Before you move out
Moving out from your family home might seem like a great idea,
but as a first-time renter there are a few things you should know
so the experience doesn't become a nightmare.
Costs of moving out
Before you move out, use should create a budget to help you add
up all the costs of moving out of home and your new living
expenses.You need to be honest with yourself when you do a budget
so you can plan for any unexpected and ongoing expenses.
Know where you stand financially.
Renting a house or flat can be expensive. Make sure you have
enough money to support yourself because you'll have lots of
ongoing costs once you leave home: rent, bond, renter's
insurance, utility bills like gas, water and electricity, food,
entertainment and transport, just to name a few.
And don't forget if you have a credit card or a personal loan
too, you'll need to keep up those regular payments on top of your
Before you leave home, think about the one-off costs of moving:
removalist fees or costs of hiring a moving truck, rental bond,
connection fees for phone, internet, gas and electricity, parking
permits, furniture and furnishings, linen and kitchenware, just to
name a few.
In most cases if you're renting, you'll be asked to pay 2 weeks
rent in advance and a bond (usually 4 weeks rent) as a security
Case study: Ryan thinks about moving out
Ryan studies full-time and works part-time at the local
newsagent. He takes home about $250 per week. He is currently
living at home but looking to rent a furnished single room in a
shared house for $400 a month. He wonders if he'll have enough
money for entertainment, let alone emergencies, after he pays his
expenses. The only way to find out is to do a budget. After bills,
living expenses and rent, he works out he'll have $12.50 a week
left over. Things will be quite tight for a while.
Choosing a place
Try to save 10% of your pay for emergencies like not being
able to work for a week, unexpected bills or extra travel costs.
You'll be glad of those spare dollars.
The location of your rental property could affect your budget,
depending on how close it is to public transport and shops. It
could mean you end up paying more for a lot of taxis or for
Here's where to start looking for places to rent:
- Visit real estate websites (You can search by suburb, price,
number of rooms and type of accommodation (e.g. unit, townhouse or
- Call real estate agencies in the area to get a current rental
- Check rental lists in newspapers or on student notice boards
- Ask your friends or work mates
Sharing with flatmates
Put aside some cash to buy groceries and stock up your food on
the day you move into your new place.
House sharing is one of the easiest ways to save money when you
move out of home. For example, splitting rent and household
expenses for a four-bedroom house with three other flatmates could
end up cheaper than renting a one-bedroom unit by yourself.
If you're sharing, set ground rules with your flatmates at the
start, even before you move in together.
You and your flatmates should decide how to:
- Pay for bills
- Share the cost of rent and utilities
- Share responsibility for household chores
- Withdraw from the rental lease when someone moves out
- Pay a shared cost for food as a group, or shop
Formal living arrangements
Sharing a lease with your flatmates is called a formal living
There are different contracts you will need to sign when you
live in a formal arrangement. You will need to sign the rental
agreement as well as any contracts for services that are connected
to the property like electricity, gas, water and the internet.
These contracts are legally binding, so you and your housemates
will be legally responsible for paying bills for these
Make sure you understand the contract before you sign it. Can
you afford the repayments? Check the small print and obligations of
the contract. Can you cancel the contract and what happens if you
do? Unfortunately, you cannot cancel some contracts just because
you have changed your mind.
If you can't pay your rent or bills it may affect your credit report.
A poor credit report can affect your ability to borrow money in the
Informal living arrangements
In shared households, try not to have your name on all the
bills. If the bill is addressed only to you, even if you are
sharing the costs, you are legally responsible.
There are times when you rent part of a house from another
tenant but have not signed the lease. This is known as an informal
living arrangement. You will still need to pay for your rent and
for services like electricity and gas. However, there is no legal
contract as you have not signed a lease.
In a situation like this, the tenant you are renting from will
have signed a written tenancy agreement with the owner of the house
or unit. This makes them the 'head-tenant'.
If you are in this situation you should get a written agreement
with the head-tenant that covers things like how much rent you will
be paying and how shared household costs will be divided and paid.
A written agreement can help set agreed rules and can be used to
Be careful if you allow a housemate to live with you and they
are not on the lease or you do not have a written agreement with
them. If things don't work out and they move out or stop paying
rent, you could end up out of pocket without any way to get the
Moving out checklist
Here is a checklist of things you need to do before you move out
for the first time:
- Utilities - Set up electricity, phone,
internet and pay TV connections.
- Furniture - Find out if the place comes
furnished, or budget for new or second-hand furniture.
- Renter's Insurance - Get online quotes if you
want to insure your home contents. If you have car insurance, this
will also need to be updated as the new address may mean your
insurance premium will go up or down.
- Budget - Complete a budget for your moving
expenses, making sure you have enough money to cover the one-off
and ongoing costs.
- Removalists - Book and pay for a removalist,
or arrange to get help from family and friends.
- Research the area - For example, where is the
closest bus stop or train station, supermarket, ATM, petrol station and doctor? Are they
within walking distance?
- Bills and loose ends - Pay off any existing
bills before moving, and return DVDs or library books and cancel
your memberships if necessary. You don't want late fees hanging
over your head.
- Sell unwanted items - Get rid of any unwanted
items you have to raise extra money for items at the new
- Redirect your mail - Make a list of everything
that has your address on it or organisations that will need to be
notified of your new address in order to send mail to you, such as
your driver's licence, your bank statements, your employer and your
Medicare card. Moving Services contains a
comprehensive list of who to notify.
- Look into medical and ambulance cover - Once
you move out of home and begin living independently, you may no
longer be covered by your parents' medical insurance.
Case study: Charlie gets some useful advice
Charlie's older brother told her that moving out could be
expensive. He suggested ways she could save money.
- Offer to buy lunch for friends who would help her move house,
instead of paying for a removalist.
- Shop around for furniture at local second-hand stores.
- Contact family and friends to see if they had any second-hand
furniture or kitchen goods that they didn't need.
- Buy only the essential items to begin with. For instance, she
could use the local laundromat rather than buying a washing
Charlie took her brother's advice and saved almost $500 in the
move. She used the money to pay for some of her uni books.
Last updated: 22 Feb 2017