A guide to living with roommates
For many young New Yorkers, shacking up with a roomie is a necessary evil, thanks to high rents and a rough economy.
But regardless of how "perfect" your roomie may seem, you are bound to find dirty dishes left on the counter, your pasta mysteriously gone from the fridge and a Saturday night party was somehow never mentioned to you. (And you might want to look in the mirror as well, because one day the person who forgot to do the dishes might be you!) We chatted with a city real estate guru and a few of his clients for tips on how to make it work.
Gary Malin, president of CitiHabitats, said most people, obviously, live with roommates to ease their rent burden. However, he said the fewer the roommates the better because living spaces are often small, especially in Manhattan.
In addition, he said roommates should divvy up monthly bills before they move in.
"Most of these apartments are not going have two identically-sized bedrooms," Malin explained. "You have to get a handle on the finances to begin with - who's paying what."
According to a report CitiHabitats released today, the average monthly rent for a one-bedroom in Manhattan in August was $2,785, and a studio was $2,092.
Two-bedrooms cost an average of $4,032 a month, or roughly $2,016 per room, while three bedrooms cost an average of $5,320 monthly, or about $1,773 per roommate.
Bo Munna, 25, lives in Murray Hill with his closest friend , Scott Fink, in a one-bedroom, with Fink occupying what would be the living room.
Since Munna's bedroom is bigger, he pays more rent, which they worked out before they moved in together.
In addition, "I'll buy groceries one time and [Scott]buys them the next time, just to balance it out," Munna said.
When asked what makes a good roommate, our experts said the answer is simple: Communication.
"If you are frustrated with your roommate for whatever reason, just kind of letting it go and not addressing when it happens is not a good situation," Malin said.
However, he advised to pick your battles, and choose a calm time, preferably on a day off from work, to bring up problems.
Ryan Jordan, who lives with his friend Christina Patoir, said when she wanted to ask him to stop having friends over until the wee hours on weekdays, she brought it up over dinner and drinks.
Jordan and his roommate, both 25, moved to New York City from Delaware two years ago. They now live in the area they call "Hell's Attic" (right above Hell's Kitchen).
Jordan is a bartender on the Upper East Side, and, like most late-night restaurant employees, his social life is mainly nocturnal.
"There was always someone crashing [over]like every day of the week," he said of their first year living together, mentioning that Patoir wakes up at 7:30 a.m. for work.
"We went out to dinner had some wine and talked about it," he explained.
Our experts agreed that having similar lifestyles or common interests helps facilitate a healthy living situation.
Like to drink? Better find a roomie who likes to have a drink or two.
"If you're a sober person you should probably live with another sober person because those are two very conflicting lifestyles," Jordan said.
In addition, to avoid an "Odd Couple" situation, clean-freaks better screen for potential slobs or they'll being doing all the house work. Munna said already being pals with his roommate helps because they already know each other's idiosyncracies.
"We know each other very well and that was certainly helpful for us," he explained. "I know some friends can't live together."
"If there's something on our mind, something that bothers us about the other person, we just are open about it," he added.
However, Malin advised that living with friends can be tricky.
"Sometimes you don't want to lose a friendship because you want a roommate," he said. "Just because you're good friends doesn't mean you're going to be good roommates."
Malin suggested living with friends you meet through a mutual friend, so you will have things in common, "but there's no emotional investment in it."