Co-Living: The Newest, Oldest Housing Fad
By Devin Valdez
There’s a new trend hitting the real estate world by storm. Its core idea is to have strangers move in together, live together in their own rooms and share communal spaces…
Sound familiar? That’s because it is. The idea of “Co-Living,” as the fad has been named, is really nothing new. It’s simply another, fancier, way of saying “living with roommates.” For decades people have been finding roommates to occupy empty rooms in their homes or apartments and to help share with the cost of rent.
This old school concept has become a fad because now apartment developers are running with the idea of “co-living” and building complexes to habitat such social living styles.
How it Works: Living quarters in these complexes will have a communal area for all tenants (usually 3 people in one unit) , and separate bedrooms and bathrooms for each tenant. Instead of leasing an entire apartment or studio, tenants will each lease out a bedroom and bathroom of their own and share communal living spaces, such as the kitchen and living room. Many developers will have the communal areas already fully furnished, and will have cleaning services for these living areas.
Developers in Chicago, New York and Miami have already began building these co-living units in apartment buildings, and have seen a positive desire for the units. Homes or townhouses in San Francisco and Oakland, have taken on the same concept as these apartments, as well.
What’s New: As I continue to say, co-living is an old thought, just with new twists. One of the biggest twist is the emphasis on community. Co-living units will work to put you together with like-minded people, and encourages an atmosphere to hang out, and make new friends. And in the instance that you get paired with someone you can’t get along with, there are ways to move to a different unit in the building.
“People have been renting and living with strangers for a long time. The Craigslist model is established, and it’s something that people, especially younger generation of people are very used to dealing with. I think what we’re trying to do to be effective is to mitigate the negative aspects of that,” explains Noah Gottlieb, principal at Property Markets Group (PMG), an apartment developer company in New York, Miami and Chicago.
Some negatives that are trying to be eliminated are the chores of cleaning and decorating. Communal areas developed by PMG will be fully furnished and will have a cleaning service that takes care of the mess you and your roommates make. This eliminates the fight over whose turn to take out the trash it is. Another negative, and probably one of the best parts of the co-living situation, is that rooms are leased, individually, so no one is responsible for their roommates if one isn’t paying their rent. This eliminates the need for an awkward conversation when one of your roommates is late on their rent money.
The Benefits: One of the biggest and most attractive benefits of co-living is the ability to afford to live on your own, so to speak. Co-living enables you to move out of your parent’s home and into your own place, without having to be literally alone. And on the even brighter side, co-living offers rents per room which are much lower than what you would typically pay for an entire apartment unit.
Co-living has seen the biggest demand in major cities like San Francisco and New York, where rents are on a ridiculous rise.
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