Saying goodbye to Mum and Dad? What you need to know for your first share house

Here's what you should know and consider before you move out for the first time

Here's what you should know and consider before you move out for the first time Photo: Getty

When it comes to those life-changing, coming-of-age moments, they don’t get much bigger than moving out of home.

Unpacking your stuff at that newly formed share house with old or soon-to-be new friends – that’s when you know you’ve truly stepped into adulthood.

It’s an exciting time – but it can also be very daunting.

Here are some tips to make share house living a breeze – so you don’t end up back at Mum and Dad’s with your tail between your legs.

Finding a house

Established share house or create your own? 

Moving into an established home means you don’t have to worry about applying to a real estate agent, just impressing your potential housemates when you meet them. Creating your own share house is more work, but you have more say in where you live, which room is yours, and who you live with.

Living with mates is usually great, though it can end in disaster. Like traveling with someone for the first time, you quickly learn that even your best friends can get on your nerves, which is something to keep in mind.

Picking your digs

It’s easy to get swept up in the moment when you’re checking out a place. Stories of people signing leases before realising one of the bedrooms doesn’t have a window sound ridiculous – but it does happen.

Some obvious things to check are: the water pressure, is there mould/damp, sunlight/windows, the amount of storage space, heating/cooling etc. Don’t be afraid to take notes. Things that seem minor at first, like poor water pressure (no one likes a bad shower), can be infuriating after a few months.

Choose wisely so you don't spend the rest of your leasing period full of regrets

Choose wisely so you don’t spend the rest of your leasing period full of regrets.

And the money question

All housemates should know exactly how much they can pay each week – if you have doubts, you might want to reconsider. And get everyone to sign the lease so you all have the same legal rights.

You’ve moved in … now what?

Aside from throwing a killer housewarming party, there are a few share housey things you need to sort out:

Keeping things clean

“The only thing worse than cleaning? Someone who doesn’t do their share of the cleaning,” said anyone who has lived in a share house, ever. The nerdy but effective thing to do is create a roster, make sure it’s fair, and that everyone follows it. If someone’s not pulling their weight, a gentle reminder usually does the trick. It’s certainly better than saying nothing for months, until it’s late on a Friday night and you’ve had a few wines and you just can’t take it anymore. That won’t end well.

Start a kitty

A great way to be sure there’s cash on hand for those little things you don’t notice until they’ve run out. Like lightbulbs. And toilet paper. Just get everyone to chip in a few dollars every week.

Bills – make sure you can pay them

Obviously, you should budget. It doesn’t matter if you use an app or just keep a rough mental guide in your head, you don’t want to be reaching behind the sofa for some coins to gather enough to pay rent.

Keep tabs on your bills so you're not out of pocket when they're due

Keep tabs on your bills so you’re not out of pocket when they’re due.

You’ll have to pay your share of the rent (usually monthly), gas, electricity and water (usually every three months), and internet (usually monthly). You should split these evenly, unless one person’s consumption is way out of proportion to everyone else’s.

And the bills we all forget about

Make sure you know when big semi-regular bills are due. You don’t want to live off packet noodles for a month because the bill for your car rego arrived at the worst possible time.

Also give your super a check. It’s an easy thing to forget about, but as far as adulting goes, it’s a pretty important thing to be on top of. You might like to consolidate your money into one fund, check your balance, or make a voluntary contribution.

Spend time together

You don’t want to be that annoying housemate who is always upset that there isn’t enough time for “group hangs”. You also don’t want to live in a house of strangers. Simple things will cover it, like finding the time to share a beer or a meal together, and stopping for a chat when you walk in the door after work/uni.

Living with your best friends can have it perks

Living with your best friends can have its perks.

If in doubt, ask

Don’t use the last of someone’s toothpaste without asking. Or eat the block of chocolate they bought to enjoy while they watch the final episode of The Bachelorette. In saying that, if you need to, label your food. As with most things, use your common sense. If you’re not sure how they’ll react, ask.


The key to ensuring things run smoothly is to be understanding, compromise, communicate, and to pick your battles. You will get annoyed, mad, even. But the only way to solve issues when they arise is it to talk them out. Do that and share house living should be some of the best years of your life.


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