Unless your dream is to dwell in a shoebox or listen to the violent noshings of your housemates as they chow down late at night, you want to find a great place. Somewhere decent to call home, a cosy spot for you to roll into whenever you please. Before you head to Ikea or bring that Pinterest board to life with DIY endeavours, it’s important to find a great blank canvas. With housing prices out of control, it can be tricky. But we’ve got your go to guide to find a killer first place, worth staying in for the night.
Define your budget
This is the first step of the rest of your life. Not really. But hey it is important to live within your means. Whether that’s cutting back on your rent, earning more (oh yes please) or quitting your eating out habit. Be realistic, how else are you going to magically materialise money each month for rent. Unlikely. A safe space to operate is 30% of your income, that way you can afford to you know, exist.
Choose a neighbourhood
Now you know your budget you can start looking for neighbourhoods that fit that price range. If you already had a dream list of spots to live, only to realise it’s out of your range look at shoulder suburbs. You know the ones, the up and comers. That hip indie hub is slowly becoming
full of corporates mainstream, and the hipsters have to go somewhere. Follow the trendy pack to a locale that hasn’t been gentrified yet. Or if you’re lazy we already went and did the looking for you here. You’re very welcome.
Reach out to real estate agents
Once you’ve locked in your locales, it’s best to talk to estate agents. As a young person you’re rental application can often by overlooked in favour of older, wealthier or more stable candidates. It’s no fun to be rejected, so by introducing your well presented, hardworking self to the local agents they’ll be more likely to help you find a place. Be polite, as far from pushy as can be and ask if they have anything available or coming up. It’ll give you the first pick of properties if you establish a good relationship.
Ask about utilities
Ah yes, back to the budgeting bullshit. Depending where you choose to lay your roots, (well actually how old the place is) your utilities may be through the roof. After all this counting and calculating you could still be out of pocket. Ask about the utilities from the current tenants where possible. They’ll tell you about the slow to warm hot water or the leaky air conditioner. With that insider knowledge you can aim to get it fixed before you move in, or at least fixed at the agent’s cost. Winner.
Do a walk through
Make sure you see the place before you sign on the dotted line. Sometimes an issue you barely notice in the photo is glaringly obvious upon inspection. The photos they pop online are either designer to give the illusion of ample space or taken so awfully you think it must be better. Right? Right?! Whichever way their photography skill level swings, it’s not a true depiction. Go in and see the carpet, check the plugs and make sure your stuff fits and that it’s as described. Online shopping really isn’t fit for leasing (just yet.)
Have an application ready
We’ve said it before, but excuse us for trying to be helpful. If you’re even close to considering a place, walk into the inspection with an application filled out. It shows you’re eager, prepared and savvy. It puts you on better footing with the agent and in a better position to negotiate price. Be the most switched on you, you can be.
Think long term
You’re locked into this lease for a decent block of time, make sure you’re ready to commit. The worst thing you can do when moving out is piss off the agent. If you pay late, trash the place or are generally a nightmare, there goes you’re rental record and your only reference. Be smart and think of the future. Otherwise you’ll be moving back in with Mum, and with that comes the nagging. Not fun.
Image source: The Balance