Fewer New Yorkers are living by themselves now than in more than a decade, which means more of an emphasis on finding the best roommate for your situation. One recent report put the number of households in this town functioning as a “single” at 46.3%, which is still high as compared to rest of the country, but is near a record low for us.
The reasons that more and more NYC rental apartments are occupied by a couple, a family, or roommates in all sorts of configurations are pretty straightforward, from the uncertain economy to the tight NYC rental market, which currently has lots of demand and less supply.
And a roommate is no longer limited to fresh-out-of-college professionals and/or intimate partners. These days roommates of the platonic kind– “housemates”, actually, is becoming the preferred usage, even if they’re living in an apartment, rather than an actual house—-come in all ages and from many different professions.
Despite changes in the NYC roommate landscape, the singular challenge remains: how do you find both the perfect apartment AND the best roommate with which to share it, all at the same time?
Well, Urban Edge can definitely help you land a terrific no-fee rental apartment, but sharing it with a not-special someone who, in fact, does have to be quite special still requires a bit of luck, some smart searching, and good deal of old-fashioned judgement.
It’s often said the best roommate is one who pays the bills on time, and who remains invisible. So, unless you’re living with a ghost, the perfect roommate may be one who is on a completely different time schedule than you are.
Brick Underground has run a couple of columns recently on this issue of rental apartment housemates. In addition to the obvious things such as paying the bills on time, cleaning up after themselves, and overall being both independent and considerate, they have found examples of this “invisible” roommate–the one you never see.
For example, recently Emily Feldman told her story about the joys of living in a NYC rental apartment with a roommate who has a completely different schedule than hers: he’s a stand-up comedian who works late into the night; she has a office job with more typical professional hours. During the day, the apartment is all his; at night it’s all hers.
And when they do “bump into each other”, Feldman says, “it’s a genuinely nice surprise and I find myself talking to him like I might a former acquaintance I’d just run into.”
Another piece in Brick Underground this fall introduced me to the intriguing NYC rental apartment phenomenon of the “invisible roommates”, people who share their home “hotel style”, with one person getting the place Sunday through Thursday night (aka, the work week), and the other living there on Friday and Saturday nights. You can even do this in a studio or one-bedroom apartment, with each person using their own sheets, towels, etc., but sharing all the furniture, including the bed.
The key in both situations is having opposite schedules… the best roommate can be one you never, or rarely, see, so when looking for potential housemates, first ask, “What’s your schedule?”
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