Finding a roommate to save money, is it worth it? In most cases, the answer is an outstanding YES!
But let’s get real for a moment, for most people, they really don’t want a roommate. Especially as you get more established in your career and financially secure with your living situation.
Me personally, I’m at a point in my life where I prefer to not have a roommate, unless it’s a friend who needs a short-term place to stay, etc.
The big exception I think for absolutely having a roommate, is when you live in an expensive place like the San Francisco Bay Area, you’ll find the extra money you save well worth it for giving up some privacy.
When I was younger, I had various roommates living with me and it saved me close to 900 dollars a month for 10 years.
That’s over $100k!
I know a lot about living with roommates from personal experience, let me quickly share some roommate living wisdom with you below!
Advantages of Living With a Roommate
One of the biggest benefits of living with a roommate is you are not living alone. Which means your home is more secure having an additional person living with you.
When I used to have a roommate and I had a vacation planned, I always felt better about leaving my home for an extended period of time knowing someone was there to watch things for me.
Another big perk of having a roommate is you have someone to socialize with. If you feel comfortable introducing your roommate to your circle of friends, that can work out nicely. I expanded not only my social circle over the years by meeting the friends of my roommates, but I got some business connections as well.
Last but not least, the biggest benefit of all is saving money on the monthly bills and having a reduced mortgage payment each and every month. If you don’t own your place, then you get a huge savings on the monthly rent you pay.
For New Homeowners, Renting Out a Room Is a Smart Move
When I rented an extra room in my house (when I was a first-time home buyer), it paid for 50% of the mortgage. And over time, that number increases if you have a fixed-rate mortgage where the payment does not go up, but you can get more rent for the room.
So if you are thinking about buying your first home, renting out rooms to pay your mortgage down is a great way of house hacking.
Disadvantages of Living With a Roommate
As I mentioned before, a lot of times most people don’t want to live with a stranger in their house. Everyone values privacy and having their own space to live in.
So with that said, the biggest downsides are only a problem if you choose the wrong person to live with.
Some of the biggest roommate disadvantages I’ve seen firsthand include:
- Not paying for their share of rent and monthly bills.
- They bring a pet home you did not approve of.
- Stops cleaning up after themselves.
- Starts being noisy and annoying.
- Your roommate steals from you.
From what you can see, the list of reasons for not having a roommate could go on and on depending on what types of things bother you about somebody.
So make sure you really get to know the character and personality of any new potential roommate you are considering to live with you.
Prevent Problems By Screening Your Roommate
I recommend you have at least a half-hour conversation with your new potential roommate over the phone and in person, to really feel them out.
Ask whatever questions you need to find out what kind of person they are!
Also, you might see generic roommate questions printed online which provide examples of what you can ask. Sometimes these lists of questions can help you start the conversation, but it’s never a substitute for having a nice open dialogue with someone.
So the bottom line for eliminating any problems is to screen out any characteristics upfront about the person which will lead you to believe they will be a problem for you to begin with.
While there are no 100% guarantees there won’t be an issue later on, at least you can increase your chances no problems will arise by being diligent.
The last tip I can offer you for screening people is to check out their references and verify their finances. Verify their income by seeing a financial statement or paycheck stub from their work. You can verify their references by getting the names and phone numbers of people they use to rent from or live with.
Having a roommate is not going to work for everyone. It’s not normally the first choice for people and conflicting personalities can make life horrible when you have to live together.
But, for the people and situations where it does work, you can save a lot of money! For myself, I saved an extra 100k in living expenses over a 10-year period. Not too bad if you ask me!