Your Life

Planning to leave the nest this year? Here are 4 tips for first-time renters

- January 5, 2022 3 MIN READ
First-time renters tips

Moving out of home is an exciting time, but first-time renters need all the advice they can get.

By Nicole Manthorpe, Marketing Programs Manager at Sorted Services

Moving out of home for the first time is exciting. Not only is it a great chance to welcome new freedom into your life, but it’s an opportunity to have your own space.

While it can be easy to get carried away dreaming about what life will be like in your new humble abode, it’s important to remember that it does come with a new set of responsibilities. Yep, organising more than just roommates and furniture.

Contrary to what you see in the movies, the moving process starts long before moving day. To assist first-time renters, here are four tips that should help things run a little bit smoother.

1. Prepare your rental application

Preparing a flawless rental application is the key to securing your first rental. It’s a competitive environment, so you want to make sure you have everything in order.

To help strengthen your application you will need correct documentation including pay slips, proof of employment, references and photo identification.

Being first-time renters can be tricky when it comes to references, because ideally you will want a previous rental provider or property manager to provide you with a great recommendation.

Follow this recipe for a successful rental application

And what do you do if you have no references? That’s where your boss, colleague or neighbour can come in handy.

Alternatively there is an option to put a parent’s name on the application, they become what is called your ‘guarantor’. As guarantor, they agree to pay your debt in the event that you can’t afford rental payments.

Note: Getting your head around the basic terms and jargon is important, as discussions with rental providers and property managers can be confusing if you don’t understand what they are referring to. Some good terms to start with include ‘bond’, ‘rental agreement’ and ‘condition report’.

2. Inspect the property before you move in

It’s crucial to inspect the property before you move in, as it’s a good time to scope the place out and take mental notes of your non-negotiables.

Does your new rental have the air conditioning unit you were after? What about natural light? Or even that extra room for a work space? Is it in the right area and has the facilities that you want?

Make sure you take your time to inspect more than one property. This will allow you to reflect on your options and weigh up the pros and cons related to each.

Some of the more obvious cons to be aware of include whether there is harmful black mould in the property; if the property has been maintained according to rental standards; and if the safe structure is waterproof.

If needed, it might be a good idea to bring a professional along with you to ensure it’s up to scratch. Even an older sibling, friend or parent who has had prior experience with rental properties.

3. Know how to budget

Being a first-time renter can be financially daunting. It’s no wonder, with  median weekly rent costing Victorians approximately $390.00 per week and $480 across NSW. It’s even more expensive in GMRs (Greater Metropolitan Regions like Melbourne and Sydney).

Organisation and budgeting will be your best friends to combat your financial rental woes, and it’s best to get started as early as possible.

Before you even step foot in your new rental, you should already know how much you’ll need to allocate for monthly obligations (including rent, household bills etc), emergencies and “fun money”.

It’s also important to be cautious of some of the once-off costs associated with renting. These include things like the bond, paying up to four weeks of rent in advance, utilities connections, removalist’s fees, and, in some cases, parking permits.

4. Set up utilities prior to moving in

There’s nothing worse than finally unlocking the doors to your new rental, only to realise you can’t shower, charge your phone or drink the water. All because you forgot to get the utilities set up.

Connecting utilities in advance will help make the transition from your current home to new home easy.

A general rule of thumb:

  • You will need to contact an electricity and gas retailer in the area to select a plan which is suitable for your household

  • Get your internet organised in advance, as in most cases a technician will need to be booked in to come onsite to activate your service

  • Ask your property manager to request your water connection to be turned on at least one day before moving in to ensure there is enough water when you arrive.

Or alternatively, you could use a platform like Sorted Services, an easy-to-use app which can help you connect your home services and manage your household needs, all-in-one place.

For first-time renters, moving out is a process that requires patience and time. Everything is new and there is a lot to learn. Nevertheless if you educate yourself, become familiar with your rights and get organised, the transition will be smooth and you’ll enjoy the process. Not to mention your newfound freedom!