Sharing a house and splitting the rent is always a great way to cut costs. At a glance, it's fairly uncomplicated… until it isn't.
Enter the ‘Master Bedroom.' You want it for the extra space, the privacy of having your own bathroom, and whatever other personal reason you may have for insisting on acquiring it. The thing is, you're now expected to pay extra for it.
But how much is extra? Read and find out what these commonly unstated rules are, and understand the art of splitting rents with a master bedroom.
People typically agree to pay anywhere between 5% to 50% more, depending on how much bigger the master bedroom is than the other rooms. If the difference isn't that significant, perhaps it can be brought down to as little as 2%.
This means that if the total cost of the rent is $2,400 and three of you share the same house, you could be looking at paying around $80-$400 more for it. If we go by the smallest possible increase, that's $16, which is ideal but unlikely.
The amount could also be affected by the method you have chosen to split the rent or the value you place on having the largest private livable space in the house. Perhaps you think having an en-suite bathroom, a balcony, more windows, or even a larger closet space is worth paying a couple of hundred bucks more.
You can bring this up during your negotiation with your roommate(s) to make the whole process easier.
For the reasons stated above, the quick answer to this question is yes. Although the answer may vary depending on other factors, like the agreement you have with your roommate(s), it's generally considered a decent and agreeable practice to have the person with the larger bedroom pay a slightly heftier share of the rent.
Aiming for the master bedroom automatically implies that you have the means to pay extra, as it only makes sense for you to take on a bigger portion of the rent.
Not all master bedrooms are created equal. Some are bigger, nicer, and come with more perks — all of which are aspects that could potentially affect how much more expensive they should be. To give you the most basic idea, I will focus on the size.
An average master bedroom in the US is about 14% bigger than the other rooms in the house, so it's not unusual for your roommate(s) to expect you to contribute that much more in rent. This approximation is also based on the size of the house, and it can be up to 43% bigger.
Math, as undesirable for some of you as it may be, is always going to be a part of this, so I shall try to put it in perspective as simply as possible.
Again, let's say the total cost of the rent is $2,400, and there are three of you sharing it. If we divide that equally, that's exactly $800. But the master bedroom is 14% bigger, so you'd then have to add that amount to your share. This is what that looks like in numbers:
800 X 0.14 (14%) = 112
800 + 112 = 912
That would bring your share of the rent to $912, while the other two would end up with just $744 each. There's a $168 difference which most people, myself included, wouldn't consider too bad for all the added benefits of getting to own the master bedroom.
Example for a 3-bedroom setting:
total bedroom area = 700 sq.ft. and monthly rent = $2,400.
Room 1: 350 sq. ft. (includes closet and private bath) = 50% of area, rent $1,200
Room 2: 200 sq. ft. (includes closet) = 30% of the area, rent $720
Room 3: 150 sq. ft. (includes closet) = 20% of the area, rent $480