Tourism in New Orleans is booming. The city hosted nearly 10 million people in 2014, the biggest year since Katrina hit. On the flip side, Katrina has caused the rental situation in New Orleans to become increasingly difficult. CNN/Money named New Orleans the 6th worst city for renters in the USA citing a 9% increase in rental costs and a 1.5% decrease in income since 2009. The Atlantic reports that more than 35% of New Orleans residents are spending 50% or more of their salaries on rent, nearly double the national average.
Perhaps the best way to make living in The Big Easy more affordable is to find a roommate in New Orleans. According to Rent Jungle, the average rent within 10 miles of New Orleans is now $1,416 per month. The most expensive neighbors to rent are Uptown, Saint Thomas and Lower Garden District. The least expensive are West Lake Forest, Little Woods and Holly Grove at nearly a third of the price of Uptown.
One of the most desirable places to live in New Orleans is the French Quarter. Tourists love to visit here, but locals love to live here. While you will find plenty of homes and apartments for rent in the French Quarter, it is also one of the more expensive places to live. This neighborhood is great for walking and biking, and most errands can be accomplished without ever leaving the area. If you love world-class entertainment, food, and nightlife, living here should be on the top of your list. Average rental rates here hover around $1,400 per month.
Next to the French Quarter is the Central Business District. A car isn’t mandatory to live here because things like groceries, shopping, and restaurants are all within walking distance. While crime might be a concern for a big city, living in the Central Business district is safer than 91% of cities in Louisiana, and the crime rate is 40% lower than the national average. Expect to find a lot of higher-end apartments for rent in this area. Rental rates range for from $1,300 to $4,000 per month.
Those looking to get away from Downtown should consider Uptown. Uptown is a trendy neighborhood with Victorian-Style homes, plenty of coffee shots, and fewer tourists. Uptown’s well-maintained homes, small-scale restaurants and shopping give the area a small town feel. Many daily errands can be accomplished here without the use of a car. Rental rates here average $2,300 per month.
Once you have figured out where in New Orleans you want to live, it is time to start looking for a roommate. Make yourself a list of qualities that are important to you. Things like smoking, cleanliness, pets, sleeping habits and work schedule should be on your list.
Consider asking friends and family for some roommate recommendations. They know you better than anyone, so there is a chance they might know someone that might be a good living companion for you.
Searching for a roommate online is another excellent option. While many people turn to Craigslist, it can be a bit sketchy. Thankfully there are many alternative websites dedicated to helping you find the best roommate. Roommate searching sites like roomster.com even have verified members with links to their social profiles so you can get a good idea who the person is, who their friends are and much more. Roomster has more than 56 private rooms available right now in New Orleans.
Once you narrow down your potential roommate list, you will want to meet in person before making a commitment. Choose somewhere in public to meet-up, perhaps over some Coffee and Beignets at Café Du Monde. If you are uncomfortable meeting someone on your own, bring a friend along with you even if you just want a second opinion. You may wish to meet a couple of times to make sure you are comfortable and compatible.
Once you find the right person, prepare a roommate agreement so you know what your responsibilities are. The agreement includes things like cooking, cleaning, groceries, etc. It is going to be hot living in New Orleans, so be sure to figure out how your utility bills are going to be divided up. Keep in mind that a vague roommate agreement may lead to problems later on, so be specific.
Hopefully, these tips have aided you in finding a roommate in New Orleans. New Orleans is a culturally rich city offering plenty of old world charm. With its architecture, music, cuisine and annual Mardi Gras celebration, New Orleans is truly “the most unique city in America”.
Start your New Orleans roommate search today.