We all have to leave the parental home at some stage. Some do it later than others, but for most, it happens somewhere between the late teens and the late twenties. Whether you’re moving into a rental share house, your own place or you’re joining the ranks of the owner occupier, moving from place to place and getting set up can be an expensive exercise.
Most of the costs of moving out of home are unavoidable. Electricity and internet set up costs and everyday household items are essential expenses. However, there are a few areas where you can save some money — like getting a mate with a ute, van or truck to help you move your things. A case of beer costs far less than hiring a removalist.
If you’re moving into a share-house, chances are most of the ‘heavy lifting’ has already been done. But nobody wants to live in a share-house forever, and at some stage, you’ll have to get an internet connection in your own name, and purchase a fridge, for example.
This article is written from the perspective of an early twenty something year old who is moving out of their parents house for the first time and into a rental property of their own. As mentioned, share-houses are a different story, most of the time, the utilities, essential services and furniture is already in place, it’s just a matter of splitting the bills between however many people occupy the property.
This guide on the real costs of moving out of home will cover everything from moving and inspection day through to getting your bond back. For people who plan to join the ‘owner occupier’ ranks, most of the expenses we have a look at in this guide are still relevant.
Before you move
When you have an agreement with the real estate agent that you would like to rent the property, the agent will ask you to put down a holding deposit. This is usually one week’s rent.
You’ll have to pay a rental property bond to your real estate agent prior to moving into the property. This can be three or four weeks rent depending on the landlord’s policy.
Depending on the rental agreement made with the real estate agent, you may be required to pay the first fortnight or month upfront when you move into the property. The holding deposit will be subtracted from the upfront amount you’re required to pay.
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Before you move in your should find out whether you’re eligible for any government entitlements. If you’re a student, for instance, the government provides a living away from home allowance and a youth allowance. Centrelink payments can also help you make ends meet if you’re unable to find work while studying.For up to date information about government benefits and entitlements, check the Centrelink Department of Human Services website.
Moving your personal items may require the services of a removalist. Removalists charge by the hour. Prices can vary and you need to pay for two people to come and move your things.
If you have a friend with a van, ute or truck, ask them if they can help for a case of beer or something similar. It’s cheaper this way.
There’s a good chance you won’t be cooking for the first couple of days when you move into your new place. Factor in the cost of takeaway into your budget.
Most rental properties come unfurnished. You’ll need to fill your new space with your things. There’s a lot to remember, so we’ve put together a list of items you probably should have for your new home from day one, and items that you can put off getting till your budget allows.
You should have these items from the first day you move into your new place.
- A fridge. The price will depend on the size, brand and condition, whether it’s new or second hand.
- Furniture. Your table, chairs and couch don’t have to be designer brands, they just have to do the job: give you somewhere to sit and somewhere to eat that is not your bed.
- A bed, linen and pillows. You’ll need somewhere to sleep. A word of advice: sleeping on the floor gets old very quickly.
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Non-essential household items
Aim to get these items as soon as possible after you move into your new home.
- Washer and dryer. Although self-service Laundromats are not that common in Australia, they do exist. You may have to do a little searching though. Keep in mind that it will probably cost you approximately $10 to wash and dry your clothes, dry cleaning services are more expensive. If you plan on being in your home for a while, it’s a good idea to get a washer (at least). Dryers are a different story, harness the power of the sun and use a clothesline instead.
- A wardrobe. This is listed as non-essential, but in reality, you’ll need somewhere to hang and store your clothes. Some places come with built-in-wardrobes, but not all apartments and houses have this. Think about somewhere to put your clothes, you can’t keep them piled up in a corner of your room. A tidy rom is a tidy mind, right?
- Kitchen items. Although not essential, items like a toaster, kettle, pots, pans and cutlery make cooking at home possible. Cooking at home stops you from eating out. It’s nice to eat out from time to time, but it’s expensive. Most second hand stores sell these items for cheap. If you’re not picky about this sort of stuff, you can get a bargain from the Salvation Army and get your entire kitchen fitted out in one trip.
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Once you’ve moved in, you’ll need to consider the following:
Do you have an Internet connection? In most cases, you’ll need to provide proof that you’re a tenant in the property you want to hook up with a connection. The ISP will ask that you fax them a copy of your rental agreement. Keep in mind that if you’re setting up a new internet connection, you’ll have to pay a connection fee. You have to pay for the first month when you set up the connection as well.
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Have you registered with the electricity and gas provider? This is one of the first things you should do. Give the utility company a call and let them know that the rental property has changed hands. They’ll send out a technician to do a read of your electricity, gas and water usage so they can start a fresh agreement with the leaseholder.
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Get your mail redirected to your new place.
Depending on the area you live in, insurance may be something to consider. If you’re living in a neighbourhood where break-ins are not uncommon, home and contents insurance may be a good idea.
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General living expenses
Expect to pay for the following when you move out of home.
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- Mobile phone. Landline telephone are largely becoming redundant, so a mobile is almost a must.
- Food. eating is important, remember to factor in grocery costs to your budget.
- Car. Do you have a car? If so, there’s petrol and registration to think about. You will also need to assess the parking situation on your new street. The last thing anyone needs, or wants is parking fines. Fines from the council for illegally parking are an easy way to blow your budget.
Planning for the future
Remember that the first month after you move out of home is generally the most expensive. Things will settle down in the second and third months. Once you have some of your major costs out of the way, you should have an idea of your genuine month-to-month expenses, and be able to budget accordingly.
If you don’t already have a savings account, it’s a smart idea to get a separate account to your everyday account so you can put some money away from a rainy day. By putting your money in a savings account, you’ll avoid the temptation to spend it. We’ve made it easy for you to compare savings accounts by listing them in the table below.
standard variable rate
Savings account offer
Maximum variable rate of 2.25% p.a. for 4 months, reverting to a rate of 0.8% p.a. p.a. No deposit or withdrawal conditions. Available on balances below $250,000
- Maximum Rate: 2.25% p.a.
- Standard Variable Rate: 0.8% p.a.
- Introductory period: 4 months
- Monthly fees: $0
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If you want to vacate the property when your lease expires, moving out can be just as expensive as moving in. Although you don’t need to purchase your essential household items again, after your first stint out of home, you’re probably moving out with more than what you moved in with. These items need to be moved to your next place.
Anything you want to throw out can be disposed of by calling your local council and arranging for a roadside rubbish pickup. This is a good way to deal with large and bulky items, like an old barbeque. This is a free service from the council.
You also need to have the property in tip top shape if you want to get your bond back from the real estate agent.
The real estate agent will want pretty much every surface in the property cleaned, including the walls and the carpet. You can save money by doing the cleaning yourself (the agent will recommend that you employ the services of a professional). It’s probably a good idea to get a professional cleaner. Real estate agents will always tend to find something that isn’t to their expectations, and they will subtract the cost of cleaning from your rental bond.
The agent will come and do a final inspection on the day your lease is set to end (or around that time). You will need to hand the keys back, and arrange for the return of your rental card.
You will also need to make sure you’ve done the following:
- Cancel your Internet connection. Depending on the type of contract, you may be charged early contract exit fees; however, most ISPs will allow you to end your contract at any time. Make sure to double check the terms of your contract before you sign on the dotted line.
- Redirect your mail. You can call each of the businesses and companies and let them know about your change of address, or call Australia Post and get them to hold your mail and redirect it once you have a new address.
- Speak to the electricity company. You’ll need to get someone from the electricity company to come and do a final reading on your meter. If you don’t you may end up paying for the next tenant’s power and gas.