Living on your own for the first time
The lowdown on your first ever apartment or flat share
Living on your own for the first time
Goodbye childhood home, hello independent living: moving out of home can be exciting, frightening or just plain stressful. Whether you’re moving into your first apartment or a flat share – there’s a lot to look out for, to know and to do.
First of all, you need to think about what you want your future living situation to look like. Of course, this depends on your budget, too, as rent is frequently a financial burden on young people. But not to worry: we’ll explain the costs you need to plan for and where you can economise.
If you’ve got a budget in mind and know your requirements, you can start looking for your first apartment or room in a flat share. Ideally, you should start looking as soon as possible, to avoid unnecessary stress. Homegate will help you look, so you can find somewhere as soon as possible.
Once you’ve signed your rental agreement, you've made real progress. Now you need to think about how you’re going to get your stuff from A to B. When do you need to get started? What do you need for your move? And is it better to use a moving company or go it alone? We’ve got all the answers for you.
Then comes the best part: kitting out your new place. This is when you can finally express yourself and decorate your first apartment or room to suit your taste and your needs. If you’re moving into a flat share, however, it's also about communal living with your flatmates.
Click on each question to find more details in our articles.
It’s settled: you're leaving home. Is a flat share or my own apartment better – and what stuff do I even need? You can already start putting money aside and clearing out your things so you've got less to take with you when you move.
What you need for your first apartment largely depends on your needs and which furniture and items you already have. However, the bare essentials include the following:
- Bedroom: bed including mattress and duvet, wardrobe or clothes rail with clothes hangers, mirror
- Living room: sofa, dining table and chairs
- Kitchen: crockery (plates, cups, glasses, cutlery), pots and pans, cooking utensils, washing-up liquid and sponge
- Bathroom: shower curtain, towels, laundry basket, toilet brush
- Plus: lamps for every room, cleaning materials (cleaning products, cloths, vacuum cleaner, mop), shelves or cupboards for storage
You should organise your internet and TV contract before you move, as connections can take some time. You should also take out household insurance and private liability insurance. You’ll need to change your address and register at your new location, too.
How much your rent will be depends very much on the location. Have a look on Homegate to get an initial idea of rents in your preferred area. Whatever the rental amount, you should have four months’ rent set aside before you move out (first month’s rent + deposit).
There are many different kinds of apartment on the market. Some differ in terms of their construction, such as lofts or maisonette apartments. However, others may vary in terms of their size and number of rooms, such as old and new-build apartments and terrace and garden apartments. There are also penthouse apartments, studios, flats or different types of homes in detached buildings and apartment blocks.
There are many different ways of tackling a clear-out. The most important thing is taking enough time. Either start with a small task like a single drawer or an easy one, like throwing out things you haven't used for ages. You can also clear out categories of stuff instead of rooms.
Looking for a place
Once you've prepared really well, you can start looking for your first home or a suitable flat share. The search can often take quite a while, so you must allow enough time for it. However, with our tips, you’re sure to find a place quickly.
Once you’ve considered the most important criteria for your new home, you can simply start looking at suitable listings on Homegate. It’s even easier with our search alert. This sends suitable offers straight to your inbox each day.
As well as Homegate, there are specific platforms out there dedicated to flat shares, where it’s easy to find rooms in flat shares. Finding something through your friends and acquaintances or social media is also a good idea. Alternatively, you can set up your own flat share and advertise it on the usual platforms.
Which flat share suits me best?
Depending on your living situation and your personality, you’ll have different ideas about what you want from living together with flatmates. Listings usually contain a few details of your potential flatmates, so you can get an idea about whether you’re suited to each other. They usually also say something about how they picture communal living.
Each apartment application contains your extract from the debt collection register and the application form, which you usually receive at the viewing. It’s also worthwhile including a personal letter introducing yourself and expressing your interest in the apartment. You can also include references and proof of your salary or a work contract in your application.
It can be worth your while to take your application documents with you to the apartment viewing, as time is of the essence. It can also be useful to take a checklist with you so you can establish the pros and cons of each home.
What a wonderful feeling: you’ve signed your first rental agreement. But unfortunately, you aren’t quite there yet. Now you need to plan your move. You can get started now and make a few decisions already. After all, good planning saves you all kinds of stress.
You can start planning your move as soon as you've signed your rental agreement. Set a date and take the day off if need be. Decide whether you want to tackle your move with friends and/or family or decide to use a moving company. You should start packing a week before you move.
You should always stock up on enough packing boxes and materials (newspaper, bubble wrap etc.). One box per square metre works as a rule of thumb. If you’re handling your move yourself, you’ll also need a big car or a van you can hire.
As soon as you know you’re going to move, you should draw up a moving budget and start saving. There are plenty of ways to save when you move house: get friends and family on board to help and get used boxes from people you know. If funds are still scarce, you can borrow some from your parents or take out a small loan.
If you’re moving objects like pianos and washing machines, you should hire a moving company, as transporting heavy objects is a difficult and laborious process. Pets should be given a place to retreat and lots of time to adapt during your move. Plants should be packed properly and transported with care.
It’s always worth comparing prices between different moving companies. When checking out quotes, you should always check whether fixed or hourly rates are agreed, whether additional costs such as fuel are included and how insurance is handled during the move.
Making a home
Now you’ve finally got time to make your place nice and cosy. But furnishing a home is quite a business, and not one you can usually do overnight. And once you've set up your home or room, you have to keep it clean, too.
Before you go furniture shopping, you should consider what you actually need and plan what furniture is going where. You can also come up with a colour scheme to guide your furniture purchases. Then you can use your décor to bring your home to life and create accents with indirect lighting.
Consider exactly what you need to fit in your room and what might also go in the communal spaces. If you don’t have much space, multifunctional furniture such as beds with storage space can come in handy. You’ll find inspiration for DIY furnishings on Pinterest.
How often should I clean in a flat share?
You should clean your apartment at least once a week. That includes vacuuming, cleaning the kitchen and bathroom, and dusting and wiping surfaces. The same goes for flat shares. A cleaning rota is an easy way to get organised, so you always know whose turn it is to tackle which chore.
It’s easy to advertise your spare room on Homegate. Alternatively, you can also find a new flatmate among your friends and people you know. Platforms such as wgzimmer.ch or students.ch are designed specifically for rooms in flat shares.
If you terminate your rental agreement early, you need to suggest a new tenant that the other residents agree to. But if you terminate on the agreed date, your fellow tenants need to deal with finding a new flatmate. It works the same as for normal apartments.