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4 things to know if you’re moving out of home for the first time

By George Hadgelias

Setting up a home for the first time is bound to come with a bit of trial and error.

For newbies taking the plunge, we’ve rounded up a few sage pieces of advice from those who’ve been down this road before.

How to set up your utilities

If you’re establishing a new home, you need to establish connections and accounts with energy suppliers (electricity and/or gas), as well as water companies.

Firstly, check your lease to see if your landlord has kindly offered to pay for any of the above. If not, you’ll have to sort it out yourself.

“When I first moved out, I didn’t even know there were different plans or providers or any of that — I just picked the same company my parents used,” admits Jessica, who has rented in multiple Australian cities over 10 years. “Now, I know to seek out the cheapest plan and also to ‘bargain’ for better deals. I also look carefully for hidden connection or disconnection fees in the terms.”

Also, consider contract lengths, plan types and ethics (such as green energy options) when choosing a provider. To make it easy, consider comparison sites, like Canstar or Choice.

When it comes to arranging the connection, you can usually organise this online — just don’t leave it to the last minute and be left without electricity.

“The last time I did it, I just made an account online and I think it was connected the next day,” Jessica confirms.

Step 1 – Check what service is available at your address

How to set up your internet

When it comes to internet, the process is much easier. For example with Optus, depending on the your home’s serviceability, you may be able to forego modems and opt for a 5G plug and play option, giving you fast internet you can set-up online without the need for any technicians. 5G is currently available in selected areas — check your accessibility here. Of course, nbn is also available — check what service is available at your address here.

Just make sure you get the right speed and and download capacity to cater to your entire household.

Take lots of photos before you move in

When you sign a lease, you’ll be given a document called a condition report to review before you sign. This should feature a number of images and descriptions provided by your real estate agent or landlord that document the condition of the property.

Before you move everything in, go through your new home and review each room and write down any issues. Make sure you take photos of every nook and cranny. That way, when you leave, you have proof you weren’t responsible for any damage that could jeopardise the return of your bond.

“If you think you’ve taken enough photos of a room, go back and take 10 more,” Jessica says. “You can never have too many. I always find I’ve not noticed things when moving in that I want to check later on. You need photos to back you up.”

How to handle the cleaning

Most housemate tensions will arise over cleaning or noise. One veteran tenant recommends a combined approach of cleaning up after yourself, but also being a little flexible.

“I only share with my partner now and, even then, there are just days when one person drops the ball and leaves dishes in the sink or hasn’t taken the bins out in a while,” renter Dave, 35, tells “So, my main advice would be to clean up after yourself — and quickly — but also be a little understanding because we all have our moments.”

Jessica takes a slightly different approach.

“My aunty once told me to think about what an hour of my time is worth and then consider if you’d actually come out better off by paying someone else,” she says. “If there’s a few of you in a share house, it could be worth everyone’s time and money to just pay for a professional clean every now and then.”

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