities you’re looking for, like someone who is into pets, has a reasonable standard of cleanliness, and won’t blast psytrance until 4am on a Tuesday. This is a decision it’s crucial to get right, as once your new tenant moves in, it can be hard to move them on if it’s not working out.
Read on for our tips on where to find your next special (or at least tolerable) someone.
Fairy Floss Real Estate (Facebook group)
Established almost a decade ago by Melbourne PhD student Fabian Kong, this once-humble Facebook group has become the go-to destination for share housing and housemate finding in Melbourne. There are now more than 200,000 members in the group. Members post when they’re on the lookout for a new housemate (usually displaying images of the room and home), and interested parties can comment or direct message the poster for more information. Increasingly, members also put out ‘seeking room’ posts and wait for replies from interested potential housemates with a room to fill. Fairy Floss is easy to use and has low barriers to entry - it’s free, and mostly everyone has used Facebook at some point, so the interface is familiar and intuitive. The only drawback to be aware of - and it's not really a drawback - is that if you’re advertising a room in a sought-after location, the level of response can be overwhelming.
Flatmates.com.au is a widely advertised platform which, like Fairy Floss, allows for listings of vacant rooms as well as people putting themselves up to join an existing sharehouse. It’s free, but with the option of subscribing for early bird access to adverts. With a Trustpilot score of 9.2, Flatmates is well-regarded by its users, and seems to be growing in popularity, perhaps because of the large number of hard-to-miss billboards featuring it around Melbourne.
This is also another popular destination when looking for a roommate, with a simple set of easy-to-use parameters for searching through applicants. A fee applies to advertise a room, and the cost varies depending on how long you want the advert to run. On the other hand, potential housemates post for free, so you can have a browse through your potential new housemates here without cost.
The marketplace for everything, housemates and spare rooms included. Try searching for ‘flatmate’, ‘housemate’ or ‘roommate’.
Word of mouth
Don’t hold back on informing people of your vacant accommodation the old-fashioned way. Spread the word with your mates, and you might just discover that someone you know well is keen to move in - saving you from the notorious interview process.
Don't forget - interview and viewing
Obviously, finding a suitable-seeming candidate is only the first step in locking in a great new housemate. You should set-up an interview time with any likely lads or ladies, both to show them the place and see if you get on. Make sure your other housemates are around for this too, if possible - if they’re involved in the decision, you won’t be on the hook for it by yourself later on. This meet-up is also a good opportunity to let the candidate know about the rental costs, any quirks of the house (or housemates) and neighbours.