Living with roommates can be a gift and a curse. Whether or not you prefer living alone or with roommates, there are several points you should be aware of before you make a decision.
This guide of pros and cons will prepare you for the most common challenges of living with others versus living alone.
And if you still can’t decide which is better for you, our handy questions can help narrow your choice down.
The Pros and Cons of Living Alone
Whether you’re a social butterfly or more of an introvert, living alone has plenty of advantages.
Pro: More Personal Space
One of the best perks of living alone is that you can choose when you want to socialize with others.
If you’re feeling social, you can go out with friends, or even invite them over. However, if you’d prefer to be alone, you can always stay at home and enjoy your peace and quiet.
Pro: Total Freedom
Living alone gives you more than just the freedom to socialize. You can freely cook in your kitchen at any time you want. You can play loud music (but not too loud so you don’t disturb your neighbors). And you can even walk around naked if that is your heart’s desire.
Not having a roommate around means no social rules for you. You can come and go as you please without any regard to your roommates because you have none. You’re the king or queen of your castle.
Pro: You Can Decorate Any Way You Like
No roommates mean that you can choose your decorations. While it may seem like a trivial point, having control over your decor is more important than you think.
Your decor can make your apartment feel like home. It can reflect who you are. And it can create a comfortable environment for you to live in every day.
Con: You’re Responsible for Chores
If you live alone, cleaning your home is your responsibility. You’ll need to regularly wash the dishes, vacuum, and do the laundry. If you have a yard, you’ll need to make sure it’s mowed and watered. Plus, you may be responsible for keeping your driveway and sidewalks clean.
Housework can be a time-consuming pain to get done. So, you need to be prepared for that. Unless you want to hire a cleaner and landscapers, or try to avoid doing the chores all together (but that could get messy).
Con: All the Bills Are Yours Alone
The freedom you get from living alone comes at a higher price. You can’t split rent with a roommate. You also have to pay for all the utilities, such as water, electricity, and WiFi all by yourself.
Luckily, there are some things you can do to lower your costs. For example, you can negotiate your rent. If you’re successful, you might get your landlord to cover some of the costs for care or utilities, saving you some money.
Not sure if you can afford to rent alone? Find out how much you can spend on an apartment with Brixbid’s rent calculator!
Con: You May Get Lonely Sometimes
Living alone sometimes means not having anyone to talk to. If your friends are busy, you may have to find other ways to socialize or have fun.
If you’re comfortable by yourself, this won’t be too hard. However, if you crave the company of others, you may be better off with a roommate or two.
The Pros and Cons of Living With a Roommate
Popular TV shows like “Friends” and “The Big Bang Theory” certainly made the concept of having roommates exciting.
And who wouldn’t want to live with their best friend in a perpetual sleepover?
However, the reality of living with roommates vs. alone is much different. Discover the real pros and cons of living with roommates to find out if this is the best decision for you.
Pro: Cheaper Bills
Having someone to split the rent with is one of the most common reasons why people opt to live with roommates.
Still, making financially smart decisions when it comes to roommates is crucial to have a mutually beneficial living situation. Make sure you agree on certain expenses before you move in, rent an apartment that fits everyone’s budget, and share the utilities fairly.
Pro: Shared Chores
More people, more dirt. More dirt, more chores. Luckily, you can save time by splitting up the housecleaning.
If you hate vacuuming and love doing the dishes, but your roommate feels the opposite, it’s a match made in heaven. You can help each other out, keep your space clean, and avoid the chores you can’t stand doing.
Even if you don’t have particularly strong feelings about chores, sharing the workload makes life easier (and cleaner) for you both.
Alternatively, you can all chip in for a housecleaner to take care of the heavy lifting. This could save you a lot of hassle in the long run, but it does cost more.
Pro: Lots of Hanging Out With Friends
If your roommates are your friends, hanging out with them doesn’t get any easier than living with them. A fun night at home with friends is as easy as picking up a bottle of wine or a six-pack on the way home and texting your roommates to see who’s down.
And if you’re renting with strangers, it’s not hard to hang out with them either. As long as they’re okay with socializing and not too busy, hanging out can be as easy as putting your feet up at home.
Plus, who’s to say that you won’t become best friends after the shared experience of living together?
Con: No Freedom in the Apartment
When you sign a lease with your roommates, you’re signing away total freedom. You’ll need to be mindful when you’re playing music, using the communal space, or having company over.
You’ll also need to be aware of your mess. Leaving dishes in the sink can create problems, for example, if your roommate wants to cook after you. And if they want to cook at the same time you do, it can get a little hectic, too.
After all, your roommate has just as much right to feel at home and comfortable in your apartment as you.
Con: Less Privacy
If you really value your alone time, roommates won’t help with that. Your room may be the only space where you can be by yourself.
The kitchen, the bathroom, and the living room are all communal spaces and should be treated as such. That means, if you want privacy, you can’t expect to use those spaces. If your roommate wants to chill there or bring people over, they have as much right to that space as you.
Con: Conflicting Schedules
Sometimes, having roommates may mean having to wait to use the bathroom. Or not being able to use a certain cooking pan because someone else is already cooking with it. It can also mean that you can’t have a house party on a weekend because your roommate is already throwing one.
These small (but annoying) everyday occurrences where your schedule conflicts can push roommates into a confrontation. Be prepared. Even the best of friends can have issues when their plans get derailed because of their roommates.
Questions to Ask Yourself Before You Move In With a Roommate
Are you still not sure whether living alone or with a roommate is the better choice for you? Ask yourself these 6 questions, and find out.
1. How Are Your Finances?
One of the most important factors to consider is your financial situation. If you can’t afford to live alone, the answer is clear. Having roommates is a financially beneficial solution.
However, even if you can afford to rent an apartment by yourself, you may not want to.
Some people prefer roommates because the area they want to live in is more expensive. Others are saving up for a bigger expense.
If you have no problem living with roommates, it’s generally a cheaper option.
2. Do You Like Living Alone?
Some people love their privacy and personal freedom at home. Others dread the time they have to be alone.
If you have strong feelings towards either of these categories, the answer is clear.
3. Who Do You Want to Be Your Roommate?
Sometimes, your friendship group decides for you whether you’re going to live alone or with roommates.
Moving in with your friends can be a great experience. On the other hand, it can also lead to the end of a friendship. You only truly know a person if you’ve lived with them.
Alternatively, you may want to move in with people you don’t know too. You’ll either become great friends, or you’ll do your best to avoid each other.
Roommate dynamics are always hard to predict, but you have to be prepared for any scenario.
4. What Habits Do You Value in a Roommate?
Knowing what habits you want your roommate to have can help you narrow down your ideal living partner. However, if you have too many expectations, you may be better off living alone.
Does it bother you if they’re smokers? Would you be ok with an early riser, even if you’re a night owl? And do you prefer a cleaner or a more laid-back roommate?
All of these questions about your potential roommate’s habits can help you find the best roommate, and avoid future conflicts.
5. Are You Good at Resolving Conflict?
Whether you move in with your best friend or a stranger, you’re bound to bump into disagreements.
Roommates can (and will) have arguments or disagreements. However, how you resolve conflict can make or break your living situation.
If you like to face problems head-on, you can talk about anything that bothers you before it builds up. On the other hand, non-confrontational roommates sometimes get along better.
And if you absolutely detest coming up with resolutions and compromises, living alone may be your best bet.
6. Are You New to Chicago?
If you just moved to Chicago, and you don’t know anyone yet, having a roommate can be a great blessing.
You can quickly make friends and meet their friends. This will help you build your own social circle. Your new roommates can also show you around, and introduce you to the best spots in the city.
Find Your New Chicago Home With or Without a Roommate on Brixbid
Living with a roommate can be a great experience. But, you may also value your privacy more. After you make your decision, your next step is to find an apartment to rent.
And the best place for that is Brixbid.
Our platform makes renting easy. Whether you opt for a studio or one-bedroom for yourself or a larger place to share with others, we have options for you.
Browse our listings and find your dream home in Chicago!