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Finding Room For Savings
Two can’t live as cheaply as one, but splitting the rent can significantly cut costs.
For example, rental site HotPads looked at the costs of renting within particular neighborhoods in 13 major U.S. cities. The analysis found that “cohabitating in a one bedroom apartment versus living alone in a studio or cohabitating in a two bedroom apartment versus living alone in a one bedroom apartment” could reduce rental costs 28 to 48 percent, explains John Doherty, marketing manager for the site.
But often, roommates are more of an economic choice, especially when someone relocates to a new, pricey metro area, they’ll likely to need to find someone to live with, notes Doherty.
Taking up residence with another person is a big step, one fraught with extra pitfalls when a roommate is a stranger, stress experts.
New arrivals to an area often look for a short-term lease, perhaps stepping in to take the place of a previous roommate who’s had to move, notes Doherty.
A “sublet,” whereby a lease-holder is arranging for someone to take his place for a period of time “may not be legal,” warns Joseph Greenblatt of Sunrise Management in San Diego, and the renter coming in might not be able to bring any problems to management’s attention. Look for a separate lease agreement, or make sure the sublet is allowed.
Leases can be examined, but how to read a potential roommate to see if you’ll be compatible or combative? Don’t just rely on one interview, suggests relationship expert Toni Coleman of Consum-mate.com. Arrange a second meeting, ideally with both parties bringing a friend or significant other, for more impressions on how you’ll interact. A great, simple question to ask a potential roommate is, ‘What do you do in a typical week?,’ suggests Lesli Doares, A marriage consultant. “This question will get at work hours, hobbies, sleep schedule, relationship status and habits,” she says.
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