Welcome to our new series – Moving House (when you fucking hate housework)!
Due to a series of impulsive life choices caused by being in my mid-twenties, I’ve found myself in the unfortunate position of moving house 4 times in the last 2 years. The entire process is tedious and makes me want to throw myself out of my fourth-floor apartment window rather than do it all over again. But my pain is your gain, because now you get to read 15 posts full of tips on how to do it with a little fuss as possible.
Let’s start with Part 1: Finding your new home.
IDENTIFY YOUR NEEDS
The very first thing you should do is figure out what your absolute no-compromise requirements are for your home. For some people, that might be the number of bedrooms. For others, it could be within a 10km radius from their workplace. For me, it’s an undercover parking space, no shower curtains, and a gas cooktop. For my boyfriend, it’s a bathtub (being British, he still hasn’t quite cottoned on to the fact that it’s usually too hot here in Australia to take a bath).
Next, identify the things that you would prefer, but would be happy to compromise on for the sake of your dealbreakers or budget. For example, I’d prefer two bedrooms but I’d be happy with one. I’m also cool with living a bit further away from work if it means getting more bang for my buck.
HOP ON TO THE INTERNET
Apparently in the good old days, the only way to look for properties was to open up the paper at 6am on a Saturday morning, circle all the listings with vague descriptions that may or may not meet your requirements, frantically drive to all of them and be crushingly disappointed by how awful they all are. Luckily for us, we have the luxury of the internet!
The two most commonly used websites are Domain and Realestate. Personally, I prefer Realestate. I just find it more user-friendly, and I prefer their Saved Properties feature, which will become your new best friend. Find a listing you like the look of? Save it to your Saved Properties list, and you can compare all your shortlisted houses in one place. It also puts them all into a handy timeline sorted by inspection time.
Here are a few tips to see through some of the tricks used by agents (keeping in mind YMMV):
- If there are no photos of the interior, it’s probably awful
- ‘Parking space’ ≠ undercover or secure parking
- ‘Cosy’ usually means tiny
- If it doesn’t list internal laundry, it’s probably shared
- ‘Location Location Location!’ usually means it’s a garbage heap and it’s proximity to useful things is it’s only redeeming feature
- ‘Immaculate’ usually means an old, gross building that’s been repainted recently
SIGN UP FOR ALERTS
I don’t think I even need to say this, but take advantage of search filters based on your dealbreakers. You can choose the number of bedrooms, car spaces, maximum price, and even pet-friendliness. Once you’ve done that, you can sign up for alerts that will send you an email whenever something that matches your search criteria is listed. It’ll save you a heap of time because you won’t need to keep searching every few days, and you won’t miss anything new.
COMPARE YOUR SHORTLIST
If you want to take things a step further, you can use a spreadsheet to compare features and notes of properties you like the look of. This makes it easier when it comes to decision time, and you can jot notes down as you go to each inspection as well.
For your home-searching convenience, here is a printable spreadsheet, ready to use! Fill in the blank boxes at the top with the features you want, and just put a tick in each row underneath as needed. Some examples are:
- Bike Parking
- Gas Cooking
- Storage Cage
- Internal Laundry
- Commute time to work
- North Facing
- Space for our TARDIS
It also includes an inspection planner, which will come in handy for Part 2: Attending Inspections.