Moving Out--a Handy Guide to Leaving the Nest

Moving to a new houseBy Julie DeLong, A-1 Freeman Moving Group 

Back in the day, kids couldn't wait to get out of the house. Even as recently as 2005, 75% of the 18-34 crowd had moved out. Fast forward to 2015, and fully one third of that population was still living at home--and the trend is growing.

Why are so many aging millennials and Gen Xers reluctant to leave the nest? There are several factors, but primarily, moving out is expensive--it's a lot of up-front cash outlay that demands a few months of saving to get all the money together. Sometimes, parents can help with expenses, but if you're wondering how much money you need to move out, and how to do it, here's how to get started.

What's Your Budget?

First, how much can you afford to pay in expenses every month? The rule of thumb is that no more than 30% of your gross (before taxes) monthly income should go to rent. Then you must factor in the cost of utilities--electricity, internet, water, gas--and groceries, and don't forget your other regular monthly expenses--gas, clothing, entertainment, gym--when you're budgeting.

Will You Have A Roommate?

Roommates are great for several reasons. At the least, they are someone to share expenses. In reality, two- or three-bedroom apartments can be significantly cheaper than a one bedroom, if you have roommates. Some cities have apartments where each roommate has a separate lease (these are popular in college towns) so you're not responsible for rent if a roomie loses their job.

Roommates are also nice to have if you're moving to a new city and don't know anybody, and when you get sick it's nice to have somebody bring you chicken soup, or at least call your mother.

What Are the Expenses in Getting an Apartment?

Getting an apartment is expensive. There are application fees, administration fees, and deposits to pay--all at once.

  • Application fees cover the costs of running credit reports and background checks on prospective tenants
  • Admin fees pay the office costs to run those checks and keep the office humming--that 24/7 maintenance hotline, for example
  • Deposits are required when you sign the lease. The amount varies depending on which part of the country you live in, plan on at least one month’s rent, possibly two.
  • Utility companies may require a deposit if you've never had service in your name. If your parents have service with the same companies, they may be able to co-sign for you to avoid paying a deposit.
  • Furniture is a hidden expense--you'll need at least a bed and dresser and a chair, but most people want to live like adults--sofas, coffee tables, barstools, and a big screen TV. This is when Great-Aunt Mabel's couch doesn't look too bad, after all. You can start with the basics and add to your furnishings and accessories as finances allow. Roommates are also handy for contributing their own stuff to the apartment--with the right roommates (the ones with hoarder moms) you can have that place looking ready for an Architectural Digest shoot within the week.
  • Moving is another expense that can be minimal or pricey. Local moves can be cheap, if you've got access to a big SUV and maybe rent a moving van; if you're urban and car-less, you'll want to price out a moving company.

It's a new year--start looking at apartments, chat up friends about living together, and open a savings account and sock moving-out money away every month. It's time to do your own adulting--moving out is a great first step.

Parents, feel free to send this link to your adult children. Or do it old-school and print it, then stick it on the fridge. Either way, it's a can't miss.

 

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