Tips for Moving into a First Apartment
Deciding Whether to Use Professionals
Sure, it might be tempting to bribe some friends with pizza and soda to assist you with the move. Saving money by not having to hire professionals is a common desire, but you will need to take an objective point of view in these instances. If you are not going to hire a professional mover then you are going to have to take a closer look at your items.
You must also make sure that family and friends are even able to help. In a perfect world, the assistance of both parties would be combined. We can always use an extra set of hands or two but this is no substitute for the help and experience that a professional moving company has to offer.
Make a Checklist for Items You Have Taken for Granted & Plan Your Budget
In other words: what are the things that you have always assumed would be taken care of for you by your parents? There are so many things that fall into this category and you cannot make the mistake of failing to consider any of them. What do you know about utilities or insurance? Have you ever done any grocery shopping for yourself?
Don't think for a moment that you already know it all. Sit down with your parents and find out more about all of the things that they have done for you. You just might end up being surprised by the lengthy to-do list that you receive as a result of this much-needed conversation.
Do you know everything you need to handle? If utilities are included with the rent, excellent, but that is extremely rare these days. If they are not included, then make sure you know whether you will be paying direct to the utility company or through the landlord (the latter is common if your new place is not metered). Make a checklist of the bills. Generally, you need to worry about utilities, cell phone, internet (and possibly cable, unless you plan on relying on streaming services). Also, you should get renters' insurance. It's cheap, may be required by your landlord, and usually covers you from theft, damage, and even some liability.
Work out how much rent you can actually afford. It's not uncommon (or embarrassing) to have to have your parents cosign on your first lease simply because you don't have the credit history. However, you need to make sure you can actually afford the rent plus utilities plus food, etc. Work up a budget for the other stuff you need and then see how much you have.
Work out what you need to buy or acquire. You should do this after you have picked your apartment and signed the lease. For example, if your new place comes with a microwave, you will not need to buy one. Put together a checklist of what you need. Then prioritize it so you know what you need first and what you can wait on. For example, you definitely need trash cans, but might be able to wait on throw pillows. Remember you can buy a lot of stuff second hand if needed.
Do Some Box Hunting
A common mistake that is made by rookie movers is a failure to collect boxes in a timely manner. By being as proactive as possible, a first-time mover has the ability to avoid the hassles of trying to track down moving materials at the last minute. In the weeks leading up to the move, be sure to visit local retailers to find out where you can go for the boxes that you need. Some may give them away and others may require a nominal fee. Or, good quality moving supplies can always be purchased from your local moving company.
Finding the Right Neighborhood
Choosing a place that is in the right neighborhood is all about considering the realities of your existence. Where will you be working? Where do you spend most of your free time? Selecting an apartment that does not place you in a position where you are forced to endure long commutes is key.
Consider the community makeup as well. Are you someone who likes to party or are you looking to start a family? Pick the neighborhood that aligns with your personal goals in this regard.
Once it is time to start visiting apartments, it is important to remember that most of the deal-breaking problems are going to be lurking beneath the surface. Take a closer look at the windows to make sure that they are not water damaged or compromised in any way.
Are the neighbors too loud? How does the security set up look? What type of time-saving amenities are available on the premises? Will it be easy for you to move your stuff inside? These are all questions that need to be answered in full before signing on the dotted line.
Read the lease carefully. Make sure you know what you are signing. Asking your parents or an older friend for help is not shameful. Leases are often multiple pages and may contain rules that seem complex. You need to know what is going on with your lease, not just sign it blindly.
Unless hiring people to pack for you, pack well in advance and over a few days. It's less stressful that way. Also, packing in advance helps make sure you pack the things you need least first and the things you need most last, that is on the top.
Don't panic. Moving is stressful, and it's easy to work yourself into a "tizzy." Relax and have fun with it. Hiring professional movers is generally less stressful than doing it yourself. If doing any of the physical work yourself, make sure to stay hydrated. Never pack a box you are unable to lift (this is another good reason to hire movers, who are conditioned and fit to lift heavy boxes and much less likely to hurt themselves).
Moving into your first apartment on your own (or even with a roommate) is one of the biggest steps you will take in your life. Follow the above steps to make it all go well and avoid getting into financial, or other, trouble. And, if you need help with moving, click here to contact us!!