Moving out of home: Is it time?
Making the decision to move out
Moving out of home can be equal parts exciting and daunting. While it’s nice to think of the freedom you will have – that freedom comes with a lot of responsibilities. And money. You can say goodbye to someone else washing and folding your laundry and cooking your food, and hello to coin-operated laundromats and people stealing your food.
Is it time to move out?
These days, people stay home much longer than their parents did. Mainly because the housing market is a lot harder to break into, but also because they know they will never have it so good as under their parents’ roof. And in most cases, parents are happy for their adult kids to hang around. But here’s a hint, if you arrive home and your bedroom has been turned into a sewing room, or guest bedroom, it’s time to move on.
All kidding aside, if you are financially secure, and mature enough to shoulder the responsibilities that renting brings. Then you are ready to venture into the big wide world of … flatmates.
The first question to ask yourself is whether you want to live with friends or strangers? Because, let’s face it, unless you are a trust fund kid, you won’t be able to afford to live alone.
Either option can be fraught – friendships can falter when you have to clean up their filthy cooking mess and stranger can be, well, strange.
Let’s look at the friend option.
It’s important to understand that just because you are friends with someone, does not mean you can live harmoniously under the same roof. There are some friends that I am sure you love dearly, but that you would be reluctant to spend a weekend with, let alone a few months (or years).
So if you choose to share with a friend, choose wisely. And realise that you both need to put on big girl (or boy) pants so when the going gets rough (and it will) you have boundaries in place to protect the friendship.
As for living with a stranger, perhaps someone you found at flatmate.com, the most important thing is to ask plenty of questions in your initial (public) meetup – about things like their taste in music, whether they smoke, what their hobbies are, how often do they entertain, what meals do they like to cook, and if they have a partner likely to stay over.
There are two (interconnected) pros of living with a stranger: They may become a great friend and, if they don’t, there’s no harm done.
And no matter whether you choose to live with friends or strangers, the key to a good share relationship is communication (and picking up after yourself!)
Finding the right place
The first thing to consider when looking for your first home away from your family home is budget. You are probably not going to go straight to a high-end penthouse apartment in the CBD. It’s probably more likely to be a run-down semi-detached in the ‘burbs.
It’s important to be realistic about this. You don’t want to blow all your income on rent. Remember you will need cash for food, bills, transport and the occasional night out. Common wisdom has it that rent should be no more than 30 per cent of your income. And according to Lifehacker, in many cities, landlords require your annual earning to be 40 times the monthly rent (so, $2000 a month rent means $80,000 a year income). When it comes to share housing, you need to work out how much you are liable for each month and then times that by 40.
Other things to consider when finding the right place are whether you have time to maintain a garden; how close the property is to work, university and public transport; does it have off-street parking; whether the neighbourhood is safe; and how far it is from bars, cafes and nightlife.
We hope this post has helped clarify some of your feelings about making that first leap into real adulthood. Moving out of home is just the beginning.
Over to you
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