How to Move Out of Home Into Your First Apartment

Опубликовал Admin
29-09-2018, 16:00
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Moving into your first apartment is an exciting milestone, but it can also feel scary and overwhelming. However, with a little patience, preparation, and help from family and friends, you can make this transition a successful and rewarding one. Give yourself as much time as possible to find a place that suits your needs and fits your budget. Take care of signing all the appropriate paperwork, getting your utilities set up, and preparing your new apartment for move-in. Finally, you’ll need to pack up and move your stuff in—and get any necessities that you don’t already have to make your new home complete.

Finding an Apartment

  1. Examine your budget to determine a price range. The first step to moving into your own place is figuring out what you can afford. If you have a job lined up, look at how much you’ll be making and compare it with your expected expenses. Figure out how much you can afford to spend on rent and still have money to spare for other things.
    • Keep in mind that you may need to save a little extra money for the initial move. You’ll probably need to pay a security deposit and other fees before you move in, and you may also need to pay for a moving van or a professional moving service.
    • Some apartments have income requirements for their tenants (e.g., you must earn 3 times the cost of rent each month). If you can’t meet those income requirements, you might be able to get around them by using a cosigner.
    • In addition to rent, common living expenses include transportation costs (e.g., gas and car maintenance), groceries and dining, home utilities (e.g., water, electricity, gas, Internet, and TV), and your phone bill. You may also have other expenses, such as student loan payments or credit card payments.
  2. Make a list of qualities you want in an apartment. Not all apartments are created equal. Before you start apartment hunting, think about your needs, and make a list of features you really want or need your new home to have. Prioritize the must-haves, and then make a list of features that you want, but don’t necessarily need. Consider things like:
    • The monthly rent payment
    • If the utilities are included in the rent
    • The size of the apartment
    • Which floor the apartment is on
    • If the apartment is furnished
    • If the apartment is pet-friendly
    • Parking availability
    • Building security
    • Amenities (e.g., laundry facilities and common areas)
  3. Figure out what you want from your location. In addition to thinking about the apartment itself, you’ll also need to consider the area where your future apartment is located. Write down a few things you want out of your ideal area or neighborhood.
    • For example, do you need to live relatively close to where you’re working or going to school? Do you want to live near amenities like grocery stores or retail outlets? Do you prefer a more urban setting, or something more secluded? Do you want a place that’s bike friendly or has good public transit?
  4. Determine if you want or need a roommate. Renting with a roommate can make your first apartment much more affordable. You can advertise with a website like Craigslist or Roommates.com, or ask around among your friends to find out if they know anyone in the area looking for a roommate.
    • Make a list of qualities you want or don’t want in a roommate. Figure out if you have any deal-breakers before you invite someone to share your home. For example, you might decide that your roommate must be a non-smoker or must be willing to live with a cat.
  5. Begin searching as far in advance as possible. It can take a long time to find a place that fits your needs, so don’t start apartment hunting at the last minute. Start your search at least a month before you plan to move. This will give you plenty of time to find and secure an apartment, and also to prepare for the actual move.
    • Summer (between May and August) is the busiest time for move-ins, so avoid the summer rush by moving at a different time of the year, if you can.
  6. Check apartment listings in the area where you want to live. Websites like Rent.com and Apartments.com not only list properties for rent, but help you narrow down your options by filtering for things like location, price, size, pet friendliness, and so on. You can also find apartment listings by:
    • Looking at classifieds websites like Craigslist.
    • Checking the classifieds sections in local newspapers.
    • Looking at for-rent flyers on bulletin boards in local community centers, stores, and college campuses.
    • Asking around among friends and acquaintances who live in the area.
  7. Search for online reviews of the property or the management company. Once you’ve narrowed down your search to a few promising options, do some research. Look for reviews written by current or previous tenants on websites like Apartmentratings.com or Apartmentguide.com. If you see a lot of negative reviews for a property, proceed with caution.
  8. Set up a time to view potential apartments. Call the property manager or landlord to make an appointment. Seeing the apartment in person will not only give you an idea of whether you like the place, but can also give you a sense of what the management is like.
    • Bring a list of questions to ask the landlord or property manager (e.g., “Who do I call if something breaks in my apartment?” or “How does trash pickup work?”).
    • If you can, have a chat with another tenant while you’re there. Ask them how they like the place and if they’ve encountered any major problems during their time there.
  9. Review the rules and policies with management. Before you make a firm decision, take some time to make sure you know what you are getting into. Familiarize yourself with the management’s rules and regulations, and also find out about any costs you might be responsible for in addition to rent money. For example, you might ask аbout:
    • Any fees you must pay, such as parking fees, pet fees, or a security deposit
    • What services provided by the management (such as extermination services or repair services)
    • Whether there is an early lease termination policy

Getting Your Apartment Ready for Move-in

  1. Fill out any required paperwork. Before you can move in to a new apartment, you will have to fill out a few forms. You will likely need to submit to a credit check or background check before you can be approved for a lease, and your new landlord might also ask you to supply a list of references. Be prepared to provide supporting documents, such as:
    • Proof of employment or income, such as recent pay stubs or W2 forms. If you are about to start a new job, you may need a letter from your new employer.
    • Your photo ID.
    • Personal references (e.g., from professors or employers).
    • Information about your co-signer, if you have one. This may be necessary if you have poor credit, no credit history, or don’t meet the minimum income requirement for the apartment.
  2. Pay any required fees. Many apartments require a fee for your application and credit check. These fees can be very costly, sometimes running $100 or more in the U.S. If you won’t be moving into your apartment right away, your landlord may also ask you to pay a deposit so they can hold your apartment while you’re getting ready to move in.
    • If you are approved, you may need to pay additional fees, such as a security deposit or pet deposit.
    • Check the laws in your area to make sure the landlord or management company is not charging you illegal fees. For example, in Boston, it is illegal for landlords to charge application fees, credit check fees, finder’s fees, or a fee for holding an apartment.
  3. Sign your lease. Once you’re approved for an apartment, you’ll be given a lease or rental agreement. Before signing, review your lease to make sure you understand the terms. Read the fine print carefully, and bring up any concerns you have with the landlord or property manager.
  4. Do a walk-through with the landlord and note any problems. Doing a walk-through can help you spot any issues that need to be resolved right away. It is also helpful to have a record of any problems that were present before you moved in. That way, you’ll be able to prove to your landlord that you are not responsible for these problems when you move out. Look for issues like:
    • Insufficient safety features (such as smoke detectors and fire extinguishers)
    • Signs of leaky plumbing
    • Damage to appliances or fixtures
    • Doors that don’t close or lock properly
    • Light fixtures or outlets that don’t work
  5. Set up your utilities. Before you move in, contact your local utility companies and set up a time to have your utilities activated. It’s a good idea to do this a few weeks in advance. You may need to be present for some utility hookups, so let the utility companies know when you will be moving in and schedule the hookups at a time when you can be there.
    • Make sure that, at minimum, you will have electricity, water and gas set up at move-in time. Ask your landlord or property manager which companies supply these basic utilities to your apartment building.
    • You will also need to look into setting up Internet, phone lines (if you need a landline), and TV service (if you want it). Ask your landlord for advice, or do an online search for providers that serve your area.
  6. Get your keys. Your landlord or property manager should provide keys on your move-in date. In addition to your apartment key, you may also receive keys for the main entrance, storage areas, laundry room, or other common areas.
    • It’s a good idea to have extra copies of at least your main apartment key and the key that lets you into the building. Go to a locksmith, hardware store, or key-cutting kiosk to get an extra set of keys made. Leave the keys with a friend or family member you trust in case of an emergency.
  7. Clean the apartment, if necessary. Many landlords use cleaning services to prepare apartments for new tenants. These services are not always as thorough as you might like, however. It will be easier to do a deep clean before you move all your stuff in, so take a look around and tidy up any problem areas first.
    • If you’re concerned about pests, talk to your landlord or property manager about fumigating the apartment or bringing in an exterminator before you move in.
  8. File a change of address form with the post office. Once you’re established in your new apartment, you’ll need to make sure that your mail gets sent there instead of to your old address. Go to your postal service’s website and submit a change of address form online, or go to your local post office and pick up a paper form.
    • If your apartment building does not have a secure area for mail delivery, check with your local post office about setting up a P.O. box instead.

Packing and Moving Your Belongings

  1. Go through your belongings and decide what you want to bring. You’ve probably accumulated quite a few possessions over a lifetime in your family home. Take some time to carefully consider what you absolutely need and want to bring to your new apartment.
    • Make a list of items that are essential (e.g., your clothes, your computer, your toiletries, your cell phone charger, and so on).
    • Make a second list of items that you want to bring, and consider whether you will have room for all of them. This might include things like your favorite books, furniture from your old room, and items with sentimental value.
  2. Pack your belongings in sturdy boxes. Packing can be a major pain, so it’s best to start doing it as far in advance as possible. Gather sturdy cardboard boxes to put your belongings in.
    • While you can purchase boxes online or from moving supply stores, there are many places where you can get boxes for free. Try an exchange website like Freecycle.org, or go to a local bookstore, grocery store, or liquor store to see if they have boxes to spare.
    • Try to pack heavier items, like books, in smaller boxes. Otherwise, you might end up with a bunch of boxes that are too heavy to move!
    • You’ll also need packaging tape and padding material (such as bubble wrap, foam peanuts, or wadded-up newspaper).
  3. Label the boxes so you know what’s in them. When you’re packing a bunch of stuff, it can be easy to lose track of what’s in which box. You’ll have a much easier time unpacking and organizing your things when you move in if you label your boxes.
    • Use a permanent marker, like a Sharpie, to label your boxes.
    • You might also find it helpful to number your boxes and keep a packing list. This can help you keep track of your boxes and make sure none of them get lost in the shuffle.
  4. Prepare any large furniture items for transportation. Depending on the size of your furniture and how sturdy it is, some pieces may need special preparation. For example, if you are moving a chest of drawers, consider wrapping it in plastic wrap to protect the chest and keep the drawers in place.
    • Some items may need to be partially disassembled for easier transport and move-in (e.g., you might need to take the legs of your couch to get it through the apartment door). Put any loose parts in a bag, and tape it to the furniture.
    • Wrap any fragile items in moving blankets or furniture pads to protect them from bumps and scratches.
  5. Ask friends or family members to help you move. Moving all your stuff on your own can be extremely difficult. If you can, recruit some family members or a few friends to help you out. If you get friends to help you, you might even offer to pay them a little bit or treat them to dinner afterwards.
    • If you don’t have any friends or family who can help you, consider hiring professional movers. Be sure to do your research and read online reviews of any companies you are considering, so that you know they are trustworthy.
  6. Transport your belongings to your new apartment. Rent a moving van, if necessary. Even if you don’t have a lot of stuff, you might find it hard to fit it all into the family car. Renting a van or truck can be especially helpful if you’re moving long-distance and can’t make multiple trips to bring over all your belongings.
    • Search online for truck rental companies in your area, and read up on their terms and prices. Look for online reviews to determine if the company is reliable and trustworthy.
    • When you rent the truck, speak with the rental agent to make sure you understand all rental requirements, including when and how to return the vehicle when you are done.
  7. Move boxes into the rooms where the contents belong. Once you’ve gotten your belongings to the new apartment, put the boxes into the appropriate rooms. This will make the unpacking process much easier.
    • For example, move any boxes containing dishes, food, or cooking supplies into the kitchen. Put your bed linens and clothing in the bedroom.
  8. Make a list of items you need, but don’t already have. If you’re moving into your first apartment, you’ll likely need to buy quite a few necessities. Go through your new apartment room by room, and try to think of everything that you will need for each room. These might include things like:
    • Major furniture items, such as a bed, a couch or futon, a dining table and chairs, and a desk.
    • Smaller necessities, such as shower curtains and curtain liners for the bathroom, dishes and small appliances for your kitchen, and a closet organizer for your bedroom.
    • Cleaning supplies, such as a vacuum cleaner, broom and dustpan, mop and bucket, sponges, and soaps and detergents.
    • Hygiene basics, like towels, bath soap, hand soap, toothbrush and toothpaste, and toilet paper.
  9. Save money by buying items second-hand. When you’re moving into an apartment for the first time, your budget may already be stretched thin. Consider getting some of your necessities second-hand while you get established—you can always replace them with new items later.
    • Check local thrift stores or browse on websites like Craigslist or the Facebook marketplace for used furniture and other must-haves.
    • You can also look for yard sale flyers in your new neighborhood.
    • Your parents might also be able to pass along some items they don’t want or need anymore.

Tips

  • Consider renting a house or a room in a house. Depending on where you will be living, you may find it more cost-effective to rent a house or room from a private landlord rather than renting an apartment from a large property management company. Check Craigslist or other classifieds for your area, and compare rental prices and amenities between houses and apartments in the area.
  • Make sure to bring a few essentials with you to have on hand during the move-in process, such as toilet paper, soap, your toothbrush and other basic toiletries, some snacks and water, and a light source.

Things You’ll Need

Finding an Apartment

  • A breakdown of your budget
  • A list of things you want and need in a new apartment
  • A list of questions to ask prospective landlords

Getting Your Apartment Ready for Move-in

  • Any required application documents (such as proof of income and photo ID)
  • A list of references
  • Money for your security deposit, first month’s rent, and any other fees
  • A lease for your new apartment
  • Apartment keys (originals and copies)
  • A change of address form
  • A record of any problems with the apartment at move-in

Packing and Moving Your Belongings

  • A list of items you want to move
  • A list of items you need to get
  • Boxes
  • Packaging tape
  • Padding material
  • Permanent markers
  • A packing list
  • People to help you move
  • A vehicle for moving your belongings
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