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Monday, 12 March 2012

Finding Share Accommodation (when you’re just about to hit 30)

-By Chelsea

Having a mortgage and starting a Doctorate in a new city means three things.

1. I will have no money,
2. I will have no time; and
3. I will have no friends (although I have faith that this condition will improve)

I am fortunate enough to have a generous boyfriend and enough savings to ensure I am not living on the usual student poverty line. However my love for fine wine and dining will have to be put on hold for three years, which is ironic (or is it unfortunate?) as I am moving to a city which defines fine wine and dining in Australia. At least I don’t have to sacrifice coffee which is like steroids for a student.

In an effort to minimise the sacrifices incurred by my limited budget, I decided to investigate share accommodation. While I had generally had great experiences in share houses, I was far from excited about the thought. At least that was until I found a townhouse in Hawthorn with ‘two mature female professionals.’ I sent off a quick email with a ‘brief description about me’ and an hour later got an excited email back from Leslie* who had four fairly major things in common with me:

1. Was the same age as me,
2. Had moved from Brisbane to Melbourne for Uni,
3. Was attending Deakin, and  
4. Was doing a Doctorate in the same course!
As a good social science student I did the math and worked out that there was a 1 in bazillion chance that my first share house enquiry would go to someone like this. I could not conceive that it was anything less than fate. In one small email I had all my problems solved. The share house was cheap - so I would have more money. I could borrow Leslie’s study notes - so I had more time. Finally we were of course soul sisters - so I had a friend! All I needed to do was win over the flatmate and the place was mine…

Except I forgot to win over the flatmate. When I finally had my ‘phone interview,’ I was so intent on finding out more about my new best friend that I forgot to ask the other flatmate pretty much anything about herself. Ooops. I should have known better, I went to an all girls high school and lesson one of “getting in with the group” was to not make any other girl feel left out. So my last email from Leslie was an apology that her flatmate wanted to go with someone they had met in person, presumably someone who didn’t make her feel like the third wheel in their first conversation. So it turned out that fate was just a coincidence.

Applying for a share house and going to an interview feels like on-line dating and I guess the golden rule of dating applies. If you want someone to like you, make them feel like they are important and interesting. Well I did just make that rule up but it’s pretty hard to dislike a person that makes you feel that way! Happy share house hunting :)

*Leslie was obviously not her real name - no one under the age of 45 is called Leslie (surely?)


  1. Great piece! I hope your hunt works out well (I was so with you on the soul-sister find!)
    I get to see the other end of the interview process, I sit in on my mum's interviews - she takes two students to share her house each year - the ones that impress most are defiantly the ones who engage in some way.

  2. Hope your house situation has worked out Chelsea! It was great hearing your story :)

  3. Thanks for this great share. This site is a fantastic resource. Keep up the great work here at Sprint Connection! Many thanks.