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This article was published on November 3, 2017

How three companies are bringing communal living into major cities

How three companies are bringing communal living into major cities
Josiah Motley

Finding housing sucks. Finding housing in a bustling city like New York or Boston sucks even more. Between the multiple wait lists and long application times, a newcomer to the city is probably going to have a pretty difficult time getting settled into a place in any reasonable amount of time. Now imagine trying to do all of this as an intern or a young professional on a budget – it can all be pretty intimidating.

Thankfully, there are some companies out there that are working on a solution to this problem and are using co-living spaces to help streamline and bring the world of housing into the 21st century. You have Bedly, which focuses on housing in NYC and Boston. Then there is WeLive who caters to Washington D.C. and NYC, and finally you have Common, who has co-living spaces in NYC, Chicago, the Bay area, and D.C. While they all do things slightly different, they all have one common goal – bring shared living spaces into the mainstream while making it as affordable and easy as possible – two things that you can’t really say for traditional markets right now.

So, how it works with the companies listed above is that you basically have your own, private bedroom and everything else is shared living. The kitchen, living areas, laundry – all of those spaces are shared with your housemates. They also all offer fully furnished spaces, which is just amazing when you think about not only furnishing costs, but having to possibly move some of those things in yourself – I am on the verge of a panic attack just thinking about moving a couch in NYC.

With New York City being the center of real estate in the US (and possibly the world) it makes sense that all three services have housing options available here, with Bedly offering the most spaces in the city. WeLive is no slouch, however, with them already some experience in the field. If the name sounds slightly familiar, it’s probably because it is a branch of something a bit more popular, WeWork, the co-work spaces that are popping up all around the world.

Everything ebbs and flows and the idea of community is no different. There was a time in human history was community was the most important thing you could have and we’re starting to see a swing back towards this idea and while this is absolutely amazing, it can also be pretty beneficial to the individual, as well. All three services make living in these expensive cities more affordable, with Bedly offering many rooms for around $1k a month (they only offer 30+ day rentals, allowing them to avoid many vacation rental laws), Common around $1.5k a month, and WeLive coming in a bit more expensive at around $3k a month. Obviously, if this is something you’re interested in, the price doesn’t necessarily mean everything (location, location, location), but if you’re a student or young professional, price will ultimately reign supreme.

With community comes friendship, as well. These services realize that and work on providing housemates events and other ways to interact with each other to help bolster friendships that will ultimately make living together much more enjoyable. Would you rather eat dinner next to a stranger or a friend?

But what about if you end up hating your housemates? That potential is always there, sometimes people simply don’t connect. Both Bedly and Common will work with you to relocate you to another unit, whether it is down the street or in another city. Bedly is even working on some new features that will help match you with potential roommates to hopefully avoid the awkwardness that comes with living someone you just can’t seem to get along with.

Living in a large city is expensive. Moving into a new house is time consuming (and expensive). Locking yourself into long term rental agreements can be intimidating – what if you get an offer across the country tomorrow? Unlike our parents, the end game for many millennials and Gen Z is not to find a comfortable job to work at for 50 years and retire, and the current state of housing still mainly caters to that old-school style of living. Companies like the ones in this article, while all offering similar things, is paving the way for a new kind of living that supports younger generations and their thirst for growth, travel, and expansion.

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