Renting Guide

How to write a flatmates wanted ad on Trade Me

Tips to help you find the perfect fit.

In short:

  • Take great photos of the flat and the room available 
  • Use keywords and give the ad some personality 
  • Include all the important information people will need to know 
  • Describe what the flatties like to do together 
  • Talk about what you’d like your new flatmate to be like

Anyone who’s ever flatted with strangers before knows things can go one of two ways. Either you’ll find yourself in a ‘Friends’-like flatmate utopia, where your flatties are your best mates and you share laughs, food and good times together. The alternative is less rosy, a world in which boundaries are crossed, food is officiously labeled and damp bath towels thrown on the floor. 

How can you make it a positive experience? It all starts with finding a flatmate using a Trade Me ad in the “Flatmates wanted” section – so here’s how to get yours right.

Writing a flatmates wanted ad: our guide

1. Make it eye catching

There are a lot of flats in New Zealand, so if you want yours to stand out to the right renter, it’ll take a bit of crafting. This means three things: 

  • Take good photos: we know that photos mean a lot to people looking at properties on Trade Me, so make sure you upload high quality images that accurately reflect the condition of your property. This isn’t the time for catfishing. 
  • Use keywords: people searching on Trade Me use keywords, just like any other search engine. We can’t tell you which specific keywords to use, as they will depend on the property you’re writing about, but put yourself in the mind of someone looking for a flat. What are your rental’s best features? 
  • Add some flair: you don’t need to write the next bestseller, but putting a bit of personality into your description will help you stand out to like-minded people.

Humans are visual creatures, so make sure the photos in your ad are on point.

2. Provide all the relevant details people will want to know

As well as ensuring your listing is appealing, you need to make sure your prospective flatmate’s questions will be answered in the ad. 

While you’ll be required to provide the real basics in order to upload your listing in the first place (stuff like rent, location, number of existing flatmates), you can provide more detail to give a better idea of what the property is like. 

Adding some colour about the property and current tenants may take a little longer but it’ll help to filter potential flatmates and hopefully attract mainly serious candidates to viewings. There might be certain flatmates you can’t accept – for example, couples when you’ve only got a single room, or pet owners when furry friends aren’t permitted. But remember, your flatmates wanted ad can’t discriminate by excluding people based on things like their race, religion, sexual orientation or any disabilities they might have. Read about what you cannot do on Tenancy Services. But, if in doubt, leave it out – go for positive and inclusive statements.

3. Make it appealing

We’ve already mentioned the importance of great photos in attracting interest in your flat, but the text of your ad can do this too. 

In particular, we recommend talking about the type of atmosphere you have in the flat. This will help find a flatmate who’ll be a good fit from your perspective, and who’ll also enjoy the experience of living with you. 

For example, if you’re not party people, but enjoy a flat meal together from time-to-time, talk about this. Who’s the BBQ chef in the flat? And who likes baking? Is there a movie night on Sunday nights? Providing personal info like this can help prospective flatmates imagine themselves living in the flat, and encourage them to take the next step and come for a viewing.

Sell the benefits of living with you – takeaway, anyone?

4. Make it about them too

The flipside to telling them about what you normally get up to as a flat, is describing what you’re looking for in a new flattie. 

This could include characteristics (‘friendly’ is always a good one), hobbies or things that would make them a good flatmate (no one wants a flattie who never leaves the house) – clean, tidy and reliable are always great attributes. 

Bonus tip: to seem more welcoming, and to prevent yourselves from accidentally cutting out the right person, be specific about what you want, rather than making generalisations about what you don’t. For example, not all students are messy night owls with no desire to take out the recycling, so saying “no students” could be counterproductive. Instead, make it clear that you’re looking for someone who’s tidy, willing to pitch in with household chores and not partying until 5 AM on a Tuesday.

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