New York City apartments are tiny; they are expensive and you absolutely can only afford one if you have a slew of roommates. That’s the market mantra, but what if you had the chance to split an $8 million, 3,400-square-foot West Village loft with two other people for $1 a month?
No, you didn’t fall asleep on the train and start dreaming.
Rupert Hunt is looking for two roommates who can spare $1 a month to share his luxury apartment on Bleecker Street. Hunt is founder and CEO of SpareRoom.com, a website that helps people find rooms and roommates.
The apartment has a huge living space and a 1,500-square-foot roof terrace with 360-degree views of the Manhattan skyline, according to the ad.And each bedroom comes with a walk-in closet and a private bathroom.
“Living with people beats living alone,” Hunt said.
Hunt added that having roommates when you’re new to a city, as he is to New York, can make or break the experience. “Having shared for years back in London, I don’t need to financially, fortunately, but it’s the difference between falling in love with a new place and never feeling at home,” he said.
Finding a compatible roommate doesn’t have to mean you both like baseball or going to museums. Hunt said it all comes down to lifestyle and habits. Are you messy or neat? Are you rocking out at 3 a.m. or waking up at that hour to get to work? “When I first started sharing, I thought it was all about shared interests, but I found it comes down to rapport,” Hunt said.
Usually, the apartment hunting process is ruled by money, but Hunt doesn't want finances to be a barricaide to meeting the right roommates and making new friends, especially in a neighborhood where a room typically costs $1,800.
“I’m taking affordability out of the equation completely by offering the rooms for just $1 a month,” he said. “I’d rather choose people based on how well we get along, not how much they can afford."
“I know what it’s like to try and pursue your dreams in an expensive city. I moved to London to be in a band when I was 21. Things were financially tough. I worked two jobs, including stocking shelves in a supermarket to make ends meet. It’s great to think this could be a chance for one, or both, of my roommates to follow their dreams—that this opportunity could support someone’s creativity, allow them to volunteer, study or even start a business like I have.”
After sifting through applications, Hunt said he’ll create a shortlist of candidates and invite them over. Those that he “gets on with” will be invited back. The application process also includes a background check.
Hunt said he started sharing his apartment in 2013 after he separated from his wife. Deciding to give his own site a try, Hunt said he figured it would be good market research, but that the experience ended up being “game-changing.”
“What I wasn’t expecting was how much I enjoyed it,” he said. “It was a more positive lifestyle and I love the spontaneity [having roommates] brings to your life. It keeps you feeling alive and it beats going back to an empty flat every night.”
To apply, check out the ad on SpareRoom.com and click "Email Advertiser" on the right.