How to write (and read) a room offered ad

Keep your housemate wanted ad simple, but maybe not this simple

Keep your housemate wanted ad simple, but maybe not this simple - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

Wanted: a calculator, screen magnifier and bullshit detector to decipher online adverts for flatmates. Here’s how to write an advert to get the housemate you want and a glossary of terms for home hunters.

Include the monthly price

Most people get paid by the month and so working out the rent as a proportion of their salary will be much easier (and won’t necessitate a calculator) if you just bite the bullet and say that your large double room is £1,430 per month, rather than trying to con anyone that it’s £330.

Use decent photos

Too many is better than too few, and for gods’ sake tidy up and draw the curtains – you won’t be able to hide the view of the rubbish tip/murder shed/kitchen once the person’s viewing the flat anyway and natural light is so much better than strip lighting.

Tidy up

Seriously, do some washing up, make the bed, put your dirty laundry out of view. We should not need to explain why.

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Get your euphemisms right

Be honest about whether you’re partial to an impromptu mid-week piss up or if you’ll be upset if the newbie doesn’t pull their weight on the cleaning rota. It’s not worth getting anyone in under false pretences. Read our glossary, below, for some helpful pointers.

What do those housemate ads really mean?

Lively. Every evening you spend at home will be like attending Burning Man. People with 9 to 5s need not apply

Sociable. You’ve got your own friends? Prepare for weird tension when you make plans that don’t include the housemates or are out too many evenings on the trot

Professional. Mega square. No noise after 10pm, no friends over during the week, a fridge full of pre-prepared work lunches in Tupperware

Clean. Passive aggressive notes and an openly aggressive cleaning rota are the order of the day here

Chilled out. Stoners

Quiet. You will not speak to a single one of your housemates the whole time you live there. The only sound you will hear is the scuffling as they run into their room and close the door as your key hits the front door lock

Stunning. New stuff. Size, location, quality are all secondary to the newness

Cosy. Really really small. Exactly 20 cm larger than a single bed

Vintage. Dusty, broken, infested with at least one type of pest

Looking for a female flatmate. Unless the other flatmates are women, or at least a mixed group looking for gender balance, then this is definitely a sex listing. Apply only if that’s your bag

Great location. There is nothing good about this room except for the fact that it’s near the tube. It’s unbelievably expensive, the slumlord makes Peter Rachmann look sweet, your housemate is a vampire, but you can get from your bed to the Northern Line in under five minutes

Amazing. Expensive

Very nice. Acceptable