As you grow up, a lot of things change, and one of the most terrifying—and exciting—changes you will encounter is moving out of your childhood home and into your first apartment. However, if you plan your move carefully and take it step-by-step, there’s no need to be nervous or feel overwhelmed.
To make it even easier, here are some practical tips for your first move!
Finding the Right Place
Once you’ve decided it’s the time to move, start your research. Go online to a secure apartment search website and start browsing all of the options within your budget and desired area. It’s best to first define a clear budget and then come up with an idea of what exactly you’re looking for.
For instance, think of your ideal location, necessary square footage, number of rooms, and any amenities you’d want to have.
At the end of the day, it is always important to prioritize needs over wants. Because this is your first apartment, it’s a great opportunity to learn to be financially responsible, so compromise where necessary so as not to spend too much on housing costs alone.
Make an inspection checklist and, when you visit the rental, rely on the list so you don’t get caught up in the excitement of the moment. Be honest with yourself and filter through the apartments based on what you know you will need.
Signing the Lease
Once you’ve found your perfect apartment, the adult responsibilities will start to come in. The first is signing the lease. You may have heard this many times, but it’s the most important aspect of this agreement: read the lease.
Review it carefully, ask questions to avoid any potential misunderstandings, and ask for clarifications if something is unclear; in a nutshell, make sure you and your landlord are on the same page going into this contract.
This will help prevent any future conflicts and the potential loss of your security deposit.
Packing & Moving
Now that you’re the rightful tenant of an apartment, it’s time to go through your belongings and decide what will come with you and what won’t. Make a list of the essential items you’ll need for your new place and be sure to stick to it.
It’s highly likely that you’ll over- or under-pack and both cases can cause unnecessary stress.
Before moving in, take pictures of your apartment; list the date and make notes where necessary. This will serve as hard proof of the initial condition of the apartment.
The photos will also come in handy when you move out—you’ll have a real picture of the state in which you’re supposed to leave the apartment. It’s better to take more pictures than you think you need.
For the moving process itself, there are many tips and tricks for an easy move, but the bottom line is to pack by room. Place light items in larger boxes and heavier items in smaller boxes, and label everything so you don’t make a mess as you unpack.
When you have everything in your new apartment, don’t hesitate to settle in. If possible, unpack that very day and try to get everything in place. It will help you feel more at home and less stressed about this big undertaking.
Although you’ll be tired, you’ll significantly reduce the chances of creating clutter before you even start living there.
Living in Your First Apartment
Now that you’re living on your own, it’s time to get serious. Sorry, we had to bring it up. This means both enjoying your freedom and becoming responsible. Finance is probably the one area where you’ll need to pay close attention.
Create a budget or use a budgeting app to make sure you know where your money is going. Divide your income into housing costs and necessary expenses, and what is left over—if anything—can be put into savings or spent as you choose.
Being wise about money will definitely pay off in time.
Another issue is how you maintain the condition of the apartment. If you want to change anything, ask your landlord first and get a confirmation in writing.
Try to clean regularly to avoid the hardships of a panic-induced cleaning session before your parents come to visit or when you have to move out.
And, last but not least, don’t forget to have fun. After all, it’s your place and it should feel that way. Add plants, décor, artwork, blankets, and pillows—anything that you feel might help make your new place cozier.
Also, don’t overspend on expensive, trendy items you won’t want in six months.
In most cases, a DIY, vintage piece you borrowed from home or something very close to your heart will look and feel much better than a $100 lamp. After a while—and if you feel like you have the time and money—you can work on the interior design of your rental and start playing with colors and textures; just remember to talk to your landlord before you make any changes to the unit.
Now that you’re all settled into your new home, go and explore. Meet your neighbors, familiarize yourself with the surroundings, and find those little spots filled with local charm. All these things help you feel like you truly belong there.
And most importantly, enjoy your first steps into adulthood!
About the author: Mihaela Buzec is a passionate reader and writer with an affinity for language and linguistics, as well as the latest technological developments. She discovered her passion for real estate at RENTCafé, and you can read more of her articles on their blog.