Are you used to living on your own? Love to have your own little domain with your own little things, all to yourself?
Tough luck if you ever decide to move to Melbourne. Unless you are a millionaire, or willing to spend your life savings on ridiculously over-priced apartments, you will be getting one or even a bunch of housemates.
With rental prices going through the roof in most neighbourhoods surrounding the CBD, so-called “share houses” are all the rage in the popular student and immigrant city of Melbourne.
Platforms for housing search
Advertisements for people looking for homes, homes looking for people, or people looking for people can be found on many different online platforms available to us today. As soon as we got to Melbourne, friends recommended and invited us to use the following popular ones:
- Flatshare & Houseshare page on Gumtree
This website is often recommended for whatever you are looking for in Australia. From second hand cars, to antiques, to a wide range of services, real estate, and even jobs. It can all be found on Gumtree.
- Specific housing group pages on Facebook, such as:
You’ll find that the newly arrived, temporary residents and locals alike can be spotted sending and receiving messages to find their “dream home” or favourite roommates. And if you think you might be (considered) too old to share, think again. I have seen people in all age ranges out there, with the majority being anywhere between 18 and 40 years old.
Finding a home for two
It takes a bit of extra searching, but there is good news for couples!
Even if you are looking to move into a share house with your partner, there is hope of finding something. Something that you will actually like.
I do recommend you to be prepared to receive lots of rejections, but in the end there are some really cool people out there who love spreading the love (a.k.a splitting the bills more ways 😉 ).
Just hang in there, and do not despair!
No need to settle for some ramshackle dilapidated pigsty looking building where tenants have never seen or even heard of social interaction or (personal) hygiene. I promise.
If Will and I did it, so can you.
In fact, we were only looking for about a week before we found our current share shack!
Our search process
Looking for share houses in Melbourne, we probably sent out about 30 messages in total (not counting the immediate “no couple” refusals), visited 3 houses, one of which we really liked (but apparently didn’t like us back), one that was so bare bones that it could even depress the world’s greatest optimist, and one apartment we absolutely loved loved LOVED (but couldn’t afford).
And then we got lucky.
The how of things was, as usual, a bit of a funny story. Or to say the least, quite random.
We had just been rejected by a house we loved in the beautiful suburb of St. Kilda, so out of frustration I sent a message to the vaguest post ever.
The post I dared to apply to
Not expecting to ever hear back from this guy, I had a new Facebook notification within half an hour!
-Him: “What are your plans today?”
-Me: “Ehm… We are going to the Footy this afternoon, but we could drop by after if that’s okay?”
-Him: “Sounds good to me. I’ll be around.”
-Me: “Is it a house or an apartment? Do I need to know a specific bell?”
-Him: “Nah, you’ll be alright. It’s a small house, I’ll hear ya.”
That same night, we went over to ‘inspect’ the room, accepted a cup of tea from one of the tenants, and before we knew it we had spent over an hour talking to each other about everything and nothing at all.
The result: our new living situation
Somehow, we must have made a good impression, because just like that, we had found ourselves a new home in the hip(ster) neighbourhood of Brunswick!
The first item we bought after moving in: a ‘new’ couch… Are you sure you are comfortable enough, mister? 😉
The house is located just above Melbourne Royal Park, connected by both trains and trams, and less than 5km from the heart of the city. I am still amazed to have found such a good deal!
Having housemates: fun or frustrating?
After having been one of those ‘lonely living souls’ for many years myself, I have to say I quite like having some roommates around. Or housemates, I should say. Luckily, the only actual roomie is my boyfriend. 😉
But I’ll be completely honest with you. It took some getting used to.
I am not always ecstatic about beard hairs in the bathroom (all three of my housemates are boys), or endless piles of unwashed dishes in the sink (a bit of a clean freak? Me?).
What I do very much enjoy are the random encounters in the morning or at night. You know, those moments when you spontaneously end up sharing food and thoughts. Funny anecdotes you just have to tell someone. Or the weirdest situation you’ve gotten yourself into.
Even if nothing spectacular is happening for you at the moment, “What are you up to today?” or “How has your day been?” turn out to be quite the conversation starters. Especially with one or our housemates being as ‘chat-happy’ or even chattier than me.
Oh, and did I tell you that our other housemate is a chef in one of the major city hotels?
Life in a share house. The end of an era for me, or I guess the beginning of a new one.
No female touches, no decorative items, no other knick-knacks to clean or polish.
In fact, with four people living in one house, cleaning doesn’t always seem to have much effect at all in common areas… Oh well. It’ll take some practice, but I think I can manage life without cleaning all the time (sorry Mom!).
In fact, I might have already gotten a little too accustomed.
[Is that my coffee cup over there in the sink?] 😉
Sharing a house means sharing the finances, the frustrations, and the fun. And although I never thought I’d share a house again, I am alright with this new situation. At least for a while. Until some day I get my own place again. [A girl can dream ??]
Err… WE get OUR own place. For the FIRST time.
For now, I have only focused on making my own little living room look ‘pretty’. Quite the challenge knowing that everything we own fits into one backpack and one suitcase…
Have you ever lived in a share house?
Even when you were way past your student years?
What is your experience? Love it or hate it, share your stories!