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Moving into your first house is a significant milestone in your life, especially if you are moving out from your parents or guardians for the first time. Whether you are moving out to live on your own, with friends or with a significant other, it can feel like an exciting, yet daunting step.
As with all significant changes in life, preparation is key! The whole process of moving into your first house can be made easier and more streamlined if you are more prepared. That’s where this blog post comes in; I will be sharing some ways to prepare for the move. I am actually planning to move into my first house within the next year or two so I am in the process of researching and planning for that myself.
Before writing this post, I had already made a personal list of things I need to do to prepare for moving out. I have used that list as inspiration for this blog post. In the process of writing this post, I also thought of more things to add to my original list! This post is going to be a useful resource for me over the coming months as I prepare for my house move. I hope you will find it useful too!
I must note that this post is coming from the perspective of someone who has not yet moved into my first house and is only in the process of planning it. Therefore I will inevitably omit some advice that I will only learn as I go through the experience. If you have already moved into your first house, please do share any advice you have in the comments below so that my readers can learn from your experience.
How To Prepare for Moving Into Your First House
Decide whether to rent or buy
The idea of buying a house is very appealing to most, as it gives us more freedom over our home. In the past, renting was usually more affordable than buying, however, that has changed in recent years. Renting can still be a good short-term option and you will have fewer maintenance costs to deal with. You’ll need to do a little research into which is the most viable option for you.
Work out a budget
Whether you are buying or renting, you’ll need to work out a budget for what you can afford. If you’re getting a mortgage, you can use an online calculator to work out what house price you can afford, and what your monthly mortgage payments will be. Once you’ve got a budget worked out, it will help narrow down your house search.
Have a clear-out
Reducing the amount of stuff you have will make it easier to pack and move. You don’t have to have a major clear-out all at once; this can be a gradual process. As soon as you know you might be moving out, you can start using up things like toiletries, candles and other consumables that you’ve had for a while. You can take old books, clothes and bric-a-brac to charity shops, sell them or give them away to friends.
Reduce how much stuff you buy
In relation to the last point, reducing how much you buy will make the move easier, because you’ll have less stuff to pack and transport. Try to use what you already own and only buy things you really need. You can always make a wishlist of things you want to buy after you have moved house. Reducing how much you buy will also help you save money, which can go towards your house and future bills!
Find ways to earn more money
If it’s practical to do so, look for ways you can earn more money to go towards your house. Maybe you could get another part-time job or begin a side hustle such as starting a blog or selling things online. I wrote a post about how to earn money as a student. Although that post was aimed at students, the ideas would be relevant for anyone wanting to earn a bit of extra money.
Start looking for houses
It’s a good idea to start looking on Rightmove, Zoopla and other property sites early on. Even if you aren’t in a position to move quite yet, it makes good research. By looking at lots of listings online, you’ll get a feel for what you like, and what you can get for your budget. This will help you later on to spot a good deal or a house with potential. You’ll also get ideas for home decor and interior design.
Research the process of buying or renting a house
If you are moving out for the first time, the process of buying or renting is probably not something you are familiar with. You can learn about all the logistics by reading articles or watching videos online, as well as talking to more experienced friends or family members. This will help you get prepared and know what to expect.
Research into what’s involved in owning or renting a house
As well as the process of buying or renting, there will also be a lot of new and unfamiliar things after you have moved into your new house. There will be bills, taxes, maintenance and other responsibilities that you haven’t been used to dealing with. It’s better to learn about these things now rather than later so you are prepared. Have a chat with family members or friends who have a house so they can enlighten you.
Make a plan for your life after you move
Chances are, your life will look rather different as a result of moving out. You won’t have the same people around you, your location will be different, and your routine will change. This has the potential to be very disorientating! That’s why it’s a good idea to make a plan for how your life will look after you move. This doesn’t have to be set in stone, but you’ll feel more prepared and grounded if you have a plan in mind. Here are some examples of things you can plan:
- What would you like your daily routine to be like? If you were living with your parents or guardians before, chances are your mealtimes, bedtime etc. fit in with theirs. Now you have the opportunity to set your own routine that works best for you.
- How will you fulfil your social needs (if you are living alone) and how will you stay in touch with those you lived with before? For example, will you meet up with your parents every weekend?
- Will you continue attending the same clubs, classes and other activities? Or will you quit some that are now further away? Or join any new ones?
- Would you like your home to be an ‘open house’ where your friends and family are welcome to pop in and visit anytime, or would you like a more private home where you’d expect people to call first? It’s good to get this established early on so you can set the right boundaries.
- Research the area where you’ll be living. What amenities are nearby? Where will you do your shopping? What hairdressers, dentists etc. will you use, or will you keep your old ones?
- Meet your neighbours in advance. If you get the opportunity to do so, introduce yourself to your new neighbours before you move. This can help you to feel more grounded when you first move because you’ll have (hopefully) friendly and familiar people nearby.
Research home decor
What kind of decor would you like in your new house? Planning your home decor can be one of the most enjoyable parts of moving into your first house. If you have space to store things, you can buy furnishings and decor items in advance. Otherwise, get it all planned out anyway so that as soon as you move in you will know what to buy, and you can get your decor in place sooner.
If you need or wish to redecorate your new house, you’ll also need to think about the more permanent decor choices. Do you want solid wood flooring or carpets? Painted walls or wallpaper? What kind of lighting options? These are all things you can plan out in advance.
You can start planning your decor even before you know what house you are getting. You can get an idea of a theme or colour scheme you’d like, and work out the finer details later on.
Pack your belongings
Packing is one of the later things you’ll do before your move, but you can start early with things you rarely use. You can also pack things you’ve bought specially for your new house such as furnishings and home decor because you won’t be needing those before the move. Then you can stack them up in boxes and they won’t take up as much room.
Allow yourself to feel all the emotions
Moving out can be a big deal, especially if it’s the first time you’ve moved out from your parents or guardians. It’s natural that you may feel strong emotions such as sadness, homesickness, worry or fear, but this doesn’t often get talked about. I think that a big part of preparing to move out is to expect and accept these strong emotions and remember it’s a normal reaction to a major change in your life.
You can support yourself mentally through this transition by staying connected to the important people in your life, and keep on doing things that make you feel grounded. This could include meeting for a weekly coffee with friends, going for meals with your family or going for walks in your favourite locations. You are going through a time of change but it’s important to keep some things stable as they will provide a comforting thread from your old life to your new one.
Think about fresh starts
Is there anything you’ve been wanting to let go from your life, but you’ve found it hard to articulate that, or you haven’t wanted to let people down? For example, is there an evening class you go to that you aren’t really enjoying anymore? Moving house is the perfect time for a fresh start because you have a ready-made ‘excuse’ to stop going. Even if you haven’t moved further away, a house move is a genuine upheaval so you have a justifiable excuse for quitting.
Are you moving into your first house soon?
If you’re going to be moving into your first house soon, I’d love to hear about your experience so far. How far along are you with the process? Have you done any or all of the things I mentioned in this blog post? What else would you recommend doing in preparation for the move? Let me know in the comments below. I hope you have found this post helpful and I wish you all the best with your move!