With real estate in most major cities getting more and more expensive by the year, more and more people are turning to co-living or sharing a living space in order to keep their budgets in check. According to Real Trends, the percentage of people in the United States who are living with a non-family member housemate has increased from 22.1% in 2000 to 30.2% in 2012. This trend has been even greater in the city of Baltimore where 23.4% of people lived with a housemate in 2000 and 33.4% did in 2016. Both of these trends represent a greater than 25% increase in the number of people living with roommates.
Sharing a 2 bedroom apartment rather than living alone in a one bedroom can lead to drastic savings not just in rent, but also in the form of split utilities and cable, cheaper household supplies because you can by in bulk, and many more.
While the financial benefits of co-living are huge, there are also many more benefits such as the social benefits of having housemates especially if you are new to a city. Many people are forced to move for jobs, to cities where they don’t really know anyone socially where having a roommate can help you with meeting people, as well as having things to do to get acclimated to a new city.
Certain aspects can be both pros and cons. Having a roommate means that you always have somebody around that you could hang out with, but it also means that you always have somebody around that you have to deal with.
Lots of the time co-living involves living with someone that you either don’t know, or don’t know as well as you should before you move in. This puts you at risk for a number of uncomfortable situations. First of all, you may or may not get a long with your new housemate, and living with someone can put a strain on a relationship even among friends. Creating a roommate agreement is a great way to lessen the risks involved with co-living, especially when you don’t know the person you are going to be living with that well.
Sharing a place to live means that you have to be more tolerant and cognizant of what goes on inside your house. You have to address problems as they arise, and in a way that is respectful to both you and your roommates. You have to be tolerant that you won’t always have control of the TV, but that you may have more choices of what to watch because you are splitting a cable package multiple ways.
Before signing a lease, keep in mind that you are responsible for both your portion of the rent, and should your roommate fail to pay theirs, their portion of the rent as well. At homies, we highly recommend a credit check before getting into a situation where you are sharing a lease with someone that you didn’t previously know.
Both startups and technology in general have played a huge role in the recent changes to the co-living experience. Roommates finding apps, and online platforms for renting rooms have made it easier than ever to find budget friendly accommodations either by the room or with a roommate to share the expenses.
Recently there has also been a large amount of capital going into co-living startups. What these co-living startups do is offer room rentals either in larger houses, or in purpose built apartment buildings that are similar to student housing in a lot of places, but typically with significantly better amenities. Co-living spaces typically cost slightly more than splitting an apartment among roommates, but they do provide value for that extra cost.
First off, you are solely responsible for your own portion of the lease, rather than being responsible if one of your roommates were to not pay. So although you are not in control of who your replacement roommate ends up being, if a roommate has to move out, you are also not on the hook for their portion of the rent. This leaves you peace of mind to plan according to your finances rather than what might happen.