Whether you're looking to rent an apartment or buy a house, you may find yourself faced with the following choice: live alone or get a roommate. There are pros and cons to either route, but if you've never experienced solo living before, you may want to give it a try. Here are some of the benefits you might reap when you live by yourself.
1. Enjoy personal space and privacy
Living with roommates means limiting your ability to keep to yourself when you want to relax in the comfort of your own space. Even if you're a fairly social person who enjoys spending time with friends, you may also be the type who regards home as a place to relax, unwind, and spend time pursuing hobbies. When you live alone, you get peace and quiet -- at least within the confines of your apartment or house.
2. Live by your own rules
When you live with a roommate, you have to accommodate that person's way of living. When you live by yourself, you don't have to take anyone else's needs or requirements into account. Want to have family visit out of the blue or let a friend in between jobs crash on your couch for a couple of weeks? There's no need to ask permission; you can simply do as you please.
3. Work from home more easily
If you're planning to work from home on a regular basis, solo living may be the right choice. That way, you don't have to worry about a roommate interrupting you during the day or disturbing you while you're in the middle of a remote meeting or conference call.
4. Don't clean up anyone else's mess
People who live with roommates often find themselves picking up after others and resenting it all the while. Another major perk of choosing to live alone is that any mess you're forced to deal with will be your own. And if you're a neat person by nature, keeping your house or apartment tidy will be a cinch.
5. Decorate as you like
When you live alone, you have an opportunity to design a living space that suits your style. Want to paint the walls a bold color? Go for it. Want modern furniture and a contemporary kitchen? That's your call. You don't need to consult a roommate or worry that somebody else's taste will infringe on your design plan.
6. Build equity to benefit your personal financial picture
When you rent a home, there's no equity to be had -- you're simply paying a landlord for the privilege of putting a roof over your head. But buying a home is a different story. If you have the money for a down payment, and you're not intimidated by the notion of buying property solo, you have a real opportunity to build equity that could then be instrumental in helping you meet your financial goals and objectives.
And best of all, that equity will be yours to benefit from solely. If you want to borrow against your home, that option is there. And if you choose to sell your home later on, any profit you make is yours to keep in full without having to split it.
7. Keep your living costs down
Much of the time, living alone is more expensive than having a roommate. But depending on your personal needs and objectives, you may actually manage to spend less by living solo. For example, living alone could mean being comfortable in a studio apartment rather than a more expensive two-bedroom. And when you live alone, you get to control your utility costs -- you don't have to worry about a roommate taking long showers every day or leaving the lights on constantly to drive up your electric bill.
Drawbacks of living alone
Of course, there are disadvantages to living alone you'll need to consider before moving forward with that decision. First, there's the loneliness factor. You may find that you miss having company at home, and if you're new in town and don't know many people, not having a roommate can be an isolating experience.
There's also the notion of higher expenses to contend with. If you live solo, you'll have no one to split your rent or mortgage payment with, and you'll need to cover the cost of your utility bills by yourself. Now as mentioned, living alone gives you the option to make smart choices that keep your housing expenses low; but if you're really set on living alone, it could limit your choice of neighborhood or apartment size.
Also, when you live alone, you're the only one on the hook for household maintenance and upkeep. That means you may spend a lot of time cleaning, and if you own your home, mowing the lawn, shoveling snow, or tackling the many tasks home ownership entails.
Finally, older people in particular may find that they feel less safe living alone. And those with health or mobility issues may find there's comfort to be had in bunking with a roommate.
Is living alone the right choice for you?
Clearly, there are advantages and disadvantages to living by yourself. But if you've never had the experience of living alone before, then it could pay to give it a try. If you don't like it, there's always the option to get a roommate when your lease comes to an end. And if you buy a home and start feeling lonely day in, day out, you can always see about renting out a room to get yourself some company.
Remember, too, that living alone does not necessarily lead to social isolation. If you work outside the house and have a network of family and friends, you may find that you get plenty of interaction on a regular basis -- and that you're quite content to come home and enjoy your living space without having another person around.