How to Decide If You Should Live Alone or Live with Roommates

living alone vs living with roommates

Is having a roommate worth it? Is it better to live alone? Many renters struggle with those questions while searching for an apartment. Living alone has its perks, but so does living with roommates.

If you’re one of the many trying to determine whether you should share an apartment or house, or live alone, here’s what you need to know.

Living alone vs. with roommates: Breaking down the pros and cons

Living with friends or acquaintances can be a wonderful experience, but so can having the privacy that comes with living alone. The decision ultimately depends on what matters most to you at the time you’re looking for a new apartment. Understanding some of the pros of each situation can help you determine what works best for your lifestyle.

The benefits to having roommates

  • Added convenience
    Roommates can bring added convenience to your living situation. For example, while you’re away on vacation, your roommate can let you know if you get important mail or water your plants.
  • Help with chores
    You can split up the chores with your roommates to keep your home in tip-top shape with less individual work or time spent. For instance, you can share grocery shopping duties, and rotate or split cleaning responsibilities. Having roommates can lighten the load for everyone.
  • Companionship
    If you enjoy having someone else around, one or more roommates means you’ll always have someone to turn to or spend time with. Even if you’re not super close, the presence of others in your home can make you feel less lonely.
  • Saving money
    Saving money is one of the biggest reasons renters choose to move in with roommates. Having roommates means you split the total cost of rent, and you can live in a house or apartment, or in an area, you might not have the means to pay for on your own. You can also split bills with roommates like utilities and other important apartment expenses.

Of course, roommates can come with drawbacks, too. You have less privacy, and ff you don’t get along or your lifestyles are drastically different (e.g. one of you is super neat and the other is very messy), the potential for conflict can far outweigh the potential benefits.

The perks of living alone

The advantages of living without roommates include:

  • Privacy
    Living alone, you can do whatever you want, whenever you want to do it, and there won’t be anyone watching. Guests can come over without your needing to ask. You can leave early in the morning or get home late at night without worrying about disturbing someone.
  • Lifestyle freedom
    If you have opposing views of what life at home should look like (say, your roommate likes to blast music while you need to study or get work done), you might find conflict at every turn. When living alone, you can set up your home as you see fit without compromise or conflict.
  • Avoiding financial issues
    Splitting bills with roommates offers one of the biggest advantages of having roommates — as long as everyone does their part. Unfortunately, there’s always a chance your roommate will have trouble paying their portion of the rent and other expenses. If you don’t have roommates, your financials are entirely your own.

Should you live alone or with a roommate: A short quiz

You can quiz yourself on a few things to answer the ultimate question: Should I get a roommate?

How are my finances?

Again, finances often top the list of reasons why people opt for roommates. A roommate can help you save on just about all of your living expenses, and living with a roommate (or two or three roommates) can help you afford a larger place. Just exercise caution when choosing roommates, as your landlord can hold you responsible if your roommates stop paying rent.

Do I mind sharing?

Sure, we all learned how to share back in kindergarten. But sharing with roommates means sharing your life, so you’ll need to feel okay with a higher level of sharing if you opt for roommates. Whether you’re best friends or exchange a friendly smile as you go about your days, you’ll need to at least exchange financial details to deal with rent.

You can also think about this question in terms of privacy. Your roommates might have friends over, and you might need to keep quiet during certain hours to expect your roommates’ wishes. If you value independence and privacy, living alone might offer a better arrangement.

Do I like having my own space?

Having roommates can help you feel less lonely, but some people really crave that solo time. Even if you don’t have any particular issues with your roommate and you all perfectly follow the roommate agreement you make together, having someone in your space can feel stressful if you need your time to relax and recharge alone.

Do I want help?

Roommates can pitch in and split up chores, so no one person gets stuck doing the not-so-fun tasks that come with living in a house or apartment. You can create a schedule for doing dishes, cooking, cleaning, and more.

Do I know someone, or will I need to find a roommate?

Although living with someone you know won’t always lead to a magical roommate experience, it can help. Finding a roommate from a pool of total strangers can create a lot of stress. Whether you move in with a longtime friend or someone new, make sure you ask the tough questions before signing your names on the lease. Asking about your roommate candidate’s daily routine, overall lifestyle, and ideas about how to fairly split chores and bills before diving in can save you from conflict in the long run.

Can I deal with conflict?

Speaking of conflict, you’ll want to assess your comfort level with it to decide: Are roommates a good idea for me? You’re bound to have disagreements with someone you live with at some point. If the thought of a little conflict at your home base makes you queasy, having roommates may not translate to the best choice. If you decide to live with roommates, creating roommate rules at the start of your time together can go a long way.

Is it better to live alone or with someone else? The answer depends on what you value from your living space. By weighing your needs for privacy, finances, and more, you can decide if having roommates will work well for you.

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The post How to Decide If You Should Live Alone or Live with Roommates appeared first on The Zumper Blog.

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