To share or not to share

29th April, 2017   |    By K   |    4 min read

Moving out can be a crazy time. It’s not just about physically packing up your gear and transferring it to another (sometimes very far) building, but also about majorly readjusting to your life of independence. Even if you have already lived out of home, moving house can mean adjusting to new suburbs, figuring out how everything works…..and then there is the issue of who to live with.

When I finished year 12, I needed to make some decisions. Regardless of what I was planning on doing, all my options involved moving out of home due to the fact that I’m from a rural area. Once I decided to go to university, the next issue was figuring out where to live. Real estate agents, finding housemates, – so many issues. Each housing type has its advantages and disadvantages – while not all are listed here, this list may just give you a couple of ideas that I found I needed to consider when trying to sort out my accommodation (as compiled from a number of sources over the years):


(often privately renting a room in a house with a family that also lives in the house):

often has a more homely feel (particularly if you get along with the family). I found that the people I lived with were often good sounding boards when I needed a good chat at the end of the day, and we developed  great bonds while I lived with them. Boarding may also mean that prices can be negotiated a little more, and you don’t have to deal with real estate agents, landlords etc. Rent and hydro may be included within the board – just talk to the people you are looking at boarding with.
Disadvantages: you may not get along with the family, can potentially be less independent than if sharing a house due to the fact that you have to move into another family’s rules and ways of life.

University (uni) accommodation:

Advantages: can get a full experience of the uni life, due to the fact that you are with other students who understand many of the issues of day to day life. Many are probably similar age, and uni accommodation can be a good way of making new friends. Often don’t have to pay for hydro and electricity as it is included in fees, and internet may also be included in this price (talk to the accommodation services of your uni)
Disadvantages: can get the full experience of the uni life – all the lowlights as well as the highlights. This can be dependent on type of accommodation (e.g. flats vs. individual rooms) as well as the people living within each area. Can also be more expensive than other forms of accommodation – this does vary according to university though.

Private renting (full house)/share housing (rent a room):

Advantages:  you can have more control over the location and type of house than in uni accommodation. If in a private rental, may get to pick who your housemates are. If in private rental, may get more control of common areas such as bathrooms, lounges etc. and have your own set-up (make it more like your house) and rules. Shared housing, you may make new friends with people from different backgrounds etc.
Disadvantages: if sharehousing, may not get to pick housemates – this means you may end up best buddies, or get on each others nerves a little too much… Also, someone usually has to deal with real estate agents, landlords etc. Hydro and electricity often not included in the price, and may need to consider furniture required to deck the place out.
All of the above do vary according to the area/university/people involved/situation, so be sure to check out all of the variables when making decisions. One suggestion that I have had made to me is to try not to share with best buddies – living together for an extended period of time can be totally different from just hanging out day to day, and it’s worth considering whether this friendship is safer without being housemates.

As mentioned earlier, this is not a finite list so be sure to suss out the word of mouth going around, check community bulletin boards, Google the area etc. to make sure you know what you are getting into. Do remember, however, that generally things are finite. While you may be stuck with a neighbour who has that little habit you just can’t stand, the rental lease may be over in 10 months.  Do your research, and have fun exploring!


Also check the related topics:  

Finding and starting work Starting in a new place Managing Money

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