One of the initial decisions you need to make is how many homemates you want to live with. There are a few things to consider before you firmly settle on a number, so let’s take a closer look at this issue.
Show me the money…..
Shared living should be more economical than living alone, so let’s look at how the number of people you live with can affect your costs.
Naturally, one of the major influences on the cost of a housing unit are where it is located. The larger centers like Toronto and Ottawa tend to have higher cost houses and apartments. Even within an area, the cost of housing can depend on the popularity of a specific neighbourhood.
Nevertheless, the number of people sharing the rent always makes a difference too. When the rent is split in half or in thirds or in fourths, the cost per person naturally goes down.
So, here are a few tips to help you decide how many homemates will work out best for you financially.
- Be clear on how much you are able to pay for rent and utilities such that you are still able to have money for other things. The gold standard for this comes from the Canada Housing and Mortgage Corporation (CMHC). They say that we should be paying no more than 30% of our before-tax income for our housing to be considered affordable. Make a note of how much you can afford to pay at no more than 40% of your before-tax income.
- Check the costs of renting in your chosen area or areas on various rental sites. Let’s say you see a housing unit that is currently renting for $2500 per month. Then, divide this by 2, 3, 4 etc. to see how much your rent would be depending on how many homemates you have.
Doing this is just an estimate, of course, because rents often go up and down over time and depending on what is available when you and your homemates are looking. But it will help you have a better idea of how many homemates you need to consider upfront.
Odds or evens…..
Another factor to consider is whether you are more comfortable with an odd or an even number of homemates.
Some people prefer an even number, like 2 or 4; some prefer an odd number, like 3 or 5 for various reasons. Sometimes, one person feels left out in a threesome, whereas when there are 5 people or more this isn’t usually an issue.
It’s a personal choice and it might not matter to you at all. It’s just something to consider.
The more, the merrier……
One of our Facebook group members had this to say about sharing with 4 or more homemates.
“If you want to do something, you’re likely to find someone else who’s interested. If you don’t want to do something on offer, there is someone else to companion the homemate looking for someone to join them. There are more varieties of relationship and no one homemate needs to provide anything they’re not good at. Someone might be a lot of fun to cook with, but doesn’t care to garden with you. It is also easier to accommodate the normal range of human emotion in a group. If you feel like being alone and reading or creating undisturbed for a week, you don’t have to worry about a homemate feeling unloved or bored. Someone is feeling grumpy… well, you are not living alone with that person. You can hang out with someone else. Also, someone in the house is likely to be good at cheering grumpy people up. That same cheerful person may be a bit much all the time, but again, you’re not living alone with them. Someone is bound to need good cheer when 4 or 5 people live together.”
The more homemates you choose to live with, the more likely it is that you will be sharing a bathroom with at least one other person.
For some, sharing a bathroom may not be acceptable; for others, it’s not a problem. There is no right or wrong way to look at this. You need to choose for yourself.
Noise and confusion…..
For some, the thought of living with more than one other person is overwhelming. They worry about the noise and/or the confusion of too many voices, too many opinions and not enough privacy.
Keep in mind that you and your homemates will make shared decisions when you co-create your Homemate Agreement. You may decide to have a quiet time from 9 PM to morning. You might decide that everyone needs to use headsets for their TV and computer. There are numerous ways to decrease the noise and confusion through your homemate agreement.
Creating a homemate group……
Members who want to live with more than one person, should start searching for just one other that is a good match. Once you find her, the two of you can look for another who is compatible. And then the three of you can search for a 4th and so on.
In order to communicate together, you can create your own private group to chat and share ideas and concerns. Simply go to the Group Directory and click on “Create a group”. Then follow the prompts to make it private and invite other members to join you.
To get started looking for compatible homemates,
go HERE to become a member.
12 replies on “How many is too many in a shared living home?”
This is interesting bc we are were a house of 3 senior women and then became 4. I was fine with it but one of the women felt the 4th was ignoring her and felt left out. Perhaps she has a 2 or 3 preference,
many townhouses have at least 3 and often 4 bedrooms.
I would not want to share a bedroom. My bedroom would my private space with my dogs and parakeets. 2 dogs, 2 parakeets and one little canary. Also we won’t always agree on what to watch on TV so having my TV in my room means I can watch a favourite show or a favourite movie on Netflix, cant miss my Grey’s anatomy. LOL
I definitely think at least 3 people is optimal.
Perhaps a townhouse would give enough space for ‘me time”. Definitely would be wonderful to have a house but that’s a huge commitment….if buying.
If renting…..risking the owner deciding to sell.
It’s sooooo difficult to find a rental at all in the current market.
I think 3 or possibly four in the right setting could work.
You are correct SuzyQ1948. It has to be the right setting. Are there such places as 4 bedroom apartments? A house would be ideal for groups larger than 3. That’s just me. I like my own space. Some people like close quarters.
For sure, a house works best for more than 3. My personal homemate group of 3 decided we wanted a house so that we could garden and have room to do other things. We chose the SWLT Investor-Purchased Home Option. You can find the page that describes this in the Everything You Need to Know page.
Lots of good tips to consider to help one make their decision.
There really is a lot to consider, isn’t there. It’s smart of you to read the articles so that you are prepared to discuss these things with potential homemates.
Good article. Any idea why an even or odd number matters to people? I’d be interested to know in case it’s a factor I hadn’t thought of. Thank you!
Hi LivesEntwined. I don’t know about others but I think of space. If everyone is to have their own room, then apartments with more than 2 bedrooms are harder to come by, or so I find. If women are willing to share, then an odd group will have one person at least who will have their own room. As for expenses, sometimes it’s harder to divide by an odd number, for example: if cable costs $100 then divided by 3 is a bit challenging. That’s my take on it.
The most common thing I hear is that with an odd number, one homemate may feel left out. However, this seems to only hold for groups of 3. Larger groups don’t mention this.
Thank you Pat. That makes sense. Sorry it took so long to reply. I didn’t see this message until now.