The Downtown Roommate Dilemma

One Splitwise fan writes to ask if the ever-popular rent calculator takes into account location when deciding how to split the cost of rent between roommates.

Dear Splitwise,

I love your rent calculator, and am using it to figure out the rent for a new apartment. I have one question about your methodology: did you guys consider including location as a metric? Location is an important factor is the value of an apartment, and is a benefit that is split equally, suggesting that if an apartment has a great location, the rent split should be more equal.

I can see that being difficult to quality, but I was curious if you had considered it.

– Lost In Place

Dear Lost In Place,

Great question! No, location is not explicitly part of the calculation, though it is something we considered in our methodology.

A nice place will lead to a more expensive apartment overall, which of course changes the total apartment price. That affects the total amount of rent each person will pay, but it does not affect the ratios or percentage of the rent that each roommate pays. That’s why we don’t need to ask about location in the SplitTheRent calculator.

I do agree with you that getting the smaller bedroom in a nice location feels a little bit different than getting the smaller bedroom in a bad location. For example, a bedroom of any size in Manhattan is probably worth more than just it’s square footage, just because the neighborhood is so exciting that people are desperate to find bedrooms there.  However, pricing apartments by the square foot is the how the real estate market typically works, and how many people can sanely live in a given apartment. This also helps keep the calculator simpler and easier to use.

We may do some additional study on this topic in version 2.0 of our rent calculator. Stay tuned!

– Splitwise

Published by

Jon Bittner

Splitwise helps you and your friends keep track of shared expenses, so that bills (and friends) get paid on time.

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