Living alone vs. Flat Sharing – The Ultimate Pros & Cons List5 min read

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Whatever the reason, you will be faced with the same, old dilemma: Living alone vs. Flat Sharing, writes Sabrina Andrea Sachs, Spotahome blogger.

Choosing where to live in a new city is a very important decision. Deciding whether to share your home with someone or not is the second crucial one.

Do you want to live with other people? Or do you prefer living alone? Both living in a shared flat and living alone have their pros and cons. Let me share what I’ve learned during my 10-year expat life (both living alone and flat-sharing).

Flat Sharing

The Pros

  • It’s (usually) cheaper

Flat sharing is normally cheaper than living alone – many students and young professionals live together to share expenses and save money. Of course, it depends on what kind of apartment you get and which area you choose, but sharing a home with 3-4 people normally works out to be cheaper than renting on your own.

  • You’ll make lifelong friends

While I was living in my north London flatshare, we hosted monthly BBQs in our garden, I used to go to the cinema once a week with my flatmate Aimee and I even went on holiday with my Milan roommate back in 2010. Honestly, if you are lucky, you can make some of the best friends ever.

  • You won’t be alone

When you arrive in a new country/city for the first time, in the beginning living alone can get lonely. For this reason, your flatmates could become your very first friends. They will also help you develop a network of friends in your new city.

  • You will find a new family

When I was flat sharing with my Irish friend, Denis in south London, I remember cooking Italian dishes for him, while he would cook local dishes for me. It was the same when I lived with an Indian couple in Sydney as dinner always meant sharing recipes and immersing in each other’s cultures. Nothing beats a full cultural immersion like that!

  • You will have a better lifestyle

If you manage to save money on rent, you are likely to have more spending money for the rest. Like going out, the gym, shopping etc.

The Cons

  • The dirt and the mess

I am a tidy, minimalist kinda girl. I like showering in a clean bathroom and I like to walk barefoot in my house. I had to put these preferences of mine on the side for 7 years while I was flat sharing.

  • No privacy

When I was living in Camden Town, I shared a tiny flat with SIX other people. Yes, we were very poor. It was impossible to ever have the kitchen or the living room for myself. I think that in the year I lived in that flat, it never actually happened that I was there alone for more than 5 minutes.

  • You will have to work on your patience

There will be cleaning rotas and bill money disappearing from the bill jar by the door. There will be no hot water when it will be your turn to shower. There will be a party when you are exhausted and want to sleep. Accept all of this and understand that if you want to enjoy the pros, you’ll also have to take the cons.

So, what about the joys and downsides of living alone?

Living alone

The Pros

  • You are alone

The biggest pro of living alone is that *you live alone*. Really, you are the king or the queen of your own space and you can literally let other people in or not. After a few years of flat sharing, it can be quite refreshing.

  • Finally, your own style and touch

I’m a girly girl, so I always want to give a little personal touch to the place I live in. I could do a bit of it in my room, but certainly, I couldn’t express my artistic side when sharing an apartment with lots of different people.

  • You can invite who you want

I remember having to schedule dates at home with my other flatmates since we had a 1×1 sqm kitchen and no living room. It was annoying at times as scheduling so much brings away the spontaneity of such things. Having your own space, you can always bring home friends (and dates) whenever you like.

  • Your place, your rules

No more till-the-morning parties for me since I’ve been living alone. No more other people’s hair in the shower THANK-YOU-VERY-MUCH. No more fried garlic at 7 am.

The Cons

  • You are alone

Feeling lonely in a new city can be one of the hardest things ever. If you are not good at enjoying your own company or making new friends, it can be incredibly hard to take.

  • All the expenses are on you

Winter will come with turning up the heater. The bills will be on you and you only. So, it’s safer to always have a pocket of savings just in case something happens.

  • It is *normally* more expensive

All the above pros come with a price tag.

Moving made easy

I’ve moved 12 times in the last 11 years. This means that I’ve spent about 53,860,575,948,184 hours on dodgy websites and Gumtree scanning weird ads with fake pictures and another 29,845,843,753,405 hours dragging myself through smelly apartments to horrific rooms from one side of the city to the other with pushy agents thirsty for my hard-earned money. This is why now for my recent move to Berlin, I had no doubt and decided to use Spotahome. Firstly, I checked the neighborhood guides to understand where I would fit best. Then, I started scouting the ads and videos to see if there was something I liked.

On selecting my next home, I was amazed by the incredible amount of information available. On Spotahome, all homes are checked by the local team. They actually take photo and videos of each property so that you are not scammed by dishonest landlords.

Once I made my reservation, the landlord replied within a few hours and my apartment was confirmed. As an extra guarantee, my first payment was made through Spotahome. The money was transferred to the landlord only 48 hours after I moved in, so to make sure that everything was exactly as I expected it. Nice, right?

Hope my experience helps you guys to prepare your exciting life wherever is going to take you! Alone or in flatshare.

About Sabrina:

Sabrina Andrea Sachs is a dreamer, a rebel and a storyteller. In other words, she is a traveller, a writer and a photographer.

Last modified: September 26, 2018

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