Rad rules for first time renters

illustration of a house and garden

Renting. Your own place. It’s one of the final frontiers of adulthood. But one that people never really tell you much about. There are so many tricky things to look out for, and no real guide to being a grown up to help you through it. So here’s the Sparknotes version of renting like a pro, coming from three years of experience and more than enough domestic disasters.

Take A Deep Breath

No, seriously do it. A lot of things with houses can be fixed; leaky taps, creaky floorboards, flickering lights. But the one thing that never goes away is the smell. If you’re inspecting an empty house and it has a seriously weird smell, trust me when I say that it will never go away. What you need to decide is whether the funky smell is something you can live with, or something that is a deal breaker for you. There are some temporary solutions to the stinky house situation. Leaving all the windows open all the time to create a nice cross breeze is a good start, especially if it’s raining. We all love that rainstormy smell. Plus loading your house up with candles, oil burners, incense, and constantly having cookies in the oven will definitely mask any weird odours. Plus you’ll be left with a steady supply of tasty snacks.

Love Thy Neighbour

This is especially important if you’re living in a unit, or in a street where the houses are really close together. Nothing can spoil the joy of a brand new house like not-so-great neighbours. There are very few things quite as disheartening as learning on your first few nights in your new place that you just signed up to live next to living nightmares for the next year. Although this can be hard to predict ahead of time, pay attention to any arguing or door slamming you hear while you’re there for inspections. Also try to get a peek into their loungeroom to see how they’re living. At the very least, try to make sure none of their windows look directly into yours, so if they turn out to be that bad, you can just hole up in your bedroom until your lease is over.

Mind Over Matter

Most places when you first look at them seem to be hollow, dusty shells. Just a lot of square rooms with a whole lot of nothing inside them. Overall, they seem like pretty drab places to live. Especially if you’re visiting them on a cloudy day. This is where you need a little bit of faith, trust, and pixie dust. Plus a load of imagination. I know everyone says home is where the heart is, but really, home is where all your stuff is. Just imagine how good your new place will look with your book collection, strings of fairy lights, a couple of succulents in the window, and some strategically placed posters that you ripped out of magazines. Plus every house looks a million times better with some sunshine streaming through the window.

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