Moving into a Shared House: Is the Money Saved Worth It?
You have finally done it! You are about to be your own man (or woman) and move into your very own home. A life of freedom and opportunities awaits, but there are decisions yet to be made. Will you live on your own in a small studio or enter the unknown realm of shared housing. This is a question you will need to answer before anything else.
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- Shared living cuts down on rental and utility costs and living expenses.
- Living with others leads to lesser responsibilities, better socialisation, more friends, and safer accommodation.
- While all of these seem great, it does take a toll on privacy, independence, cleanliness and overall control of the general functioning of the house.
Now that you have the gist of it, let’s move on to get more specific details.
Firstly, both options have their own benefits.
To be totally honest with you, there is no right choice when it comes to this. It depends on your particular needs. The right choice may be purely based on their perspective of what a house is and what they want from it.
If you like peace and quiet and like spending time alone, as I do, then staying in a shared house is not for you. And, if the opposite is what you want, then staying alone is out of the question.
This blog will entail the advantages and disadvantages of living in a shared house, so you can make an informed decision based on it. But do keep in mind that some advantages might be a disadvantage for you and vice versa. This can change based on your perspective. For instance, I would love to live by myself rather than with a bunch of people, the same may not be said for you. Since you have the disclaimer, let’s crack on with the Pros and Cons of living in a shared house.
There are a lot of benefits to living in a shared house. Right from cutting down on costs to having somebody to depend on, there is no shortage of reasons why this is a good idea. I will, however, remind you again; a pro mentioned here can be a con for you based on your likes and dislikes.
Save on Money
The biggest and most popular reason that people turn towards shared living is the savings they accrue on expenses. You can save a ton of money by living in a shared space, whether it's on rentals, utilities, food or basic living expenses.
Rent: This is an obvious one. The rent and deposit get divided among all the occupants as opposed to you paying it as a whole. You can live in a bigger and better home for pretty much the same amount of money. Being the introvert that I am, this was the main reason I stayed in a shared space.
Utility Bills: The same logic works for electricity, gas and other utility bills. It will definitely cost you more when living on your own.
Furniture: Most shared spaces have existing furniture or need very little furniture. Even if the latter is the case, then the cost of renting furniture (which seems to be the current trend) gets divided among the tenants.
Living Expenses: The cost per head of groceries, cleaning materials, home care products etc., is less when compared to staying on your own.
There is safety in numbers, and I completely agree with this. It is safer to stay in shared houses rather than in an apartment or a one-RK studio on your own. There are always people you can depend on if things go south. However, the opposite can be true as well, as you will learn later in the blog, based on who your flatmates are.
Better Social Life
Along with shared living spaces comes a thriving social life. This is perhaps the biggest benefit of living in a shared space other than financial reasons. Of course, it would be the opposite if you were an introvert, but for an extrovert, this is the dream. If you are an extrovert, I would definitely recommend living in a shared apartment or something similar.
It's easier to make friends, you can throw some amazing parties, you learn to socialise naturally and will learn about the new city better as well!
You Will Never be Alone
When living in a shared house or apartment, you always have somebody with you. For some, this is a big deal. It means you always have somebody to talk to, somebody that can help you, somebody, that you can talk to when you are down.
In due time, they turn into your extended family, somebody that you can depend on for anything, no matter how big or small it is. Forgot a can opener, your roomies got your back. Need somebody to receive a package on your behalf, he’s there for it as well, and the list goes on. I have had my hide saved more than once by my mates.
If you are lazy like I am, then this is the biggest pro for you. Shared housing means shared responsibilities. You can divvy up those pesky cleaning duties and daunting maintenance work among the residents, and it will be far less tedious than what you would have to deal with alone.
Great Learning Experience
Staying in a shared living space can be a great learning experience that is both fun and challenging. It's got the challenges of living alone but the cushion of having somebody that you can depend on. It sort of brings the best of both worlds in that regard. But there is something extra to be learnt while staying with others.
You will learn how to live with differences, with people who are very different from you and overcome challenges collectively with people who have completely different perspectives from what you possess.
Since I have gotten you hyped up with all the great things about living in a shared house, it’s about time I let reality pull you down from the skies because it's not just sunshine and daisies, there are some realities that you need to get in terms with as well, and some of them are not pretty!
Lack of Privacy
Complete privacy in a shared house is a myth. You will never have the privacy that rivals that of a place where you stay on your own. Your living space is always intruded on by your flatmates.
It is something similar to privacy concerns. You are not totally independent when it comes to decision-making or anything else that affects the entire house for that matter. You cannot take unilateral decisions without the consent of your flatmates. Your life and decisions, to a certain extent, are intertwined with theirs, and there is no escaping it. So taking unilateral decisions on most matters is impossible.
Your flatmate can be the source of a lot of problems. Bad ones can result in your stay being literal hell, while good ones can make it absolute bliss. Here are some ways bad mates can ruin your stay.
- Badly Behaved Flatmates: This can result in a number of things ranging from bad sleep cycles and lack of peace of mind to downright change in lifestyle. Hanging out with a bad crowd could literally take your life off the rails, so make sure you check who your potential flatmates are before you move in.
- Untrustworthy Flatmates: As I alluded to earlier, security can be a con as well if you have untrustworthy flatmates who may steal your belongings.
- Irresponsible Flatmates: This can lead to you shouldering extra responsibilities that you can neither afford nor be liable for. Having irresponsible mates will end up in you having to take care of their responsibilities in addition to yours, and I can tell you from personal experience what a gigantic pain in the neck that is.
Less Cleanliness and Hygiene
Shared housing spaces can get a lot dirtier than independent living spaces since it depends on others living in the same space as well. The houses are a lot larger as well. So if you are a cleanliness freak, know whom you are getting into bed with(figuratively).
Conflicts over Shared Facilities
This is one of the biggest problems that can arise while sharing a house with others. Conflicts will inevitably arise over the use of shared facilities like the washing machine, balcony or even the washroom for that matter. Having amicable and understanding flatmates helps, but the underlying problem will always persist no matter how understanding they are.
This is something that people barely realise they have trouble with, but the trouble can go a long way. There could be legal issues with the rental agreement or any other legal documents. There could also be a problem if there is only one person in the contract since that person will be liable for any damages caused by other people in the house. So draw up that contract properly and double-check it.
Living in a shared house has its moments and its consequences. It is a matter of compromise, and you will always find things that you like and things that you don’t like. The question here is to weigh both the pros and cons and see if the pros of living in a shared space make it worth the while. After all, life isn’t perfect, so is sharing a house with somebody!