A Young adult’s guide to moving out
by Rizwan Osman on 6th April 2020
Moving into your own place for the first time can be a thrilling adventure – but it can come with its issues too. If you’re not used to budgeting, keeping on top of your finances can be a struggle. What if your rental home doesn’t come up to scratch or you can’t get on with your housemates?
While the news is full of statistics about increasing numbers of young people opting to live with their parents, for many the impulse to strike out on their own is still strong. Whether it’s going to university, relocating for a job or moving in with a partner – there comes a time when most of us decide, or need, to fly the nest.
The key to making your first house move a smooth and happy one is in the planning and preparation. We’ve helped plenty of young Londoners find their first home, and from our experience these are the things you need to think about before you start.
Get the timing right
Moving out is a major life event so don’t rush your decision – make sure this is the right time for you.
You may need to move because of problems in your family relationship, a job out of the area or a difficult commute. But if you’re moving to gain more independence, think carefully about the costs involved – are you in a position to support yourself financially? Can you afford the rent and everything else on top?
Renting is expensive and, if your aspiration is to buy a place, you will save more money for your deposit by staying put.
Take control of your finances?
Living on your own for the first time will mean major expense. You’ll be managing your finances too, and it’s vital you get off to a good start by living within your means – otherwise you’ll be saddled with debt from a young age.
If you’ve never had to do so before, now is the time to start budgeting. You need to prioritise your rent, utility bills and other essentials, while resisting the temptation to use credit to help you get by.
Begin by making a list of all your outgoings and your income. Pull together a weekly and monthly budget for yourself, including your rent, bills, travel and any additional living costs. This may seem like a boring process. But one of the best ways to save money is to keep track of every penny that you spend – there are plenty of apps to help you do it.
Decide what you’ll need for your new home
This can be the really fun bit. Your head is probably full of ideas for getting your new place just right, but don’t break the bank! If you’re renting, a furnished property might be the easiest option at this stage, but you may still need to buy the basics including crockery, kitchen utensils, bedding and towels.
While buying Instagram-worthy items for your new home is appealing, avoid the temptation to overspend. Ask around family members and ‘borrow’ what you can. Supermarkets and department stores do budget ranges aimed at first-time students or try charity shops, that stock homeware, for some real bargains.
Start your property search
Before looking at properties, be methodical in setting out your criteria for the search. Do you need a parking space, or should your home be close to a bus stop or train station? How many bedrooms do you need? Is access to a garden important to you? Would a furnished or unfurnished property best suit your needs? Be honest about the maximum rent you can afford to pay including bills and stick to it. Make a shortlist and view any properties you are interested in.
If the right place comes up, you don’t want to wait around. Your prospective landlord or letting agent will need to assess your suitability for renting the property. As you don’t have a previous landlord to provide references, they may request these from your employer and a personal referee. You will have to provide your bank statements, plus the details of your employment and salary. As a new renter, you may also need a guarantor.
Rather than rushing to assemble this information when asked for it, get everything together before searching for your home. You will give a better impression if you appear organised and well-informed.
House hunt like a pro
When you visit properties, think carefully about their potential benefits and shortcomings. Don’t just wander around vaguely taking in the atmosphere – check the place carefully:
- Test the phone signal and ask for the wifi code to check this too.
- Flush to loo to make sure it’s working and run taps to check the water pressure.
- Look for signs of damp and mould – especially in bedrooms and bathrooms – are there patches on the walls or a smell of mildew?
- Look too for mouse droppings or other signs of pests.
- Check the white goods and appliances – are they clean and working – do they light up if switched on.
- Check there are smoke alarms on all floors and a carbon monoxide alarm if there are gas or solid fuel appliances.
And ask questions:
- How much is the monthly rent?
- When does the tenancy start?
- What is included in the rent, what additional bills will you be responsible for and how much are they likely to be?
- How much is the security deposit and where will it be protected?
- Are there fees if you renew the tenancy in the future?
- How long is the contract?
- What notice period is required?
- Who should be contacted in the case of an emergency – are they local?
- What insurance does the landlord have and what do you need to arrange?
- Are there any duties you need to perform – maintaining the garden, for example?
Get ready to embrace the chores
Moving out means a big adjustment. You’ll be running a home, shopping and cooking for yourself as well as doing your laundry and keeping the place clean. If you don’t know how, you’ll find plenty of tips and life hacks on Instagram and YouTube.
Get in the habit of meal planning for the week ahead – it will stop you resorting to costly takeaways or impulse buys. Make lists of your favourite meals and simple midweek staples – invest in some easy-to-follow cookbooks too.
Whether you are living in shared accommodation or on your own, you need to keep on top of the housework to maintain a pleasant environment and comply with your tenancy agreement. Avoid too many arguments in shared houses by drawing up a rota stating who will do what.
Have an emotional safety net
Moving out can be overwhelming, so it’s important to have a good support network. If you’re used to having family around you, you’re bound to have the odd day when you’re feeling lonely.
Make sure you reach out to your friends, family and colleagues. Even if you’re feeling fine, keep in touch with your family by calling regularly. Now could be a good time to take up a new hobby or enrol on a course – to learn new skills and meet new people.
Can we help?
If you’re looking for a place to rent, we’d be happy to offer you more advice you and show you our selection of rental properties – please get in touch today.