The Pros and Cons of Living With Roommates
If you’re looking for a new apartment, one of the first decisions you’ll have to make is whether you want to live with roommates. While there’s nothing wrong with living alone, it can get lonely! That’s why for most people, living with roommates is often a hallmark of life.
While roommates can become lifelong friends, incompatible lifestyles can also lead to conflict that may disrupt your peace of mind and the peace of your shared apartment. To that end, it’s worth knowing what you’re getting yourself into when you sign a lease with roommates. This guide will explore the pros and cons of living with roommates, including:
- The financial considerations of living with roommates
- The social considerations of living with roommates
- Living considerations of roommates
Let’s get started!
The financial considerations of living with roommates
Money is the main factor for most people deciding whether to live with roommates, since having someone to help with apartment expenses can take a huge weight off of you financially. Here are some factors to keep in mind when considering the two sides of the financial coin of cohabitation:
Pro: Saving money
Rent is expensive! Depending on your circumstances and your location, you may not be able to afford to live on your own. Even if you can, you may be able to afford a much nicer apartment in a nicer location if you have roommates.
However, paying rent isn’t the only way roommates can help you save money:
- Utilities: While it’s true that having more than one person in a space will likely mean an increase in overall utility usage, your share of the higher total will almost certainly be less than it would be if you were responsible for utilities on your own. Splitting electricity, heat, internet, and cable is one solid way to save on your monthly utility bills.
- Furniture: You’re still going to need your own bed, but pooling assets to furnish communal spaces means less money needs to be spent overall. Sharing costs on items like a television, sofa, kitchen table, and even cookware could lead to real savings. Just be sure you have a plan for who gets to keep what items for when your living situation comes to an end.
- Food and other expenses: Eating your roommate’s food is usually frowned upon, but you can share expenses for easily shared pantry items like spices and flour. The same goes for things like toiletries that the whole house needs. Just be sure one person isn’t always the one who gets stuck buying the toilet paper, or you may be heading toward a resentful situation.
Con: Missed payments
If you could guarantee that your roommate would always pay the rent on time and cover their share of the utilities, then doing the math on how much you can save would be easy. Unfortunately, it doesn’t always work out that way. If your roommate misses a payment, you’ll be on the hook. And if you can’t pay, it could lead to several consequences, such as:
- Late fees: You could face late fees, have essential services disrupted, or lose your apartment due to eviction.
- Poor credit: Non-payment could have a long-term effect on your credit history.
- Leasing woes: Non-payment could affect your ability to sign a lease in the future.
Be sure you know enough about your roommate’s financial history that you feel confident in their ability to make regular payments to avoid any of these issues.
The social considerations of living with roommates
Any time you share a living space with someone, it will affect you socially. That doesn’t necessarily mean you’ll become best friends with your roommate, but you will likely meet people through them, and your schedule will be affected by theirs. Here are some factors to consider:
Pro: Friends forever
Since you’ll be getting to know your new roommate in a pretty intimate way, that can lead to lasting bonds between you. But, even if you don’t become that close, it can be nice to have someone to spend a random Tuesday night with!
Con: Lifelong enemies
Okay, enemies may be a bit dramatic, but let’s face it—some people just don’t get along. The little things that someone does may get on your nerves, and while it may be easy to overlook these quirks in a social situation, they’ll likely become amplified when you start living with that person. Sometimes the best thing for a friendship is maintaining a bit of distance.
Not everyone is equipped to be a lone wolf, and sometimes it’s nice to have someone else around, even if that someone isn’t your closest friend. Roommates can find many ways to connect while still keeping separate lives. For example, if you’re planning on cooking and your roommate will be around, making enough for both of you can be a nice way to connect and do something kind for each other. Better yet, the favor may very well be reciprocated! Additionally, if you include each other in gatherings of friends—either at the apartment or out at social events—you can create connections that help both of you expand your social circle.
Con: Lack of privacy
Having another person living with you means making some sacrifices you may otherwise not be comfortable making. For example, if your comfortable noise level is different from your roommate’s, it can lead to tension and an unhealthy living situation. Maybe you feel like you have to be quiet at times you don’t want to, or maybe your roommate is too noisy when you’re trying to sleep or get work done.
You’ll also want to factor in how important a feeling of freedom is. For instance, maybe you like walking around your apartment in your underwear—and why not? It’s your apartment! But that’s the sort of thing that could make your roommate uncomfortable, which can lead to a situation where one of you feels they have to walk on eggshells in their own living space.
All in all, consider how much personal space you’re giving away with a roommate.
Living considerations of roommates
This is where lifestyle choices come into play. If you and your roommate have similar standards for cleanliness and the same taste in cottagecore decor, it could be a match made in heaven. However, if you prefer to dedicate your cleaning to Sundays and they prefer late-night deep cleans, you may be in for a few disagreements regarding your living arrangement. Keep these factors in mind:
Pro: More hands make light work
No one likes doing household chores, but with more than one person working on things, it doesn’t have to be so bad. You can vacuum while your roommate dusts. Spring cleaning can be done in half the time if you do it together. With a roommate, the shared responsibility can make housework easier.
Con: More work for one
Or…maybe not. Not everyone has the same standards for cleanliness, and while you may want to wash the stovetop every day, your roommate might be more of a once-a-month type. If your cleaning habits don’t match, one of you may find yourself doing the lion’s share of the work and feel more like a parent than a peer.
Pro: Blending styles
Have you ever turned on an HGTV show for five minutes and then suddenly realized you’ve spent the whole day watching strangers redesign a house? That’s because decor can be fun! And it can be even more fun when collaborating with someone else.
Putting together shared spaces can be a bonding experience where you and your roommate learn from each other by:
- Picking out shared furniture and other accessories for the apartment
- Decorating the walls with art and posters
- Deciding on colors if you look to paint any of the shared spaces
- Deciding on interior design when setting up furniture in your shared living space
Con: Clash of the Titans
Of course, part of why those HGTV shows are captivating is because when people disagree, it can lead to some entertaining fights. They’re less entertaining in real life, though. Arguing over whether you get to keep your favorite chair can be a tough way to kick off a roommate relationship.
Pro: Lots of fun!
Even if you’re more of a pink and frilly type of gal and your roommate prefers modern minimalism, there’s still plenty of opportunities to cultivate a fun and friendly environment within your shared spaces.
Agree to keep your personal styles within your private spaces and use your shared living space for fun activities like Friday movie nights, Sunday brunches, or Wednesday-night board games. Or, if you’d rather spend a night out on the town, your roommate can be your automatic plus-one for when you’re not in the mood to haggle for taxis alone.
Live the way you like with Landing
Roommates may not be for everyone, but how can you tell if they’re for you? Well, one solution is to try things out before you commit to any long-term lease. With Landing’s flexible lease options, you can enter into a rental for anywhere from one month to 12 or more. You and your potential roommate can see how things go, with the flexibility to exit with just 30 days’ notice.
And, you get to experiment with more than just a roommate—Landing’s fully furnished apartments let you experience new areas and different cities, giving you the freedom to explore without feeling stuck. Create your ideal living situation with Landing and browse our furnished apartments today!
Recommended Blog Post
Want to kickstart the roommate-hunting process? Check out our blog post, “How to Find a Roommate in a New City”