The buzz of excitement and swarm of togas in our university cities at the moment can only mean one thing… students are back!
And with summer (ha!) holidays now a distant memory, it’s time to get studious (or social, we won’t judge). If it’s your first time flatting, you might find the whole situation a bit daunting – after all, there’s a lot to organise once you’re adulting.
But whether you’re a seasoned pro or a first-timer, we’ve got a few do’s and don’ts from our own flatting #CleverFlickers to help you get your flat sorted and ready for the big year ahead.
- Be afraid to venture a little further out of town when you’re flat hunting. Traditionally, the further out you go, the cheaper the rent, even when you factor in public transport costs (or you could just walk – what better way to stave off the fresher five?!).
- Jump the gun and take the first flat you see. And whatever you do, don’t overlook the mould in the corners of each room… it’s a fairly good indicator of a damp, unhealthy house!
- Flat with dickheads, and, if we’re honest, think twice about flatting with your best friend – way too many bestie statuses have been revoked thanks to this mistake. As your Mum said when you first rode your bike with no hands, it’ll all end in tears.
- Get a moving truck; just ask your mates to help you move in. It’s way cheaper (and you can pay them back in beer).
- Leave things until the last minute; get your power and other utilities sorted two weeks in advance if you can. The good news is that Flick can help with this one – just give us a call on 0800 4FLICK and we’ll get your power sorted.
- Sign all the flat accounts under your name, and your name only. If your flatties leave, you’ll be the one lumped with all the bills at the end, and you’ll be legally bound to cover them. Instead, share the accounts around so that you sign up for at least one thing each. Fair’s fair.
- Get locked into a fixed term contract! Read the terms before signing a contract with an internet or power company – especially if a cash offer or sign-up gift is on the cards. Getting locked into a contract for 1 or 2 years can be costly when you’re flatting and home-life is a little more unpredictable.
- Be afraid to speak your mind. If something isn’t working (or someone’s getting under your skin), let them know. In our experience, the longer you leave it, the worse it gets.
- Set a rental budget when you’re searching for a flat. Know how much each of you can spend on rent per week, taking into account travel to and from uni, and work out from that what you can afford to pay.
- Consider individual leases (as opposed to joint leases), especially if you don’t know your flatmates well. That way, you’re all individually accountable for damages and ensuring that the rent is covered. That means that none of you can skip town and leave everyone else to cover your unpaid rent (yeah, those people exist).
- Look into purchasing personal liability insurance and contents insurance. Your folks’ll be impressed!
- Set up a flat bank account – it’s the easiest way to sort rent and pay the collective bills. It’s probably also a good idea to nominate one or two people to keep an eye on the account so if it ever dips into the red, you’ll catch it in time.
- Do the tidy Kiwi thing and set up a list of flat chores. Take turns each week so you can all experience the thrill of cleaning a well-soiled toilet and washing a month’s worth of dishes in one go. Fun.
- Shop around for good internet deals. Be sure to check you’ve got enough data to cover your flat’s usage. And think twice about getting a landline! Most likely, you’ll all have mobile phones, so a landline on top of that is probably an unnecessary expense.
- Same goes for your power – check out Powerswitch to make sure you’re getting the best deal for your area. Once you’ve signed up, double check with your retailer that you’re on the correct User plan for your situation.
- And of course, consider Flick Electric Co.! Unlike most power companies that charge a flat rate, Flick gives you access to the wholesale price of power, which is going up and down all the time. Our clever tools give you visibility into live pricing on the wholesale market, which means you can choose to use electricity when the cost of power is low – nice!
If you want to talk about what this wholesale power thing is, or about signing your flat up with Flick, or about how to deal with that crazy flatmate who’s leaving their sweaty imprint on your couch… give us a call on 0800 4FLICK. Or join online at flickelectric.co.nz. And enjoy! The window of opportunity to leave dirty washing on the kitchen bench for a week, eat copious amounts of noodles, and build the world’s tallest tower of empty beer cans is far too short. Enjoy it while it’s still appropriate.