In Africa, many believe that a girl should only move out of her parents` house when she is moving into her husband`s house. I am not sure about the genesis of this belief, but I would love to know its history (If you know the why please share in the comment section). I desired to move out of my parents’ home immediately after university, but my finances were at zero and could not sustain me at all. I stayed home until I was financially stable to move into my own space. My mum was so cool about the move and even encouraged me to do it quickly. Though she gave me tons of advise, tips on how to survive while living alone, lock doors and so much more. She also called me often and still does to ensure I am well.
Here are my ten tips for anyone planning to move house:
Plan. Having the idea alone is not enough. I had to know when to shift, where to, how much rent I was willing to pay, etc. When I was certain about these basics, I had to draw up a budget to ease my planning. Usually, landlords/ladies require 3-4 months’ rent for a new tenant. I had to plan around this knowledge, money for the broker(s), and so much more. Plan for the move too and know the cost of truck services or ask friends with cars for help.
Know what you want. What kind of house do you want, one bedroomed, two bedroomed, self-contained? I was very specific about what I wanted, and whenever the broker showed me what I did not want, I would quickly decline. When it looked like the house search was not yielding fruit, I gave it a rest for a whole month. This also worked in my favour because I was not house-hunting in a rush. Eventually, I found the perfect house which matched my desires and dreams.
Purchase essential things now. Do not wait to move to start buying things for your space. Essential things include cups, plates, cutlery, knife, saucepans, mattress, bedsheets, basin, soap, toilet paper, broom, rags, clothes, gas cylinder or charcoal stove or whatever you would use to cook your food, and so much more. I shopped for many of these items months before I moved into my house. I had made a decision not to take anything from my mother’s house so I was starting with nothing and the shopping was crucial. Also, create a list of all that you need and purchase things off of that list. This saves you from impulsive buying of things you don`t need at the moment.
Landlords/ladies (some) tell lies. My landlady promised to fix something in the house, but to this date, it has never been fixed, and I moved on. I found a way of working with what I have. Be ready to work with what you have in case you get a landlord/lady who doesn`t keep their word and all they care about is their rent.
Check your water and yaka bill to ensure there is no outstanding balance. When I moved into my house, the power bill had a debt of over UGX 100,000, and UMEME cut off my power for a week until the landlady fixed it. I had to call her every day for this to be fixed. (PS; We have not yet upgraded to the Yaka metre system) Check also that the house is in good condition. Find out if the windows close properly, sinks are working and nothing is broken, the toilet can flush and the bathroom is to your taste. If anything is out of service, ensure that it is fixed before you move in otherwise, it might never get fixed.
Talk to your neighbours and ask for help. I am the queen of minding my own business, but once in a while, I will greet my neighbours and find out how they are doing. During the lockdown, I made it a point to share some foodstuffs with them. There is no rubbish plan where I live which means, every tenant sorts themselves out. I spoke with a neighbour who had a rubbish plan (rubbish plan= private owned organisation that deals in waste management), and they agreed I contribute to the monthly fee and add my rubbish to theirs. Problem solved.
Have a home budget. By the time month three comes around, you sort of know what must be paid, when, where, and how. Rent is essential because you do not need the landlord/lady on your neck for defaulting. To this, you add: food, electricity and water, toilet paper, soap, sanitary towels, and whatever your essentials look like, have a budget.
Buy in bulk. This tip works wonders. I buy some things in bulk and forget about them, and because I live alone, I monitor how much I have used and know when to restock. When I host people, I do not fumble with shopping because my bulk buys are still intact. I might need to restock on food but that’s about it.
Relax. You have moved. Congratulations!! Do not be under pressure to fill up your house with this gadget and that gadget if you do not have the monies yet. Enjoy what you have, and when money comes in, make purchases for the other things on your list.
Enjoy your space. You pay for it and put in the hard work to make it look good and feel like home to you. I guard my space jealously, and not many people have visited or will visit it. It is my safe space. I have my quality time there. I ENJOY IT.
Have you moved house before, what did you learn? Please share your lessons in the comment section below?