Considering living with roommates? They can make renting cheaper and fun, but they can also make that experience harder than it needs to be. That’s why it’s so important to consider the pros and cons of every living situation, including having roommates or living on your own.
Here are the pros and cons of living with roommates you should keep in mind when trying to determine where you should live next—and with whom.
- 1 Pro of living with roommates: Savings on rent
- 2 Con: Potential financial risks
- 3 Pro: Splitting shared expenses
- 4 Con: Depending on others to pay bills
- 5 Pro: Extra help with chores
- 6 Con: More mess to clean
- 7 Pro: Sharing furniture and other household items
- 8 Con: More compromise
- 9 Pro: New or stronger relationship
- 10 Con: No guaranteed friendship
- 11 Pro: Someone to spend time with
Pro of living with roommates: Savings on rent
One of the main benefits of living with a roommate or a few roommates is that you get to split rent. Even if you and your roommates split rent based on the size of private living spaces, you’re likely still spending less on rent than you would be by yourself.
Con: Potential financial risks
When you have roommates, you have to depend on them to pay their fair share of rent to make sure you both have a place to stay. Plus, if you or your roommate pay rent late, you could be compromising your great rental history or be subject to paying late fees.
Depending on how your landlord handles rent, you may be able to sign separate leases so that you and your roommate pay rent separately and aren’t responsible for each other’s payment. This situation isn’t as common as being on the same lease and paying rent together. That’s why it’s so important to make sure your roommate has the financial stability to pay rent and pay it on time.
It’s common for roommates to split shared bills like electric, cable/internet, and other utilities. That means you can save at least 50% on all of those essential expenses. In addition, you might choose to split groceries, furniture for the house or apartment, and other amenities you and your roommates want. For example, you might purchase shared grocery items like eggs, milk, and bread or even a meal plan box.
Con: Depending on others to pay bills
When you share expenses, you have to depend on your roommates to give you money to pay utilities (if your name is on the account) or pay those bills on time after you give them money (if their name is on the account). Make sure that you discuss whose name will be on which utility accounts, when bills should be paid to that person so they pay the bill on time, and how you’ll handle any other shared expenses.
Pro: Extra help with chores
Having a roommate means you have someone to split chores with. You’re both responsible for doing dishes, taking out trash, and cleaning shared spaces. You can make sure everyone does their part by having a chore chart that schedules everyone for a specific task every day or alternate days and weeks. While this may sound like something your parents made you do to earn an allowance, it can help keep everyone accountable and equally divide chores.
You can also make tasks specific to certain people. For example, you may hate cleaning the bathroom and your roommate may hate doing dishes. So, you might offer to do the dishes if they clean the bathroom. You can also have everyone responsible for their own part of certain cleaning tasks, like doing your own dishes or cleaning your bathroom space.
Con: More mess to clean
While you can share chores, you also have to deal with more mess. Even if your roommate is relatively neat, they’re still helping to dirty dishes, dirty the bathroom, and create dust.
In addition, your roommates may have a different standard of cleanliness than you. That means they may not notice or think that an area is dirty enough to clean or have the initiative to clean a space before things get out of control. This is why it’s important to discuss what you both expect in terms of clean shared spaces and who’s responsible for what chores.
Pro: Sharing furniture and other household items
When you live with one or more roommates, you often get to split the cost of furniture for the shared spaces, split who’s buying what items, or contribute your own furniture and items that the others can share. This can make furnishing your rental cheaper because you’re not footing the bill for all new stuff. It also speeds up the process of furnishing the space since you’re not waiting to purchase the items you need if you don’t have the money to do so when you move in.
Con: More compromise
When you live with other people, you have to discuss what everyone prefers in terms of style, furnishings, and amenities. Maybe you prefer more modern decor but your roommate likes traditional styles. You would have to come to an agreement on what styles and furnishings go in the shared space, the temperature in the rental, or must-have amenities, like central heat and air, a dishwasher, or in-unit laundry.
Pro: New or stronger relationship
You might move in with complete strangers, acquaintances, friends, or romantic partners. Living together can forge or strengthen relationships because you tend to spend lots of time with your roommates.
Con: No guaranteed friendship
However, you and your roommates may not get along, which can strain any current or potential relationship. It is best to go into a roommate situation being friendly, cooperative, and open to spending time getting to know each other. But you shouldn’t expect a friendship to blossom. You should be prepared for a previous relationship to change if being roommates doesn’t work out.
Pro: Someone to spend time with
Even if you don’t become best friends with your roommate, you still have someone in the house with whom to chat or go out on the town.