There are of course major differences between renting a room vs. renting a property. That isn’t to say one trumps the other though. Rather, and as with most things, the question of whether to co-inhabit or got it alone is one that needs addressing on an individual basis.
Because Britain is a small country property is costly and much sought after. For this reason those living within the UK are generally speaking more likely to co-inhabit over renting an entire property as an individual. In fact, the ever rising cost of buying or even renting property here in the UK means that if the cost of food rose at the same rate as property has since the 1950’s, we would all now be paying over a tenner for a single pint of the stuff!
This is according to the Easy Roommate website article: How Has Flat-Sharing Impacted the UK Property Market? which also corroborates the assertion that Brits and those living in the UK are not only far more likely to house share than, for example, their US counterparts, but that Brits in 2017 are far more likely to spend a significant amount of their life house sharing in contrast to their own parents, who were more likely to grow up and move straight into a first family property with a partner.
What does all this have to do with the difference in cost between renting a room of one’s own or renting a pad of one’s own though? Quite simply, it means that those willing to share don’t only stand to save up to thousands of pounds each year by doing so, but for those living in major cities and The Capital this is often the only affordable way to live whilst unmarried.
Conclusion: if you are trying to save money or find you cannot afford to go it alone, house sharing is likely to save you a substantial amount. The difference in cost between renting a property and renting a room grows and widens the closer you get to the Capital, or any major city. Hence, the pros in this instance outweigh the cons.
Community and Lifestyle
Often young people do not mind house sharing. Going from a family home environment to managing one’s own property as well as perhaps being self sufficient for the first time is daunting. Then, it helps to go at it with friends when possible, whether you leave home the first time to start university or to enter the world of work.
This is also true because if you have never left home before it isn’t just sharing the ups and downs that come with doing so that are likely to make getting through them possible, and far less painful; young people are likely to create their own communities through sharing their skills and these first time experiences. Hence, the whole experience of house sharing can prove an extremely important and positive ‘coming of age’ experience of sorts in the modern world.
In contrast, for those over forty who are then forced or decide to share after living in a family home of their own creation or simply alone for some years, the transition can prove more excruciating than exciting. Of course everyone is different, but shaking off the feeling one is moving backwards rather than forwards in life can be difficult.
That said, it is not impossible. In fact, the Telegraph Newspaper ran a full story titled: Living in a Flatshare in Your Fifties, exploring the growing phenomenon of middle aged house sharing, and with more middle aged people than ever before now bunking up, it is easier than it has ever been to make it work and meet likeminded and similarly aged house mates. The deciding factor in whether sharing works in later life is almost always going to be finding the ‘right’ housemates.
To read and hear from a range of those house sharing in middle and later life the Guardian article: What is it like to flat-share in your 40s, 50s and 60s? makes an illuminating read. Meanwhile, for those looking to continue house sharing after uni and in order to kick-start their careers in The Capital, there is no better place to get looking for the ideal housemates and property than via the London Fox Lettings website.
Conclusion: If you have never flown the nest before, strongly consider sharing over shutting everyone out. Often those happiest living alone are those with enough years behind them to have built strong enduring friendships and a secure community. This prevents them from feeling lonely and instead makes living alone a joy. For this reason also, if this describes you and you can afford to live alone you might be best doing so, even though it is likely to mean living on less; only those over forty who crave company and community (not financial savings and convenience) are likely to enjoy house sharing at this point in their lives.
Your Relationship Status
Last but not least, what is likely to seal the deal as to whether to rent a room or entire property is your relationship status.
In 2017 it is not uncommon for couples to ‘put off’ moving in together. This is not 1950; more of us than ever enter university over marriage when we turn 18. After university and having worked so hard to give our careers the best start possible, it is normal now for people to spend years living with fellow ‘young professionals’ or alone before moving into ‘the marital home’ – for those who do it at all.
Then, it really is important to consider not only your current relationship status, but also to consider what it might be in a year or two – or five. This is of course doubly important if you happen to currently be in a relationship. Whilst you might have plans to move from a shared house to living alone ahead of moving in with your other half, your partner might be expecting to move directly from their current accommodation into a property with you.
Conclusion: This is one conclusion you really will need to read on your own – or along with your partner, if you have one. You will also probably want to explore how living with a partner instead of housemates could potentially change your legal status. Fortunately, this is one thing that is easy to clear up, simply give the living together and marriage: legal differences advice provided via the Citizens’ Advice website a read through.