So you’ve made the decision: it’s time to leave the nest.
You’re going to take that first epic leap towards independence move out of your parents' place.
The lead-up to moving out of home is an exciting time – you’re planning your new living arrangements, thinking about where to live and looking forward to sweet, sweet freedom!
But the reality is that a lot of first-timers end up having to move back in with their parents. In fact, figures from the Australian Bureau of Statistics suggest that almost one in every two people (46%) will end up moving back in with their parents at least once before turning 35, with most returners lasting only one to two years out of the home before going back.
So how do you make sure your first move out of home is a success?
Here’s our essential guide to the most important things you need to know about moving out of home… from how to rent a property to how to manage your budget.
We’ve also included some real-life tips and advice from members of the team at MOVE Bank who’ve been there, done that and got the t-shirt (so to speak) when it comes to living out of the home.
Who should I live with?
Whether you’re planning on sharing or renting on your own it is important to know what will suit your lifestyle and of course your budget.
You’ve got to ask yourself some serious questions. Do you want to live alone or is sharing a place going to be a better option? If you’re going to share will you move in with friends or will you need to find a housemate?
If you’re moving in with friends it pays to make sure you are all on the same page BEFORE you commit to living together. There is nothing worse than moving in with mates to find out a few months down the track that they can’t afford to keep up with their rent, or that cleaning is not in their vocabulary. Not only can this put a strain on your friendship, but it can also put you in an awkward position with your real estate agent.
A BIG lesson I have learnt is about bill payments! With house-mates there are always those times where someone ‘forgets’ to pay a bill or they just haven’t budgeted for it.
To avoid this, open a joint account and put the bill money in there that way when the bill comes in you can pay it straight from the joint account. It keeps a record of who has put money in and you can see where the bill has been paid.
~ Jacqui, Lending Specialist – MOVE Bank
Where should I live?
Picturing yourself in a funky apartment or house in an inner-city suburb? Before you get too carried away you need to have a good hard think about the following;
- What is the average rent for apartments/houses your dream suburb? Can you afford to rent there?
- How far away will you be from work/uni/family? Commuting long distances can be tiring AND expensive!
- Is the area reasonably well serviced by public transport?
As a rule, your rent should not be more than 30% of your income.
This is not just so you can live comfortably – it’s also the formula that property managers use when assessing your rental application, so it’s a good base to stick to. A property manager may make an exception if your rent is slightly over the 30% mark though, so if you think you can manage to pay a little more it doesn’t hurt to ask.
Your lifestyle is another thing you need to consider is when deciding where to live.
Do you have a hobby that takes up a lot of space? You may need extra storage or a large yard. Similarly, if you are a light sleeper you probably need to avoid properties on main roads or in entertainment precincts.
Plus if you’re an animal lover you’ll need to find a property which will allow pets…
Be cautious when deciding to move out with pets or adopt pets once renting. A lot of real estate agents are wary about people with pets. Having 2 dogs and a cat I can’t tell you how many applications myself and my partner had to fill out before we found someone to accept us and our little fur family!
~ Maddie, Support Services Officer – MOVE Bank
If you’re still unsure of what would be best for you, maybe putting your name down on a shorter lease could be a good option.
Getting a place
So you’ve found the right place, at the right price and if you’re sharing, with the right people. The next step is making the right impression.
For first time renters, the application process can be tricky, especially if you don’t have any prior renting history. So how can you get a rental lease if it’s your first time renting?
- Get a guarantor – you can get a guarantor to back your application (generally a parent or family member) – this person gives the guarantee that the rent will be paid on time.
- Set up a Direct Debit – Majority of real estate agents request rent payments to be set up on a direct debit payment system. If this is not the case, make sure you request it on your application. This shows initiative and commitment to paying your rent on time and will be highly regarded. If your income comes mainly from Centrelink, you can even set up automatic payments from their Centrepay system.
- Provide proof of great conduct – If you have ever had a line of credit, or used a lay-by system with a store you would have a record of regular payments. Print off these statements and attach them to your application. Although it is not a rental situation, it will definitely help your case.
Being a Tenant
OK so you’ve signed the lease on your new home and you’re ready to move in. So what’s next?
Before you move a single piece of furniture into the property there’s one very important task you must complete – and that’s filling in the condition report.
The condition report states the exact contents and condition of the premises at the beginning of the tenancy on a room-by-room basis. It should also state if anything in/on/around the property broken or in poor condition, (eg. a torn fly-screen in bedroom one; cracked wall in the kitchen; stained carpet in the lounge, etc.).
However, there may be issues with the property that are NOT mentioned in the condition report. As the new tenant you need to go through the property and add any details about any faults, damage etc. that are not listed.
Remember you may be held responsible for fixing anything issues that are not listed on the original condition report so be thorough!
Take pictures of any issues you identify – you’d be surprised how helpful they can be when the property manager/owner comes to complete the exit report. Do not be pressured to give back the entry report in a hurry as it is your legal right to go through it in detail as the occupant of the premises.
Repairs & Maintenance
When it comes to repairs and maintenance both you the property manager/owner have certain responsibilities;
- The property manager/owner has a responsibility to ensure the property is in good condition and fit for the tenant/resident to live in.
- The tenant/resident is responsible for looking after the property/room and keeping it clean and undamaged.
Generally, the damage that occurs due to reasonable wear and tear will need to be paid for by the property manager/owner. The damage that is caused by the actions of you or your housemates (for example breaking a window) will need to be paid for by you.
If there is an issue with any aspect of the property that you believe is in need of repairs you should notify the agent/manager right away. Again take pictures of the issue if possible and attach this to your claim.
The property manager/owner must carry out any repairs within a reasonable time so if you haven’t had a response to your request for repairs make sure you chase it up.
For more information on your rights and obligations as a tenant go to www.rta.qld.gov.au.
If ever you talk to the agent/manager about any issues, make sure you put it in writing and ask for confirmation/feedback. This will come in handy if there is a dispute and the other party denies any knowledge of the issue. ~
Nitesh, Finance & Assurance Officer – MOVE Bank
Budgeting for first-time renters
For first-time renters, unexpected bills and everyday expenses can really throw a spanner in your budget plan. It is important that you are practical!
Remember that there are start-up costs to move- so start saving now. You have to pay a bond, hire moving trucks and new furniture/appliances. Along with ongoing costs which you might not have paid in the past (for example your quarterly electricity and water bills, your internet/phone bill and household products).
Creating a budget is also a must do – it will help you keep track of your expenses and stay up to date with your bills.
Sit down and work out a budget before you decide on moving out. Work out how much you will need to put aside from your pay for bills, groceries, rent, emergency fund etc. and then try and live within that budget for a month to see how you go.
~ Maddie, Support Services Officer – MOVE Bank
My strategy was to work out all of my bills, Rent, Electricity, Phone, Car Loan, Petrol, Insurance etc. Once I knew the total cost of these I would work out how much I needed to put aside each week/fortnight, and transferred this money into a separate bills account. I had another account for savings and then my main spends account.
~ Jason, Sales Manager – MOVE Bank
How much you spend on food is another budget killer. Setting up a weekly meal plan will go a long way towards making your dollars stretch further – and you won’t end up living off 2-minute noodles until payday!
My Tip is 85 cent bread from Coles. How cheap is that? Add Heinz spaghetti and a toasted sandwich maker and you are good to go.
~ Ross, IT Manager
GOT SOME ADVICE FOR FIRST-TIMERS MOVING OUT OF HOME? LET US KNOW IN THE COMMENTS!
This blog post is for general information purposes only and is not intended as financial or professional advice. It does not have regard to the financial situation or needs of any reader and must not be relied upon as financial product or other professional advice. You should seek your own independent financial, legal and taxation advice before making any decision about any action in relation to the material in this article. Railways Credit Union Limited trading as MOVE Bank ABN 91 087 651 090. AFSL/ Australian Credit License number 234 536 | ABN 91 087 651