As Miami’s cost of housing continues to rise to record heights, many consumers are finding they can’t go it alone. So it is no coincidence a roommate-finding company is making a home in the Magic City.
Roomi announced Wednesday that it is expanding into the Miami, Orlando and Atlanta markets. The New York-based venture-funded startup is already in New York City, San Francisco, Boston, Philadelphia, Seattle, Chicago and other urban centers.
Sort of a Tinder for roommates, Roomi's free iOS and Android apps and website (roomiapp.com) are aimed to match up those seeking to rent out empty rooms as well as those searching for a new home. Once users create a profile, they can search for shared living accommodations, housemates and rooms simply and quickly. Every listing is vetted by Roomi before going live in the platform’s database, according to the company.
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Roomi’s app has been downloaded nearly 350,000 times to date and has matched more than 50,000 roommates in other markets. About 1,300 people in the Miami metropolitan area requested the expansion so Roomi expects the app to be populated quickly with local listings and profiles, a spokesman said.
“The demand for quality, affordable rentals in the most popular urban areas of the country is constantly expanding ... [and] as a result, rents are reaching historic highs,” said Ajay Yadav, Roomi’s founder and CEO. “The number of renters countrywide spending more than 30 percent of their income on rent has also hit near-record highs.”
In fact, according to a recent study from real estate website Apartment List, Miami tops all cities for the cost burden of renting. Two in three Miami renters pay 30 percent or more of their salaries to their landlords, making them “cost burdened.” One in three renters pay more than half their income in rent, according to the study.
While seeking to shorten the stay with the parents, Roomi also aims to help its customers steer clear of roommate nightmares. Upon registration or placing a listing, users answer a series of personality and lifestyle questions such as pet allergies and smoking habits as well as location and price range desires. Roomi’s algorithm translates these answers into a detailed profile, allowing users to search for housing and housemates who meet their needs and preferences. Listers can also view and message those who have viewed their rooms.
Once a user finds a potential match, the app’s built-in chat feature allows them to communicate within the platform about issues important for successful housemate relationships, including shared values, common interests such as yoga or biking, compatible lifestyles and even TV preferences, food likes and socializing styles.
Of course, Roomi isn’t the first to offer an online roommate-matchmaking service. Easyroommate.com and Roommates.com, among others, have been actively operating in Miami.
Nancy Dahlberg; 305-376-3595; @ndahlberg