It’s always difficult to decide if you need a roommate or not. There are pros and cons to having a roommate. Let’s take a look at them.
You’ll save money! If your rent is $1400 a month, you may find it difficult to cover that cost on your own. By having a roommate, each person is only paying $700 a month in rent. You’ll split other expenses too like utility bills and food costs. Protect yourself (and your roommate!) by putting your agreement regarding expenses in writing.
You may be able to afford a much nicer place by splitting the cost with others. On your own, you may be limited to spending $700 a month in rent. Two people sharing a place at that rate could afford $1400. Three people could pay $2100. Just think about how much nicer a place you might find for $2100 (with three bedrooms) than for $700.
It may result in less work for each person. Come up with an agreement (in writing) stating who will be responsible for each household task, possibly on a rotational schedule to make things as fair as possible. Try to include all of the household jobs, like cooking, dishwashing, cleaning common areas, taking out the trash/recycling, etc. You’ll probably want to have each person responsible for maintaining their own private spaces, like their bedroom and private bathroom (if you have one).
You won’t be alone. Some people enjoy living with others because they don’t like to be lonely.
You won’t have as much privacy as you might like. For some people that have lived on their own for a while, that can be a difficult adjustment. If you’re just coming out of a college dorm and ready to find a place now that you’re working, you may already be used to not having privacy.
Your alone time will be limited. Shared areas in the apartment won’t be yours exclusively. Your roommates and their guests may be in the living room when you just want to stretch out on the sofa and read.
You’ll need to work with your roommate(s) on financial issues, like making sure everyone pays their fair share on time to cover the bills. That can be tough.
Decisions will need to be made with your roommate. If you are a take charge person that likes to make all of the decisions, you may find that having to share that responsibility is a challenge.
You could be held financially liable if your roommate doesn’t pay their share of the rent. Think back to two people sharing a $1400 a month apartment. Let’s say each person is expected to pay $700. You pay your $700 but your roommate says they can only pay $500 this month. The property owner is expecting the full amount of the rent, $1400, but collectively, you only have $1200 to pay. The landlord won’t care about your split agreement. All they’ll care about is that the full amount of the rent you agreed to in the lease wasn’t paid! This could result in your credit being damaged and you could also find yourselves evicted.
Is having a roommate the right decision for you? If you think it’s the way to go, be sure to write up a roommate agreement that each person signs. In it, include the dwelling rules that everyone agrees to follow (like quiet time, household responsibilities with a schedule, pet agreement, and guest/overnight guest rules), financial details (like when money is due and who pays which bill), and how you will handle situations that arise (like when someone doesn’t pay their fair share on time or when someone wants to move out before the lease is up). By writing up an agreement and having each person sign it, you have a legally binding document should you need it.
Interested in how to save money now that you're renting? Want to know how to save money on your electric bills? Curious to see which questions you need to ask before signing a lease? Answers to these questions and many more can be found on our blog.
When it's time to find yourself the a Leesburg rental in a gated community with amenities, visit www.leesburg4rent.com to see what we have available.