Should I find a roommate or live alone in off-campus housing?

July 19, 2022

There are many good reasons to call Atlanta home while in school. As one of the biggest cities in the United States and the largest city in Georgia, it has it all. Aside from all of the clubs, sports, and social activities your college or university will offer, Atlanta has enough nightlife, bars, restaurants, sports, and entertainment to keep you busy every day and night of the year. It is a busy and exciting city and you may find it challenging to find student housing when you start to consider Atlanta off-campus housing

There’s something wonderful about being part of a larger city. When the home team wins a championship, you get to be part of the celebration. When a major art exhibit comes to town, you can go right down the street to see it. You have access. While you’re in school you have access to the best internships, and when you graduate, hopefully, you will have better prospects for finding a full-time job in your market. 

But, this access comes with a price—a higher cost of living. 

How can you keep all this access and also keep some money in your savings? 

You may need to consider a roommate. This is a traditional way to bring down the cost of rent and utility bills, possibly even groceries. This could be an easy way to bring down the cost of your rent, but it comes with its own unique set of challenges. Having a roommate or roommates has many advantages, but doing so can also carry a host of challenges. Let’s look at a few of the pros and cons. 

Why should I consider a roommate?

How to decide if a roommate is best for you?
How to decide if a roommate is best for you?

Monthly expenses

Rent is the tip of the iceberg. When you decide to live off-campus, you also decide to take on additional monthly expenses. Internet, Utilities, and cable are just a few of the possible expenses you may take on when living on your own. These add up quickly, and when piled on top of rent, can become overwhelming if you are stretching to afford living solo. The addition of a roommate can split these monthly expenses and potentially save you considerable money each month. 

Home responsibilities

Is there a yard on the property? If so, who is responsible for caring for it? Are you responsible for changing air filters? Cleaning? If the tenant is responsible, you may want the additional help of a roommate. 

Built-in community

Living alone can leave you feeling lonely. Perhaps you found some comfort in the noise of the dorms, or you grew up in a house with siblings and appreciated knowing that there were others around. One theater major graduate and actor in Atlanta, Courtney, found that after being on sets all day it was nice to come home to her roommates and all her neighbors. With her schedule being tight, she rarely sees them, but she gets along well with her PadMates. Courtney has found that her PadMates share similar goals and interests in saving money to invest in their futures. She says, “We’re all investing into ourselves, to make our dreams a reality, and PadSplit’s helping us to achieve that with the money we’re saving each month. It keeps us in the game.” The roommates you select could eventually become lifelong friends. Just be careful as you evaluate your prospective roommates.

More housing options

By taking on a roommate, you can potentially increase your monthly housing budget. This freedom can allow you to find a better property—one that you may not have been able to afford on your own. By splitting your expenses with a roommate you can potentially move to Atlanta off-campus housing that is much closer to your school. This can save you time that you can re-invest in your studies or in working additional hours at your job.

What are the potential challenges?

Do your homework

Find student housing with roomates.
Find student housing with roomates.

Finding a quality roommate can be a time-consuming activity. Often, you will need to meet this person before committing to live together. Setting up these meetings can be a challenge for a full-time student who also works. Consider setting a few of these meetings up at a time on your day off. However, meeting your potential roommates is only half the battle. Once you’ve found a couple of likable roommates that you might be compatible with, you’ll need to learn more about them. If your name is the one on the lease, you are ultimately responsible if anything with your new roommates goes wrong. Give these potential roommates a background check. Check their references, and their employment history, and ensure that they have paid their previous rent bills on time. This basic check can help you avoid a lot of trouble later. Furnished room rental services will vet potential roommates for you so that you have peace of mind in knowing that you are both employed and capable of handling your bills. There are also rules in place so that you have clear expectations for your living space.  

A Lease is a commitment

When you sign your lease you are signing a binding commitment. If things go south with your roommates and someone moves out, you will still be responsible for their portion of the rent because the lease doesn’t disappear with the runaway roommate. If possible, get the roommate to sign onto the lease as well. This can help you avoid some responsibility if they disappear. One way to avoid signing a lease and finding yourself committed to a roommate situation is to use a furnished room rental service. The best of these programs allows you to pay monthly for the space that you need without any long-term commitment. This allows you to find Atlanta off-campus housing without the feeling of being stuck. 

Potential financial risk

Taking on a roommate means that you are subjecting yourself to some financial risk. The rent is not the only expense that needs covering, and your credit score could be attached to the other bills that your roommate is partially responsible for. If they don’t get paid, this can adversely affect your credit and leave you on the hook for a substantial bill plus any late fees. A furnished room rental service like PadSplit can help you increase your credit score. With PadSplit, you are responsible for yourself. Each roommate is vetted individually and pays separately. 

Less privacy 

Sharing your space with a roommate can leave you feeling overwhelmed. Occasionally, it is nice to enjoy some quiet. If you choose a roommate who does not share the same values of time and space, you can be left feeling exhausted. And this is before they invite company over! Setting ground rules in advance concerning quiet hours and the division of shared spaces can help alleviate some of these feelings. It is also important to have discussions about these things whenever frustrations or questions arise. Addressing them early can save feelings. 

Is there an easier way?

Finding a good roommate can be challenging and any roommate living situation comes with its pros and cons. Allowing a program like PadSplit to take the guesswork and vetting work out of a new roommate situation can provide relief for both your time and your finances. PadSplit offers affordable rooms for rent in many of the best spots around Atlanta. This can allow you to be close to your school in great Atlanta off-campus housing that is near public transportation. PadSplit will save you money on traditional rent while saving you time from having to handle your next roommate search alone. 

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