A New Way of Living with Roommates

Millennials get often criticized for preferring “living with roommates” rather than owning their place. However, many have begun to like sharing common spaces with other people. Keep reading to learn more!

Photo of a street in Norton Commons, home of Homearama 2011
Living with roommates doesn’t have to be a disaster, especially if you know what to look for.

Coliving (also spelled “co-living”) startups are booming, and this has led to an increased interest in coliving among young adults. Many have already tried it out, knowing what the benefits are behind this new living arrangement. If you’d search for coliving spaces, click here for rooms in Manhattan by sharedeasy.club.

These living arrangements have changed the way we think about roommates. Landlords don’t have to worry about finding replacement tenants when a lease runs out. And renters don’t have to worry about losing their favorite apartment when they move out. So does this mean coliving is changing the game?

Is coliving on the rise? 

Coliving is gaining ground but still has a long way to go before it reaches its potential. It seems that coliving developers are playing catch up with today’s housing needs, but what if the real estate industry plans to meet the future needs of young renters? What if they were building communities for coliving before it became a trend?

Supply isn’t keeping up with demand. As of late 2016, over 18 million Americans between the ages of 22 and 35 were living with roommates. This accounts for almost 33% of all households in that age range. The number is only projected to rise as millennials continue to live at home longer or move back in after leaving their parents’ house. This doesn’t even consider the large number who are doubling up to save money on rent. These people are invisible to household statisticians.

According to The Economist, it is estimated that more than 500,000 people in the United States are living with multiple roommates. Some of them are students or young people, but the number of working professionals looking for roommates is growing. In addition, the economic crisis resulted in a change of lifestyle, and millennials started to live more frugally.

What to consider when coliving with roommates? 

The idea of living with roommates is not at all uncommon these days. Whether it’s your first time sharing space with strangers, your last resort before you have to move back in with your parents, or just a way to save money, it’s being done by more people than ever before.

However, It’s no surprise that living with roommates is an experience that comes with its fair share of challenges. Whether you live with your friends, family, or even strangers, there are always potential hiccups that come with the territory. 

Learn to adapt

While it may sound obvious, one of the most important characteristics to possess if you want to co-live is adaptability. Being able to adapt allows you to be comfortable in any situation, whether you’re staying with a friend, coliving, CouchSurfing, or renting a cheap room in a hostel. It also makes it easier for people to adapt to you, which is critical if you plan on traveling through countries where English isn’t spoken fluently.

Of course, being adaptable doesn’t mean that you have to go out of your way to force yourself into uncomfortable situations. Staying with strangers is not for everyone, and that’s okay! You can still travel full- or part-time without coliving. However, if such an arrangement seems ideal for you, then it’s worth considering how much (or how little) effort you’re willing to put into finding someone compatible.

Be sympathetic 

When you move into a coliving space, you’re going to be sharing a kitchen and living space with other people. This is a social environment, but it’s also a workspace. So other guests need to be allowed to sleep well and be productive.

If you want to listen to music or watch TV in your room, use headphones. If you’re going to be gone all day, make sure your roommates know how to get in touch with you. The key here is to be considerate to your roommates.

There are several house rules that you should follow, but the most important one is to respect the space of others. When you live near other people, it can be easy to forget that their personal belongings are not yours. So even if you’re just borrowing a book or a piece of clothing, always ask first and provide a way for your roommate to say no.

Expect less 

It’s okay to expect your roommate to clean up after themselves and respect quiet hours in the house, but it’s not fair to expect them never to talk when you’re in the room. The key is knowing what’s important to you and letting things go that aren’t. For example, if you’re in the streets of New York asking people for directions, you’re less likely to get a response. 

A lot of issues can arise from unspoken expectations. For example, if I expect my roommate to clean up their messes and they don’t, Of course, we could argue about it. You should be open and honest about your expectations for living with roommates, so there isn’t any festering resentment later on about something you didn’t tell them about ahead of time.

Expectations aren’t just external either. They come from within as well. Are you expecting perfection from yourself? This is a recipe for disaster and also something that can cause conflict between you and your roommates. As long as everyone is committed to making the best of the situation and working together, there shouldn’t be any critical problems or conflicts.

Final Thoughts

Hopefully, if you follow the steps in this article, you’ll have a better shot at a successful coliving experience. Of course, there is a lot to think about when deciding to live with multiple people in one space, but much of that stress could be alleviated if you apply these tips. 

Being part of a coliving community isn’t necessarily about the quality of the space itself. Sure, that plays a role in your daily experience, but other factors are far more critical. Of course, the most important aspect is the people around you. 

If you can get along with your housemates, if you can trust them to take care of their share of duties, and if you can work together to keep things clean and running well, then you’ll have no problems at all. Don’t forget to treat your housemates with respect. They’re just as much a part of this shared living space as you are!