Living with Roommates: To Roommate or Not to Roommate?

Two female roommates sitting on a floor in an empty room, embracing while one holds up their keys to their new apartment.

 

As a recent article in The New York Times pointed out, more and more adults are choosing to live with roommates, despite having the financial means to afford their own apartments. For some, the high cost of living alone in New York is just not worth it, and they prefer to save their money by not pouring it all into their rent. For others, the choice of living with roommates is more about the built-in social connection of sharing space with others. New York is not an easy place to live in, and it’s easy to become overwhelmed and isolated by your surroundings. We often take for granted that roommates provide vital social interaction, mostly as an ear for venting.

Here are a few other reasons why living with roommates is beneficial and could be right for you.

Fewer Chores

Living with roommates will free up more time that you would otherwise spend doing chores. With more people around, chores like cleaning the bathroom, taking out the trash, and handling the super will help ease your responsibilities as a tenant. The added traffic of roommates and their guests will most likely mean your apartment will become messier faster, but as long as everyone pitches in messes should not get out of hand. It’s even common for larger apartment shares to have a weekly or bi-weekly cleaning service, which could be your preferred option since costs are very reasonable when split. (See next point.)

Smaller Bills

In addition to rent, roommates also help cut down on other living costs such as bills and housewares. Your monthly rent payments will be substantially lower, and you also won’t need to pay the full cost of furnishing the apartment. Also, having roommates might allow you to have extras that you wouldn’t be able to afford on your own, like cable TV or air conditioning. Savings from sharing costs of living will be an added bonus for dining out, seeing shows, or that expensive gym membership.

Bigger Apartment

Naturally, living with roommates means living in a bigger apartment with a larger living space and kitchen. Also, apartments designed to accommodate more people typically have more amenities, like a balcony, dishwasher, washer-dryer, or outdoor access to a roof or garden for entertaining. Though you’ll be living with more people, you’ll find that you’ll still have plenty of time to yourself to take advantage of these perks.   

Of course, if you decide to live with roommates, make sure you properly vet all applicants. We’ve all heard horror stories from friends (or even lived to tell the tale) about a terrible roommate that seemed normal enough at first, so do all you can to screen prospective roomies. If you have any doubts about living with someone, it might be best to go with your gut and keep looking.