I just found an incredible new website idea. It works on the idea that people want to share and receive KNOWLEDGE. I love how this is something constructive to do, rather than aimlessly scrolling down Facebook looking at briandead articles. I am excited to teach people around the world about what I know and I am keen to learn things from others!
Make your new home a reflection of the unique you. Whether it be your college dorm or your first apartment, surround yourself in interesting pieces. Try not to replicate a Pottery Barn or Freedom catalogue, create an environment that inspires you to be you. When you travel, keep an eye out for things to bring life to your new place. Unfortunately nowadays, much of what is sold in third world countries are made in China with cheap and breakable materials. The best way to distinguish between Chinese souvenirs and real treasures is to research organisations and schools who sponsor shops and classes to make items in an authentic and traditional way. Not only does this mean that you bring back good quality items for your home, but you also support local workers.
Last year I travelled to South America, and here are some amazing pieces that I brought home with me.
If you’re like me and had to leave a family pet behind, you’ll most likely miss it so much that you’ll have to get one of your own. My family decided to replace me with possibly the cutest golden retriever puppy you have ever seen in your whole entire life. The hardest thing about moving out was leaving my little baby behind. Every day I decide that I need a little puppy of my own… and every day my boyfriend reminds me that our contract strictly states that pets are NOT ALLOWED. So before signing a lease to your perfect first place, come to terms with the fact that there is a high unlikelihood that won’t let you have a puppy. I’m going to leave you with photos of this beam of sunshine – Casper the Golden Retriever…
Whether you want to move out or are forced to, looking for an apartment /house can be quite disheartening as a young person. Unlike fully fledged adults, most young people don’t have past references from realtors or a great credit rating, which makes it difficult for leasers to like you. Realistically, if you owned a lovely apartment and wanted to lease it out, you would most likely choose a smart professional couple over a few unexperienced uni students, right? Well that’s exactly what happens in the real world. This is why you have to be smart about the process. Here are some tips to get ahead when you’re looking for a place:
The moment you start thinking about moving out you should start researching your options. There are so many great real estate websites that you can use to your advantage (realestate.com allhomes.com and domain.com are a few good ones). Take particular note of their suburb guides which give you the low down on average rates and people living there. After looking around, you’ll start to get a sense of whats out there, what you can afford and where you’d like to live. Once you get a feel of whats on the market and what it is you want, sign up to the mailing list of your favourite site and they’ll send you personalised weekly updates on new listings. All of this research will help you distinguish places that are good value for money from those that aren’t.
2. Go to ‘practice’ inspections
Many people think that you should only go to inspections if you are really serious about the place. This is so not the case. You can never rely on just the photos on the website to give you a full taste of the place. In order to get a real sense about what the market holds and what good value for money is, you have to visit some of the places that you research. Inspections are also kind of terrifying, especially if there are over twenty people looking at a place that can only house two. Practicing inspections are a great way to relieve some of those nerves that you get when you are finally at the stage of inspecting a place that you REALLY want. Work out what sort of questions you should be asking the real estate agent and how you can make a good impression by watching others.
3. Narrow it down
Once you have done all your research and practice inspections, its time for you to knuckle down and pick out around five places that you want to be serious about. I say five because the application process can be extensive and any more than five applications at a time is exhausting… you can always do another lot another week if you are unsuccessful. Write down all of their inspection times (they are usually on Saturdays) and make sure you ‘book’ them online.
4. Look the part
This one is pretty self explanatory, but if you are up against older and more responsible people, make sure you at least look like them. I’m not saying you should wear your parents clothes, I’m just saying you should wear something that doesn’t scream ‘I’m a uni student, I’m poor and I like to party.’
5. Make your application stand out
Like any application, you want to stand out from the crowd. You should aim to make your application so great that the leasers want you as a tenant. The income section is usually the downfall for young people because our income isn’t really ideal. So why not turn this to your advantage… put down whatever sort of income you get and any type governmental allowance you have, but also add that your parents give you financial security (ask them first though). Even if you are sure that you can afford this place without your parents, putting their names down gives the leaser peace of mind. Remember that older applicants won’t usually have this kind of back up, so in a way it gives you a little lead.
There is always a section at the end of an application that allows you to upload related documents such as references. Make use of this – if you don’t have a real estate reference, put in a work reference. Add any other personal references or official documents that connote responsibility, such as a scholarship certificate or a university acceptance letter.
I think that the most important part of your application is the final statement. Say something that is loveable and sincere. I remember writing something like ‘your apartment is beautiful and I would love to keep it that way.’ The other important thing to add to the final statement is whether you are willing to add a few dollars to the weekly rent. On my apartment application I noted that I was willing to pay $5 a week more above the asking price. Though its only a small increase, agents and owners always want more money, so a little goes a long way.
6. Bring your application
One way to set you apart from others and to make sure that the real estate agent knows you’re serious, is to pre-fill your application beforehand and bring it to the inspection. Many real estate agents want to lock agreements down as quickly as possible so that they can move on to their next project, so if they have an application ready to go they are at least likely to have a serious think about it. Bringing your application to an inspection also shows the real estate agent that you are organised, responsible and not your average ‘young person.’
7. Make a good impression
When you arrive to the inspection, make sure you introduce yourself confidently to the real estate agent and have a conversation with them. Put all of their attention on you and be memorable (in a good way). Make sure you write your name down with your interest in the place and leave your number and email address.
8. You will find a place
Even if your first round of applications are unsuccessful, don’t loose heart. I was unsuccessful in my first round and devastated because of it. I was also super stressed because time was of the essence and I needed a place to stay. However, I managed to complete a few more applications and in doing so I found a better place than all the others in the first round… and here I am now. If you are continuously unsuccessful it might be time to find a different place in a new suburb, or maybe you should look around gumtree and university apartments. You will find a place, you just need to persist.