NYC Apartment Hunting on Craigslist

I know you're out there somewhere!
I know you’re out there somewhere!

After months (literally, months) of searching, using brokers, using real estate agents, using referrals, and following up on weird postings on Craigslist I finally found an apartment to live in next month. Huge cathartic sigh of relief. It was an incredible pain in the ass to say the least. But I also found Craigslist was both a sketchy as well as hilarious place to look for a future dwelling and future roommates. The best thing though is that Craigslist apartment hunting is a lot like dating. First of all, you scroll through endless postings – all of the fish in the sea – to decide what seems to be a good fit for you. Just as in a real life situation, like at a bar, you judge them. I have 2 cats. JUDGING. I don’t have internet. JUDGING. I would like the household to remain a Vegan space. JUDGING. I usually never leave the apartment… like ever. JUDGING. And once you do pick a suitable post/suitor, you write yourself an email by which you will be judged upon. Some Craigslisters looking for a roommate prompt you to email them back with a paragraph of personal information, of which would be incredibly sugarcoated and extremely tailored depending on what kind of person I was contacting. Usually it looked like this:

Hey there _____!
Just saw your posting on Craigslist looking for a roommate! What a fantastic location! About me, I’m in my early twenties, finishing up my final semester at NYU. Between classes and my multiple jobs, during the week I’m usually busy and out and about. I’m looking for a place to come home and relax in. I am, however, a HUGE fan of Happy Hours! And when I’m not on that work grind, I love to go out to bars, concerts, parks, and try new restaurants. I’m a pretty relaxed and easy going person. I like to be clean and tidy when possible, but I do have my messy moments as well. I hail originally from the Bay Area, California, and am a huge sports fan (especially baseball). I look forward to meeting you and seeing if we’re a good fit!

Just like being set up for a date, right? Sometimes, even, the poster would send you information about themselves with a facebook link. To which you look at and decide to cancel your appointment. Mehhh, they just weren’t right for me. You awkwardly text/ email away before the initial meet up. I wouldn’t be lying if I got nervous before meeting potential roommates or a broker. Checking my breath, making sure I looked “future roommate” or “future renter” appropriate. What if they don’t like me? Does this shirt scream “I’m a poor dirty hipster”? Maybe I should change. They need to know I’m serious about this. Date? Or meeting a potential roommate?

Likewise, as most of us know for first dates… there’s A LOT of bad ones. Bad dates that you have to sit through but the whole time you’ve completely zoned out, and are trying to think of your escape route. Spot on for apartment hunting. You can be with a sketchy/slimy/shady broker who you don’t feel right about (or who is really creepy), or the potential roommate you’re meeting seems a little off to you (or has a cat, or there are red flags around the apartment), and zone out just the same. Hey, yeah… I just got a text from my friend I needed to meet up with 10 minutes ago. I’m so sorry. Just like a bad date, you don’t have the heart (okay sometimes you do have the balls to outright say “Hey, you bore the s**t out of me, thanks for dinner/coffee, I’m out”) to tell them youre not feeling it, so you fumble for an excuse to get out of the situation… which may even be worse. As you leave your date or ex-potential roommate, they ask you to keep in touch. As you hurry out you say you’ll call… but both parties know, that won’t be the case.

Then there’s the case of the potential roommate and apartment you fall in love with and your only option is to play the waiting game. Just like a fantastic date you went on, but (if your archaic and “traditional) you have to wait for him to call you (this actually isn’t a rule you should follow though). We got along so well! The conversation just flowed! He was so cute and he complimented me on my outfit! We belong together! You’re thinking after that first date. Just like after seeing your dream apartment. It’s all a matter of waiting until your potential roommate or your broker tells you your paperwork cleared. And once you get that call/text… you are one happy motherf***er.

Anyways though… you get the picture. Craigslist apartment hunting is essentially dating. Now let’s move on to Vocabulary you’ll encounter and what it really means…


  • “quiet lifestyle”: Does not enjoy drinking, sex, or general shenanigans. The person who requests a roommate who lives a “quiet lifestyle” is either very invested in their work, or anti-social / introverted. I get it though, you know? Also see people looking for roommates that are “career oriented”. Sheeeeiiiiit. We’re all career oriented. Doesn’t mean we have to be monks though.
  • “cats welcome / cat-friendly”: You beter like my fucking cat or else sucks for you. This is usually a deal breaker for me, as I HATE cats. But I’ve found cat people are more uptight about people liking their cats than dog people are. “Oh, you don’t think my cat likes you? It’s just because you aren’t being nice to him”. Fuck you, and your cat, dude.
  • “vegan/vegetarians only”: Like, don’t even contact us if you even think about red meat. We will flip a shit if you cook or eat anything once living in our presence. Like literally… Flip. A. Shit.
  • “drama free”: A lot of postings are looking for “drama free” roommates. Essentially what this means is that you won’t be that sorority girl fuck up who comes home at 3AM sobbing because she saw her ex. Or that you won’t instigate fist fights with your roommates (theres a true story there). You get the picture. Read here: sane person.
  • “can carry a conversation”: I totally get this. Basically people want a roommate that isn’t an antisocial introvert who comes home and disappears in their room doing god knows what for the rest of the night. You’d have to live in constant fear of whether said roommate would be standing over your bed one night. Totally understandable request.
  • “cozy” room: read, cramped as fuck. You can’t fit shit in here. But we’ll trick you into thinking you can.
  • great for the minimalist”: Again, we don’t have a lot of room. Your clothes, your shit, and that’s all. Forget everything else.
  • “converted 2BR / 3BR” etc: Basically your room is not a room. You can put a curtain up and make it a “room”, or a Japanese shoji screen and pretend like you have privacy but at the end of the fucking day, you DONT. It’s converted. It’s trying to be something it’s not.
  • x amount of time to from x place: Give or take 5-30minutes. Seriously.
  • “420 friendly”: Need I say more?
  • “___” floor walk up: 3rd floor – you need to get in shape. 4th floor – your ass will thank you for this. 5th floor – DAYUM GURL! Those calves be lookin like a Russian gymnasts! 6th floor – do not attempt these stairs while drunk.
  • charming” or “has character”: It’s old and we’re trying to dress it up in the way so you don’t freak out when you’ve heard the number of infestations the building has seen in its lifetime is in the double digits. An old building can be charming and have character. A rackety, old, decrepit building makes me nauseous.
  • “include photo of yourself and link to Facebook & Linked In profile”: A photo because A) We want to make sure you look like you bathe semi-regularly B) We want to make sure you don’t look like you should be on the neighborhood watch / local pedophile list, C) We want to make sure you look like a sane, normal, human being and D) We want to make sure you are indeed, a human being. Your Facebook link to basically verify you’re part of this world, the 21st century and do not plan on living in a cave. Also, do you have friends? We will stalk the shit out of you possibly. Your LinkedIn profile because we do want to verify you are in fact a contributing member of society and you do something with your life that is worthy of putting on a resume and/or LinkedIn profile.

Other Weird S**t I Saw On Craigslist:
– “Two mid-20s creative-type ladies who love the East Village for its neighborhood feel, delicious restaurants, and community gardens. One of us works from home and the other likes to make popcorn from scratch.” – I’m glad I know now. If she liked making microwavable popcorn it could’ve been a dealbreaker.
– “No harry potter haters” – This is a VERY necessary request.
-“YES…This is a Gay and 420 Friendly household. You need to be OK with that. And if you play Spades or Board Games you will be skipped to the front of the line 😛 ” – IS SPADES OR BOARD GAMES A SEXUAL INNUENDO I DON’T KNOW ABOUT??!
-“Rare type of cat am Japanese bobtail is here as well problem free” – So, I’m confused. Are you Japanese? Is the rare cat Japanese? And are you problem free or is the cat problem free?

Oh Cragslist. I will forever be creeped out and simultaneously intrigued by you. Dont. Ever. Change.



Add yours →

  1. Hilaroius. This vocab should be added to Craigslist’s official verbiage.

  2. Pricey Alex, first of all, appreciate your time and
    effort in Italy you’re really fortunate to possess such an chance.
    Do not forget that happiness draws in people. In spite of web dating creating huge strides in Italy, Italians don’t possess a word for
    “date”. You will fulfill ladies by means of friends, co-workers
    and just getting social. To get a 1st outing? Attempt and aperitivo as well as a film.
    A stroll around town and a meal we do like to eat.
    If you can prepare dinner, impress her. And don’t be too ahead.
    Italians enjoy to flirt. Excellent luck and
    report back.

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