What Should I Expect?
My favorite analogy that I use for anyone thinking about joining a coliving experience is that coliving is like a gym: you can purchase a membership and have access to all the machines/amenities, but if you don’t go or don’t use the machines/amenities, you’re not going to see any results. But if you use those machines and be consistent with your efforts, then you’ll see the results.
Coliving is the exact same in that you get out what you put in. You make the most of the experience by putting yourself out there in the community and with house members, make plans, and put in an effort to contribute.
While you are surrounded by people constantly, coliving is an individual experience and you have every resource at your hand to make the most of it!
That being said, every house varies and thus the experience & expectations that come with it can vary as well. My best recommendation is to ask questions and over communicate with house organizers of any potential houses you join.
Where Can I Find Houses?
Loop back to (list of houses) and check their pages for any upcoming openings! Lots of people announce and recruit for new houses through Twitter — if they don’t come up on your feed, you can search for keywords like “coliving house” “hacker house” “founder house” etc and they will come up. You can look at coliving house aggregators like or Connect with any coliving house organizer (even if they don’t have an opening currently) — they can point you to other houses that may have openings or share around people they know that could help. Usually everyone knows of each other and the coliving circles are quite small!
What Does the Process Look Like to Join a House?
Again this varies per house, each has their own application and vetting process. Typically, you can expect a written application or connection via online with the house organizers, phone or video calls (or in-person meetings) to gauge if you are a good fit for the house, and then a decision. Following an acceptance, then you’ll most likely go into meeting the housemates, figuring out finances, and any other actions in preparation for your house!
At Elysian House, we had an online application with a few questions ranging general questions about you, your goals, and a bit more about your background.
We also took questions with candidates via Twitter and had back & forth with most people before they applied.
After the application was submitted, Trustin (my co-organizer) & I did two separate individual calls with the people we wanted to interview. These were 15-minute, get to know you, vibe check calls. We saw merit in doing two separate calls rather than a group call as to get larger perspective on that person. After we completed both calls, Trustin & I would come together and sync on how we individually felt on the call and did a collective decision. It was important that both of us were excited about the person joining the house.
We sent acceptances via email with a comprehensive master document of all expectations and governance for the house. We started our group chat for the house and gave people ~1 week before moving in to meet everyone else and get excited.
Don’t stress through the process, organizers typically look for great vibes, enthusiasm, community-first mindset, and a sense of excitement for participating! Just be genuine & yourself - you don’t have to only talk about work or feel that you need a long list of professional achievements to join a house. I always recommend connecting with the house organizer personally — just as you are being interviewed, you are also interviewing to see if the organizer & house is a good fit for you.
What Does the Day-to-Day Look Like?
This is a good question to ask specific house organizers that you are interested in joining. Coliving houses can be, on one end, very programmed and scheduled, to free-for-all or less formal. It is good to have a sense of what type of house you’d prefer and see if upcoming houses align with that.
Do you want your schedule to be set for you with planned events, initiatives, etc.? Do you prefer a looser community schedule in which you can plan and take initiative with everyone else?
At Elysian House, we had a very loose schedule. Most of the house members were busy during the day working on their own thing, lending to spontaneous morning or lunch hang outs. In the evenings or weekends, we were more free to do things together or spend time with each other. We did have a ritual called Family Dinners, where every Sunday evening we would set time aside just for the house to have a meal together and hang out.
With longer houses (few months+), I find that people are more likely to follow their own routine, whereas shorter houses (few weeks or less) push people to hang out more/make most of their time together and let loose on their routines. As I’ve said before, it all varies per house and something good to note of before joining a house.
How to Make the Most of Your Experience
For this section, I asked seven other folks that have participated and/or helped organized a house on what they would recommend colivers to do to make the most of their experience. Their advice:
Make sure your coliving community has aligned incentives. Everyone should have a north star they are working towards, and the missions of your roommates should complement one another.
From my experience this is the #1 thing which helps create an environment everyone feels fulfilled and excited to be in. If you can successfully foster this, the day to day chores of running a coliving space will fall into place much easier.
Also, don’t make our mistake by being all guys from the beginning. If you don’t have a diverse group from the get go it is 100X harder to solve that problem down the line post launch!
- Colm Hayden, Atmosphere House
Try to take initiative to meet with people around you and learn as much as you can from the people that you are living with. After a few months you will end up learning a lot about yourself, your comfort zone, a lot of new topic and different fields. Some stuff you won’t like but don’t forget it’s a unique experience that is shaped with your individual input.
Each community houses is a unique experience formed by individuals, just acknowledge that you are a part of that whole experience and have a chance to hugely affect that!
- Selin Parlak, Elysian House & Ecos House
In terms of making the most out of your experience, I’d say prioritize spending time exploring the city with the people you are living with (every weekend even), depending on the group size - doing things together as a group is super important like cooking, biking, or just having time in the morning to chat before work! Also meeting people/making friends with those who live in the city & who are outside your house group.
- Subaita Rahman, BioDojo House
Tl;dr separate the noise from signal as best as you can :)
I’d say definitely make the most out of the community you’re in and get to know everyone there! But trying to build so many relationships quickly can get overwhelming and make you lose sight of your goals and why you came. In my experience, focusing on a few deeper connections makes me happier and leads to more lifelong friendships.
- Zach Eisenhauer, Launch House
I'd align your main expectations and goals out of coliving with your housemates and house -- some people want community, some want a network, some just want cheaper rent. Matching expectations is best so you're not disappointed and know what's on the table. Then I'd check out different coliving house vibes. The hosts really matter and set the mood. Once you're there, I'd try your best to get along with people and enjoy your time (but have a backup ready for places to stay if things go south). Things that I find help are having a meal or hangout individually with each person, and starting or joining recurring weekly activities. Each city has unique things to offer, don't forget to explore together!
- Anthony Tan, DropoutDAO House
It’s good to think about what your objectives are for living in a coliving house and constantly re-evaluate if you’re getting the experience you wanted. living in a coliving house could also be distracting at times, so it’d be helpful to set boundaries when needed!
- Chloe Zhang, Edyfi
My coliving houses have been some of the most impactful experiences I’ve immersed myself in. I’d recommend setting aside time to make the most out of coliving. Allow yourself to be spontaneous and be 100% present when spending time with others. Embrace that impromptu kitchen conversation, full send on that all-nighter spent having deep conversations, and take up that weekend hackathon to hack with your housemates on a fun project. The first two weeks will be crazy, during the middle things will settle down and you’ll get some rest, and the last two weeks will be crazy again. Embrace the chaotic energy! These bonds and memories will almost for sure last a lifetime :)
- Daniele Velez, Edyfi & Genesis House
Fun Fact: Did you know say they’ve lived with roommates they didn’t know or had a previous relationship with? So, it’s pretty common for folks to live with new people!