When you’re thinking about buying your first home, getting a roommate is probably the last thing on your mind. However, there are plenty of good reasons for a single professional to consider the option. With the right floor plan, you’ll be glad to have someone else sharing your space.
1. Getting Help with the Mortgage Payment
Perhaps the most obvious reason to get a roommate is the ability to get a bit of help with the mortgage payments. It’s easy to see how using a concrete example. Let’s say your mortgage is for $300,000 at four percent interest. Your monthly mortgage payment would be around $1,600. That figure does not include property taxes and homeowners’ insurance, so the amount you pay would actually be higher. If you could get a roommate paying around $800 a month for rent, those monthly payments would be a lot easier to handle.
If you don’t mind handling the full mortgage payment on your own, then you could apply the extra $800 to the monthly mortgage payment. This would allow you to pay off the mortgage in about half the time. Having full equity in your home would give you a very comfortable down payment on your next home.
2. Justifying a Bigger Place
When you’re purchasing a home as a single person, you don’t need more than one bedroom, so it’s hard to justify paying more money for extra space you don’t really need. When it comes time to move to a bigger home, though, you want to be able to sell your home fast. There’s a limited resale market for one-bedroom homes, so it’s smart to purchase a home that has at least two. If you’re planning to get a roommate, you won’t feel bad about the small additional cost.
3. Splitting Utility Costs
The monthly mortgage payment isn’t the only cost you’ll have to deal with as a homeowner. You’ll also be facing utility costs. Brand-new homes reduce energy usage, but that doesn’t mean some new homeowners don't struggle to pay all the other bills. With a roommate, these expenses become more affordable. Great roommates communicate and fairly share in the expenses.
4. Beating Loneliness
Some people relish the idea of a quiet space of their own, but many others appreciate a little bit of noise in their lives. Having a roommate means you’ll have someone to talk with in the evenings. You can watch DVDs together or go out to see a movie. Having a roommate can also widen your social circle. You’ll get to know your roommate’s friends as they come over for the occasional gathering.
5. Dividing Up the Chores
You’ll want to keep your new home looking its best, but all the chores can start to eat up your free time. With a roommate, you’ll be able to share the work. Come up with a way to divide the chores equally so both of you are on board. A chore chart can help you visually see which chores you’re responsible for in any given week.
6. Feeling Safer
Living alone can be scary at times. With a roommate, though, you’re not alone. Someone will probably be in your home while you’re on vacation and you'll take comfort in having someone around in the evenings. Even if you just like having someone else in the home to deal with wayward spiders, a roommate can make you feel safer.
Things to Consider Before You Buy
You can’t fully rely on a roommate to help pay your mortgage. When you buy your home, the bank will want to know you qualify for the full payments on your own. You should also expect there will be times when you don’t have the help of a roommate. Having a bit of extra money in your emergency savings account can help tide you over.
You’ll also want to choose a floor plan that will appeal to potential roommates. For instance, the Opal+ model in the Townes at Redstone has three bedrooms on the upper floor. You’ll have your own ensuite in the master bedroom, but your roommate’s bedroom would also be large, with a walk-in closet. Their bathroom is just outside the bedroom, so it’s still convenient. The C6-N condo floor plan at Vivace at West 85th also has two large bedrooms. Your roommate will have to share a bathroom with any guests that come into the home, but it also has a door from his or her room.
Getting a roommate is an easy way to afford the home you want. If you are a single person trying to purchase your first home, it may just be the way to go.