Deciding on a Place to Live

When you're a overseas/interstate student - there might come a time you might have to move - be it by your choice or otherwise (like me), and then you have to look for a place to live. However - if you're a student - your choices might not seem too obvious. I'll be talking mostly about my situation - so no general examples. Usually - you've already decided on the location you want to live in, or the proximity to the university you want to live in. So what considerations might you have?

1. Rent - The most important of all considerations. This is ultimately the base number you are going to be paying every month - and hence the number you will want to adjust to other considerations.

2. Bills - How much of the bills are included in the rent? Is water included? Is gas included? Is electricity included?

3. Furnished status - if you're not a student, there's no question - you want the place unfurnished. Otherwise, you'd probably have a choice to make. If it's furnished - you'll want to see what you get. Do you get a microwave? What about the size of the fridge? And the bed? Are there enough tables and chairs - or will you need to supplement it?

4. Size of the place - higher rent usually means more space - but remember that while you will be willing to pay more for more space - the landlord/agent is sometimes annoying - and intends to mislead you into paying more for less space. Careful.

What haven't I put here? There are a lot of other non-student assumptions, but let's say you are a student. That usually means - you don't need a car parking space, you don't care too much about your Internet service, you don't need a phone and you have to do laundry (LOL if you don't). I've searched for places at least twice now - and I usually found myself having to compared non-equivalent place.

I have furniture - but I believe here's rule number 1 - it's a sunk cost. Don't care about it. If it will cost you more to continue using your own furniture, give up on it. It's just not worth it to care about it. Not to say you shouldn't care - my cost of moving into a place that's unfurnished is smaller since I have furniture. If the place ends up being $200 a month more expensive just because you want to use your old furniture (which could happen if you have to move from a shared to a single bedroom/studio), it does build steadily - and in a year, that $2400 could've bought you a whole new set of furniture and appliances - so don't fall for sunk cost - since absolute cost does matter. Getting attached to your $800 bed doesn't help you. I've used it for more than a year - so it cost me $15 a week, or $2 a day if I were to just count the year I used it - yes I didn't use it the whole year - but I pay for the apartment then too - we want a comparable measure. If I were to spread it over the 17 months I have paid for the apartment - then I would have paid roughly $11 a week and about $1.60 a day.

$1.60 a day for good sleep is hardly anything to complain about - anyway - back to a benchmark. As my benchmark - I decided to take all my furniture and appliances with zero salvage value after one year. This means dividing everything into weekly expenditure so that I can get a value represents (in my benchmark) how much I actually paid to live this place.

While you can argue that furniture and appliances do last longer than year, remember that I'm not moving out by choice. It's a loss I already accepted a long time ago. So, using all this (the amount I paid for stuff and dividing it by weeks - we have a cost closer to - $27pw. Hold your horses! This includes shared value in a laundry - readjusting this value gives me $21pw. How much do I actually value a personal laundry facility though - $9 a week (I won't explain how I got to this number - but let's say that's roughly how much it would cost me in a laundromat). It doesn't matter - what this number is - since I am completely ignoring it in my adjustment.

My place is underpriced market wise. That means that as long as I choose to move to a similar/equivalent place - my rent will increase - by a lot. I can't be doing analysis by using my current place as a benchmark since I can't stay in my current place. Know your options well - and never ever compare to an option you don't have.

Some people derive utility from just having a housemate. I don't. I derived utility when kl was my housemate - but not with my current one. Having a housemate almost automatically removes utility I gain from privacy - so in this case my current housemate gives me a disutility from having him around. (No offence to him, of course, it's just that an extra presence causes that.)

OK - enough with the rants - it's time to look at number.

My share of the rent: $190pw Furniture + applicances: $21pw

So that makes: $220pw

I ignore internet costs/gain - because even if I am a geek - internet doesn't matter that much as I'm still a student. I don't play games online, and even if I'm a heavy downloader, I don't need to download all that much.

OK - so moving to College Square Swanston (at $260pw) will actually cost me $40 more per week than accomodation cost me last year the $3 is from an adjustment for laundry. I went to inspect a significantly smaller studio unit at Unilodge@740 for which the asking price was $275pw. This will cost me $46 more a week (minus $9 for laundry). Well being both smaller and more expensive - I would be insane to say that this is superior - even if it comes with internal laundry.

And then we have Arrow on Swanston. The last time I e-mailed them about a studio - they wanted to rent one to me one was available only until 30th Sept - for $316pw. However - note this includes utilites of $50 so let's adjust that downwards - so the rent is $266pw. So moving here - would cost me... *you guessed it* $46 more per week.

Currently - the most dominating option would be to - move out with my housemate. There are problems with this though - I am willing to pay more to live alone - not otherwise. Rental has gone up crazily - and a good 2 bedroom (should you be able to find one) will likely cost you $450pw. That means that my cost will increase (on an absolute level) by merely $35 per week!

On another note, the absolute increase in cost should I move to CS Swanston is $70 pw. Hardly cheap - however, it's not expensive - especially if you were without furniture to begin with. As for me - I'll keep looking.

NOT. My landlord has agreed to have me stay until the end of my university term. YAY!!!