Moving into your first apartment is a huge step – you’re finally leaving home and venturing out in the world by yourself. But moving into your first apartment also takes a lot of work. There are many steps between finding a space and signing a lease. Before you start the search, here are six tips you must know.
1. Leave room in your budget for additional expenses.
(Via Apartment Guide)
The number one problem first-time apartment seekers run into is setting an appropriate budget. Your rent isn’t the only monthly fee you’ll be paying; utilities like electricity, cable/internet and AC are not always included in your rent payments. Not to mention, you’ll still have to pay extra amenities like parking (if a driveway isn’t included). Budgeting is really important before deciding how much rent you can actually afford to pay, so be sure this is the step you tackle first.
2. Think about your commute.
First, you’ll have to decide if you will be driving to work or taking public transportation.
If you’re driving, consider two things: Does your new apartment come with a parking space or driveway? Or will you have to fight for street parking every night? Additionally, do you live in a high-traffic area? Make the drive during rush hour to see if your normally-15-minute commute becomes an hour and a half each morning.
If you’re taking public transportation, is the apartment close to the bus stop or train station? Think about the walk during the worst weather of the year – imagine a snowstorm in the winter – and decide if that walk will work for you.
3. Remember the landlord comes with the apartment.
When you rent an apartment, you can’t choose the landlord. A landlord can be the best thing to happen to a renter or the worst. You’ll want to have someone reliable and trustworthy, so that you know you can count on them to fix problems that arise during your stay, and that you know they won’t try to cheat you.
Before signing on the dotted line, do some research. You can find out if your landlord will be an asset or a handicap by asking for references. Check the internet as well; people leave reviews and comments on a variety of websites you can find by searching the apartment address.
4. Look for small damages upfront.
(Via Apartment Guide)
Another thing to remember is that you’ll be paying a security deposit when renting an apartment. It is part of your renter’s fee to make sure that you don’t damage the apartment while you’re living there, but that doesn’t mean that things don’t happen. Before you move in, check for damages: things like cracks in the wall or floorboard and broken appliances. Document any damages that you find, because otherwise, you may be charged.
5. Get all promises in writing.
(Via US News: Money)
When you’re moving in to a new apartment, it’s not uncommon for your landlord (or realtor) to make promises about things being fixed and/or added. But unless you get all promises in writing, it will be hard to enforce after you move in. Take the time to update your lease with all additional promises, because a signed lease is legally binding.
6. Don’t assume it will be clean.
(Via Apartment Therapy)
By the time you’ve finally found an apartment, checked out the landlord, signed a lease and set a move-in date, you’ll be in a hurry to get into your new place. But there’s one more thing to remember: someone is likely just moving out of the apartment a few days before you move in. A completely clean apartment is very unlikely. Before you start lugging all of your items in, go to your new place, and bring a ton of cleaning supplies. You’ll thank us later!
For more tips on moving, check out our Moving Tips Pinterest board.