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Accommodation for all stages of life

Liezl Hesketh in Why TheRoomLink 


From Womb to Tomb

Our accommodation choices after we leave home tend to follow a general pattern. We first need student accommodation, then an apartment, a two-bedroomed or three-bedroomed house and finally retirement accommodation.

Student Accommodation

With very little money and a vast number of competing renters, students, who cannot live on campus or whose family home is too far away, often can’t afford to live on their own. They need to be close to university or college, public transport and somewhere they can find a part-time job. One solution is to move in into accommodation with other students and form a ‘digs’ or ‘commune’. Each digs will have its own rules but generally everyone pays an equal amount towards the rent, internet connection, water and electricity, and sometimes food, although this is usually kept separate.

Did You Know?
Although students tend to be rather untidy, the term ‘mess’ has nothing to do with it. It has its origins in thirteenth century England where ‘mess’ meant a portion of food. Soon it came to mean people who ate together outside of a family home environment, and from there, to the place where they ate. It was rapidly adapted into military lingo and now in some countries it means the same as a ‘digs’ or ‘commune’.

The Apartment

With accommodation as tight as it is, and with your first salary not quite matching up to your probable expectations, you might want to consider forming another commune with other single professionals. But if you desperately want to live on your own, you’ll need to find a place that fits your budget.

Speaking of budget, if you haven’t got one already you should put a budget together before you start looking for accommodation. It all depends on the kind of lifestyle you can sustainably afford. So, decide what you need for food, transport, trips to the doctor, and entertainment. Give yourself some wiggle room for emergencies and savings. What’s left is your rent. You may have to make lifestyle changes to afford the place you want. Expect to spend at least 36% of your after-tax salary on accommodation. Living close to work is a good way to save money on transport.

Apartments cover a wide range of styles, from bachelor pads – one room that is bedroom, living room and kitchen, to palatial four-bedroomed penthouse suites that only the rich can afford. Another option is to rent a cottage or granny flat on someone else’s property.

Apartments are not just for students though. They work for any age-group and any marital status. As you climb the corporate ladder and your salary climbs along with you, so can your apartment. Better building, better location, better apartment. Who knows, one day your apartment may have a stunning view of New York’s Central Park!

The First Home

The first thing you need to know about apartments and kids is this; you love your kids, your neighbours don’t. Kids are noisy and need space. A small two-bedroomed home is probably the next step. Even if you’re not planning to have children immediately, being close to the school you’d like them to attend when the time comes, is very useful. Most schools take children who live in the neighbourhood before those who live further away. Although similar to an apartment in some ways, a town house may be an option to consider. Be careful not to rent a home with more bedrooms or space than you really need, unless you’re planning to rent them out. Bunk-beds are a great space saver and young kids generally love to share bedrooms. Depending on circumstances and finances, this could be your family home for many years to come.

That Extra Bedroom or Two

The next move generally happens when the kids are in high school. The number of afternoon activities increases exponentially as they get older, and being close to school makes everyone’s life a little easier. Growing kids also need more room so you may be looking for a home with enough bedrooms for everyone now. An extra bedroom can double as a study, an office or a guest bedroom – or you can rent the extra room out to help pay for those little luxuries.

Retirement Accommodation

Some people hate the idea of a retirement village, but they have a lot going for them if they are well run. The biggest problem is that most people don’t start saving for them when they’re young. The best places are not cheap and they have a waiting list as long as your arm. You need to do your research to find the perfect fit for you. Start by asking the right questions. For example, is frail care included or are there extra charges for that and for any activities held in the community, can you have a pet, can your grandchildren stay over occasionally, is there a community bus service into town etc.

Wherever you are in the circle of life, you need accommodation, TheRoomLink can help you find the perfect match for your lifestyle and your budget – see what’s available on TheRoomLink today.