Harry's story - Moving to the city

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Roving Reporter Harry gives us some insight on surviving a big move and keeping your friends.

At the start of year 12, a friend and I decided that when the day came to move from the country to Melbourne, we'd share a house together. We share similar interests and get on like a house on fire so what could go wrong?

Anyway, things changed. I deferred my course to go overseas and he ended up opting out of the sharehouse lifestyle, moving into a one-room bungalow by himself.

Seven months later I was back. A couple of weeks staying at my parents' house was enough to decide that this was not a long-term option. Meanwhile, my mate in the bungalow was beginning to turn stir crazy to the point where he was talking to himself with a sock puppet. So, it was back to the original plan.

The search begins

In our search for a house, we worked out we were after a two-bedroom place located in any one of five suburbs near our unis.

So we drove around to various real estate agents in the target area. A frustrating task as, by the end of the day, we had only inspected two houses while also having the additional inconvenience of having to put up with surly real estate receptionists.

We ended up applying for the second place we looked at: a three-bedroom house which seemed to meet all the criteria (aside from the number of bedrooms). According to our very professional real estate agent, we were chosen from a myriad of keen punters as the preferred tenants for the place. I took Mum along for one final inspection and despite her saying "Harry, I think you can do better than this", we chose the place.

Finding a housemate

Once the ink had dried on the lease agreement, the search for the person to fill the extra room began. We put up notices for the room on telephone poles in the main street, at my friend's uni, on a sharehouse website and also on the house-sharing section of the RMIT website.

The advertisements were fairly successful, apart from the one on the RMIT website, which didn't get any responses.

There were a few would-be housemates who seemed reasonable, intermingled with a couple who were just plain inappropriate. For example, the banker in her mid-thirties who wanted "a bit more social interaction". To be fair to her she seemed as much at odds with the concept as we were.

The prospect of sharing a house with a complete stranger was looking inevitable and grim. Then, as we were narrowing down our house-mate search, I got a call from a friend we've known since year 8. He asked if the room was still on offer. The people we had interviewed for the room were immediately scrapped as possibilities and our mate moved in soon after.

This all happened about three months ago. At the moment my two mates and I still live in the same house. I hadn't thought much about any of this until a few days back when I got a surprise call from some guy.

He wanted to come and check out the room, after spotting our ad on the RMIT website.

Things I learned about looking for a house

  • Be flexible. The spacious five-bedroom mansion with indoor tennis court that's fifty metres from the beach is worth hoping for, but you're unlikely to find it. Your search will become far too frustrating if you have restrictive criteria.
  • Save yourself a bit of time by looking on the net. That way you don't end up travelling to the real estate agencies that have absolutely nothing on offer.
  • Getting the washing machine into the laundry was bloody hard work. Look out for handy features the house already has, i.e., washing machine, fridge, cupboards, toilet plunger, etc...
  • Estate agents are salesmen They're not customer service people. For example, we were told that the chimneys in the house were completely sealed off - a ten-second check would've revealed that this was NOT the case. Assume nothing!

For more information about moving out of home, check out our Housing and accommodation section.