Looking For A Roommate? New Zillow Feature Lets You Browse Individual Rooms For Rent

Zillow users can now view individual room listings alongside traditional rental and home sale listings on the company’s website. The move comes as more Americans look for ways to reduce monthly housing expenses as rents and home prices continue to rise.

U.S. rents have increased by 30% since the start of the pandemic, with a year-over-year increase of 4.6% in December, according to a Zillow market report. Single-family rentals reported an average asking rent of $2,122 in December, while multifamily rentals fell to $1,826.

A single room is generally much less expensive to rent than an entire house or apartment. Yet 59% of Millennial and Gen Z renters said they wouldn’t know where to find a roommate if they needed one, according to a December Harris Poll conducted for Zillow.

“By introducing room listings, we’re crafting a robust marketplace of options that truly reflects the varied needs of renters,” said Zillow vice president of rentals Michael Sherman in a news release.

Some other apps and websites also allow users to find roommates and available rooms, including Roomster, Sublet.com, Roomi, Diggz, Spare Room and Craigslist. However, Zillow is unusual in that it offers single-room rentals alongside traditional “entire place” listings and homes for sale.

How Does the New Feature Work?

Only rooms in single-family homes, select condominiums and townhomes are eligible to be included on Zillow’s website. The listings provide details about such things as bedrooms, closet space, shared spaces and other roommates living on the property.

To search for room listings on the Zillow platform, click on “Rent” and go to the drop-down menu under “Home Type.” You can then select “Room” and adjust your options based on such factors as location, budget and whether pets are allowed.

Homeowners can create room listings via the Zillow Rental Manager, which asks for information on the room’s size, bathroom proximity, shared spaces, roommates, pet policies, smoking tolerance, parking availability and more. Owners can connect directly with renters through the Zillow Rental Manager dashboard.

How Can Homeowners Benefit From Room Rentals?

With home prices skyrocketing and mortgage rates hovering around 7%, monthly mortgage payments can be expensive.

Renting out a room in your home can create another stream of income to help you afford monthly bills or pay off your mortgage faster.

Before you list your room, make sure you establish the right price so you can profit from the rental without charging too much to attract a tenant. Also, check with your homeowners insurance provider. Some policies prohibit you from having a renter. You might need to change your coverage to include landlord protection.

How Can Tenants Benefit From Renting a Room?

A rental housing study by researchers at Harvard University found that the share of cost-burdened renters has risen to 50%, up by more than three percentage points since 2019.

Renting just a room can save you money if you don’t mind sharing a home. It can also give you access to amenities you might not otherwise have, such as a large yard or kitchen.

However, room rental prices are not automatically a bargain. Review the lease terms and research single room rents in your area before agreeing to a deal.

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The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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