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Everyone loves to get something free, and online roommate matching is no different. There are many ways to find a roommate, and many online sites to advertise a roommate wanted. Of course, like any savvy consumer, you have to wonder if “free” really means “free.” In some cases, an online matching site to find roommates is completely free, others offer a free basic service up front and then charge for additional services, and some offer a small fee (usually around $20) for a whole range of services including things like:
1) A detailed questionnaire to help you not only find a roommate, but a kindred spirit you could develop a friendship with.
2) Authorization to request credit checks.
3) Will do a background reference check for you.
The roommate services that offer a basic membership with the option of upgrading to a paid membership, allow you to post a free ad on their website, but as soon as you get a match, you need to pay a small fee to contact that person.
And finally, there's the completely free online roommate matching sites. Think of them like a world-wide bulletin board where you can post your ad for free, and anyone in the world (some welcome responses; some not) can respond. That's not to say you have to reply to every person who sends a response, but it's important to know that because it's completely free, you might be exposed to a greater risk of scams and/or people with weird intentions. Whichever method you choose, just keep a clear head and use your best judgement.