Living with roommates can be a financially smart choice or necessity depending on your circumstances and situation. This post is in no way condoning anyone's situation, but to provide thoughts and opinions from my past experiences to help those making the consideration to live with roommates again or for the first time. Please be sure to leave your experiences and opinions in the comments as well to help those make an educated decision.
*Remember these are just my thoughts and opinions on my previous experiences, it is no way how every roommate situation turns out.
Let's start with a brief synopsis of my rental history/experience.
My Brief Rental History
I definitely grew up with siblings and shared a bathroom and all that, so I was in no way a stranger to living with people.
So flash forward to college and my first time living with anyone outside of family:
My freshman year roommate was great and inspiring person. However, I struggled with how she seemed to know everyone in our building while I knew no one and she also had a boyfriend who was basically staying with us every weekend. When he was around, she was very closed off and didn't chat much. Keep in mind, I also went from a high school with 400 people total to a university with 50,000 people, so things were a bit of an adjustment for me. But other than the two things mentioned, she really was a great roommate.
Rest of My College Years
After my freshman year, I knew I couldn’t live in a dorm again because of the very small shared living space, especially when there was a boyfriend constantly around. When one of my friends from high school told me she was looking for a sub-lease on her apartment because she wanted to stay on campus instead, I decided to take it over with another girl I went to high school with whom I played on a few different sports teams with. Although we had been on a few teams together and spent some time together, we weren’t really close friends, so I didn’t know much about her living style. I’ll just say that ended up being a mistake. We lived together for two years and then we both graduated and went our separate ways. Disclaimer: I feel the need to clarify that, yes I did in fact graduate in three years and I’m not just bad at math. I don’t mean that to come off as I’m bragging, but I didn’t want their to be any confusion on why I only spoke of three years in college.
Post grad, I lived with a significant other for a year before deciding that we weren’t right for each other. I then got my own place and I lived alone for a year and a half. Then I got a job back where I grew up and moved back in with my parents for a few days until I realized that wasn’t going to work out for long. I then bounced between a few living situations that didn’t work out due to overpricing, nickel and diming for things that weren’t renters responsibility, unnecessary roommate drama, and more. I then moved back in with my parents for a little while to save up in order to move down here.
When I first moved to Raleigh, I lived with two boys temporarily (lease ended 6 months after I moved) to get acclimated, save a bit of money and figure out where I wanted to live. I now live alone and I will talk about that soon!
Now that you’re all caught up on my brief rental history, let me get into what I consider to be the pros and cons of living with roommates.
You really can save a lot of money by having a roommate and if you have someone you can get along with or if you’re someone who isn’t an introvert like me and need your own space then I highly suggest having a roommate as long as possible, especially in the city.
Someone there to help you out with chores, taking care of pets (if you have them and if they are okay with it), etc.
Also another big bonus if you live with someone responsible and kind. Can be a negative if they are messy, gross, or don’t think they should have to do their fair share. Also super big bonus if you have pets like me. One of my most recent roommates helped me a lot with my dog while I was getting my life together down here.
Possibility for a live-in friend
Can be really fun if you get along
Can make new friends out of their friends or friends together
Very helpful if you’re completely new to a city and know no one. I can speak from experience on this one.
You always run the risk of them not paying bills, skipping out on you unexpectedly, having sketchy friends, forgetting to lock door, etc. So I highly suggest vetting people as much as possible before living with them.
Could have someone who doesn't clean up after themselves, is gross, or has weird quirks/annoying habits.
Nothing worse than having a gross and inconsiderate roommate.
Petty and passive aggressive comments and arguments
This is the part I cannot stand. I cannot tolerate pettiness and passive aggressiveness. Make sure that the person you are thinking of moving in with can communicate in a considerate, thoughtful, and direct manner.
In the end, and of course just my opinion, if you can afford to live alone I would highly recommend it. However, there’s a lot you can learn about yourself while living alone. It all depends on your financial situation, cost of living, and your priorities and goals in life.
Let’s hear about your experiences living with roommates vs. living alone!