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Know what you want

Look, we’re sure you’ve probably done this already, but it really pays to have a clear picture of what you want your life to be like after flying the coup.

What type of area do you want to live in? Is proximity to shops, cafes and nightlife your preference, or would you prefer a quiet, secure spot where you can park off-street? Whether you’re planning to rent or buy, different suburbs come with different price-tags, so take this into account.

Try and think about your personality type, and match this to a living situation that will suit you. Do you crave solitude and peace at the end of the day, or do you like the idea of coming home to your housemate’s friendly faces. Living alone usually means you’ll have to shoulder more financial burden in the form of bills/utilities, etc, but it does mean you can keep things simple financially, and aren’t reliant on anyone each fortnight for rent.

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Know how much you'll need

Next, let’s think about the place you’ll be moving into. You’ve probably pictured what it looks like a thousand times, but in these visions, do you rent or own? Here’s the breakdown on each for first timers.

1. Renting

If you’re a first time renter, there’s more reason than ever to proceed with caution. Whether going it alone or moving in with friends, know what’s in your lease before signing. You’ll be asked for a security/bond payment up front, usually equivalent to a month’s rent, so be prepared for this. Providing you look after your new place, you’ll get this deposit back when moving out.

Don’t forget to pay your rent – set up regular deposits within internet or mobile banking, and an email or sms alert can’t hurt to let you know when rent has come out. Automating this process will help with your budgeting, too – you’ll know how much you have to play with after rent.

2. Buying

If you’re planning on moving out into a house you’re buying, there’s a lot more to think about. To get started, you’ll need your deposit, and the more you can save, the less you’ll have to borrow. Take advantage of online calculators to help you determine your ideal deposit amount. You’ll also need to know your borrowing power, to help you get an idea of the property price range you should be looking at – knowing this in advance helps too. Once you’ve got these two down, it’s on to looking for the best home loan to suit your needs.

Oh, and don’t forget some of the additional costs of buying, such as stamp duty, inspection and legal fees, as well as the ongoing maintenance of the property.

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Something you may never have considered before if you’re still living at home is insurance – you’ve probably always been under mum and dad’s cover, right? Have a think about it before you start packing up your room.

First, make sure your valuables are covered with contents insurance – this will look after things like jewellery, laptops, clothing and appliances. If you’re buying your first place, cover your bricks and mortar with home insurance, and if you’re mobile, getting insurance for your car or motorbike can’t hurt either.

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Moving Day

Finally, before the time comes for you to hit the road to greener pastures, there are a few things left to tick off your to-do list.

1. Get moving

So you can fill your new place with cool stuff, shop around for great deals on furniture, homewares and appliances. It doesn’t have to be brand new – everybody starts somewhere. Once done, hire a moving van or removals company for your big day.

2. On the grid

It will be a fairly miserable first night if you haven’t gotten electricity, gas and any phone or data connections hooked up at your new place. Check the meters on the day you move in to avoid bust-ups down the track with previous tenants of your property.

3. Let the world know

Not only should you register your new address with bodies like your insurer, Medicare and the RMS, let your bank know so we can congratulate you. Oh, and then of course, standing proudly at your new front door, it’s selfie time. #newdigs