The Pros and Cons of Having Roommates

This post is written by Jennifer Riner of Zillow.

Renters looking to save money should consider leasing apartments with friends. College students are notorious for cohabitating with classmates to spend more time together before graduation. Increasing numbers of 20-something’s carry this mentality into their professional lives to save money. Even more experienced renters choose to bunk with old friends for camaraderie. While living with friends can be fun and financially responsible, it can also present certain disadvantages.

Before signing contracts with colleagues, consider the following pros and cons.

Advantages

Saved Money

Half of the rent of a two-bedroom apartment is likely less expensive than the full rent of a one-bedroom in the same building. These price variances mean renters can save money while reaping the benefits of residing in more expensive complexes and communities. Decreased rent per person means a better chance to score the best location, too. Prospective tenants looking at apartments for rent to share with friends can stretch their budgets further than if they were hunting solo.

Split Chores

Two people can clean a lot faster than one. Household chores should be divvied up evenly so both parties complete the same amount of work. Renters may find themselves more organized if they know their roommates are affected by their cleanliness, or lack thereof.

Increased Safety

Living alone can put individuals at risk for break-ins and burglaries. Although having roommates doesn’t guarantee well-being, it certainly helps dissuade criminals. Aside from theft, roommates can assist in cases of medical emergencies, such as heart attacks or concussions. Unsurprisingly, single renters are more at risk when serious emergencies occur than those with roommates who can alert authorities or call ambulance services. Hopefully none of the above occurs, but having someone available for support helps bring peace of mind if nothing else.

Disadvantages

Unreliable Rent Payments

Late portions of total rent payments reflect negatively on all residents. Landlords typically don’t charge separate rents for each roommate. Rather, property managers consider units as a whole, so monetary disregard is attributed to everyone. Aside from irritating landlords, rent negligence can hurt credit ratings or potentially cause evictions. Select roommates who have proven their financial responsibility in the past. Budget-minded friends are likely good potential roommates who won’t harm anyone’s fiscal future.

Personal Disagreements

Being forced to share space with someone can cause immense tension and negatively affect an otherwise great renting experience. What is the point of paying for apartments with gourmet kitchens and luxurious living rooms if roommates make it uncomfortable to venture into common areas? Make sure roommates’ personalities are compatible; close friends are likely better fits than random renters from online classified advertisements.

Differing Lifestyles

Typically, homebodies shouldn’t live with constant partiers. Even if personalities are a match, their differing lifestyles may cause issues. For example, a full-time worker should avoid living with a nightlife-loving undergrad. Find renters with corresponding calendars, so sleep schedules aren’t disrupted. Nothing prompts a fight quite like exhaustion coupled with annoyance.

Whether renting with an old acquaintance or interviewing a friend-of-a-friend, consider the aforementioned pros and cons to decide whether sharing an apartment is the right choice.

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