Solo living is both financially out of reach and unappealing for many people, but finding the right people to live with, and the right place to live with them, can be a big hassle. Shopping the internet for roommates can be anxiety producing, and if you move in with the wrong one you could be stuck with them for the duration of the lease. Sharing expenses can be a total nightmare when one roommate is financially responsible and the other one has little concern for their credit score. Realty sites abound, but it’s hard to know if they have your best interests at heart or are just out to make a dent in your wallet. With so many options on how to find a person to share living space and expenses with, how do you figure out which one is right for you?
One option is: don’t. Let someone else do it. And when we say someone else, we mean a co-living start-up. New to the rental scene, these co-living start ups take the hard work and uncertainty out of finding a roommate. A cross between a hotel and a dorm, co-living spaces are serious about being lifestyle options. They are popping up all over the country, in big cities where good housing options can be hard to come by.
Every city has its local legends, those iconic perceptions of what urban life is like. One of the most cherished impressions of New York is the idea of tiny apartments crammed full of artists who scrape by at a million different jobs to make rent. While that is still a reality for some, the new batch of contemporary creatives are less interested in living in a miniscule outer borough rental than they are in pooling their resources and burgeoning professional incomes to attain upscale accommodations in state of the art facilities. This is the niche market that co-living start ups are tapping into.
WeLive promotes the relationships that are forged in communal kitchens and hot tub shares, while Ollie offers linen service and housekeeping as well. Many of them, such as Common, provide fully furnished bedrooms as well as common spaces, while HubHaus carefully selects residents to be of a similar professional status with compatible lifestyles. The benefit of this kind of living arrangement is that it is low commitment. Residents can basically move in with nothing more than their own clothes and toiletries, and never have to make a call to get the internet set up, the electricity turned on, or even figure out the trash and recycling pick up schedule. It’s all taken care of, so all you have to do is live your best life.
With the option of short or long term occupancy, this is a great option for someone who is new to the City, anxious to make friends, and trepidatious about delving into the City’s tumultuous rental market on their own. Look for reviews on gohomeny.com to see if one of these co-living start-ups is the place you’d like to call home.
But there is something impersonal about curated living spaces designed and by start ups for the benefit of their shareholders and bottom line. It may have lots of conveniences, and give you the ability to afford amenities you couldn’t get in your average 4th floor walkup, but if you’re interested in a more traditional New York living experience, and being able to pick out your own furniture and house mates, there’s nothing like an apartment share. Many young, urban professionals in NYC have happily settled into vibrant neighborhoods with long term roommates. A good roommate relationship can be like family, and coming back at the end of a long work day feels like home. In a City where romantic relationships come and go, the right roommate can offer a lasting friendship and a cozy home life. There are many ways to find a roommate, but the best one is still tapping your extended friend network to find people with similar lifestyle interests. A nightlife devotee who starts their day at 9 pm might not be the best fit for an early riser. There can be headaches in bringing in a new roommate when a previous one moves out, but the benefit of a cozy home stamped with your own tastes, filled only with the people you choose, can be an oasis in the hubbub of urban life.
After the transient option of co-living, to the long term but still fungible experience of roommate life, there is one more communal living option to consider. If you love the City, and want to keep your feet fully planted on New York City soil, buying a home gives you a lasting place to call your own. Home ownership may seem out of reach if you’re doing it on your own, but buying a home with friends can ameliorate some of the costs, and give you a team to help tackle any obstacles. By far the most permanent of these options, buying a home with friends can be a great first step down the road of real estate ownership. It’s definitely a misperception to believe that home ownership has to come after finding the perfect partner. If you want your own home, there’s no reason not to wrangle some likeminded friends to join you in the enterprise. And we do mean enterprise. Owning a home has many of the same promises and pitfalls of running a business. No matter what happens in the home, to the structure itself, or to the property, it is your job to deal with it. There are far more things to consider with this communal living option than the others. Make sure you and your friends are on the same page financially; you don’t want to apply for a mortgage with that same roommate who never pays their electric bill on time. The process of buying a home can be a lengthy one, and if you’re planning to keep the home far into the future, you’ll need to be sure that you and your fellow home owners are compatible.
Whatever communal living option is right for you, make sure you do your research. If you’re opting for co-living start ups, check out the apartments first, make sure you like the vibe, the neighborhood, and the space before you debit your first month’s rent. If you’re moving into an apartment with existing roommates, check out the building first by reading resident reviews online, at sites like gohhomeny.com. And if you’re ready to take the plunge into homeownership, make sure you and your friends are transparent about finances, intentions, and exactly who will be taking out the trash.