Last night, we helped a friend move across the city. She’d moved into the first place as a temporary third roommate, but now the real third roommate is coming. Fortunately, that gave her time to find another great living situation.
What I was really struck by was how nice the houses she’s been living in are. Both places struck me as something left from when the rich people lived in DC and had receptions and whatnot. I could just see people in Edwardian dress mingling in both living rooms. Or dining in the elegant dining areas.
We live in a small but not-too-expensive apartment, but she actually pays less than us in rent (I believe). And lives in a much nicer place.
The secret is in the roommates.
For instance, the rent on the house where she’s living may well be something like $1750/month. But if there are 3 people sharing it, that comes out to under $600 per person, which is great by DC standards.
Of course, if you’re a married couple you probably want your own house or apartment. Sharing seems less cool. At least if you’re newlyweds like we were when we moved here. Thinking about this more, though, it seems like some houses are built well enough for multi-small-family dwelling.
My friend’s new house, for instance, has 3 floors. The way it’s set up, she has her own floor at the top. Two rooms, slightly smaller than our apartment. When you take out the need for a kitchen on our floor (because they share one downstairs), the sizes are closer.
Quite cozy for a couple. And perhaps even with a child.
As it is, we don’t have an interest in moving right now. Moving is rough, even more so if it’s your own stuff (if it’s a friend’s then they have to do all the unpacking, which is most of the suckiness for me). We’re also not terribly keen on the idea of roommates. But it’s something to consider.
Maybe I’m missing a large trend in young marrieds living with friends. I really think there are societal feelings against it. “Bad” enough to be renting and not own our own place. Or not have kids yet. If we lived with other people, would we even be taken seriously?