Should I Get a Roommate?

It’s a question most people have asked at one time or another, especially when you’re just out of college and moving to a new city after getting the 24th job you applied for.

Yes, the barista gig out of school necessitated a roommate, but the new job pays surprisingly well, and you think with a little thrifty planning, you can rent your own place. But is it worth the trouble? And you suspect, deep down, that you’ll probably be using those coffee-making skills again on a part-time level to make ends meet, because something always comes up: Unexpected bills are your milestone.

You’re in western Pennsylvania; the job is in Washington, D.C., and it starts in three weeks. So it’s not like you have all the time in the world. You hit the Internet, search for apartments and cringe at the prices – they’re more than you expected. Unfortunately, this seals the deal. You’re getting a roommate.

[ Related: How to Deal With a Noisy Roommate ]

Lease (Rental Realities via Flickr)

Decisions, decisions: Opting for a roommate can mean a big reduction in your rent — and possibly your privacy. (Rental Realities via Flickr)

That was our protagonist’s situation. But should you consider a roommate? I will list four reasons why you should.

  1. MoneyMoney, money, money … money. Like it or not, it still makes the world go round. And, unfortunately, while there’s plenty of it at the top of the D.C. corporate/government food chain, down below it tends to be sparse. We recently blogged about how the average rent for a one-bedroom apartment in the District has hit a staggering $2,000. That’s pretty ridiculous and quite frankly, out of reach for many. So, unless you’re making some pretty decent coin or have a trust fund, you may need the significant financial boost a roommate affords you. Hey, it is what it is. It’s the city. It costs a lot, and so do the suburbs. Maybe you just have to get a roommate.
  1. Company – I’ve read of some pretty well-off people having roommates, and I’ve thought, why? Insular people like me don’t get it, but there are people out there who are unhappy being alone for long. They truly like having someone else around to talk to, bounce ideas off of, eat with, all that. To those people, I say good going. At least you’ll save money on rent.

[ Related: Are You Roommate Material? Take This Test to Find Out ]

  1. Protection – One aspect of living in the city is danger. Yes, cities can be dangerous, especially certain neighborhoods. If you’re a big strapping lad who can bench press his weight, wrestled in high school or whose hobby is a little MMA on the weekends, chances are you feel pretty safe (sadly, this is not always the case, but you’re safer than someone less imposing). But if you’re a wee person, especially a female, you’re certainly more vulnerable than the above ox, so maybe just for your peace of mind, shacking up with a roomie, especially in a dicier area, can make a lot of sense.
  1. Social Life – Alright, this may draw some snickers, and no, I’m not suggesting you commandeer someone else’s sleigh, or even worse, become some sort of Lifetime movie realized – “She thought she was gaining a roommate, it turns out she was losing her friends … and life” – but hey, if you’re new to an area or have wrecked most of your personal relationships (or grown tired of them and wanna broaden your social circle a bit), having a cool roommate simpatico with many of your likes can lead to a new friendship. And if you cop a new group to hang out with along the way, the more the better. And sometimes a friend of a friend turns out to be more of a friend than the original friend. Get it? Got it? Good.

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Scott D

Scott D

Scott is a local writer and has been with the Apartment Showcase blog since its inception in 2010.

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