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Things to Know Before Switching to an Apartment

  • Emily Rice

Emily Rice

5 min read
Things to Know Before Switching to an Apartment

You're about to move into your first apartment.

Exciting, right?

Of course it is. But at the same time, there are both aspects to apartment living that are wonderful, and some that can be challenging.

Either way, the best way to prepare for your move into an apartment is to learn about what to expect, and what steps you need to take before moving in.

That's why we put together this list of 8 things you should know before moving into an apartment. But even more importantly, there are just things that come with apartment living you should be aware of before you take the leap.

So you'll feel prepped and ready for your move!

Sound interesting? Keep reading to find out more!


Picking the Location

Take the time to make sure you pick a building with a location that works for you.

Take into account things like proximity to your work, and how close it is to public transportation. This is especially important if you don't use a car and will need to walk from the bus stop during the extreme heat or cold weather.

Pay attention also to the terrain of the property. If it's too hilly, that could make for a strain on your body from navigating around it.

And make sure you take into account the surrounding neighborhood. It doesn't matter how great an apartment is if it's in an unsafe area!


Sights, Smells, and Sounds

When you tour a potential apartment, pay attention to more than just the appliances and views from the bedroom.

Really look around for any signs of water damage around the windows, stains on the carpeting. If you see anything, take pictures so you don't get charged for these things later.

Sniff around and make sure there aren't strange smells you can't account for. If there are, inquire from the landlord.

And listen hard to see how loud it is. Can you hear your neighbors like they are in the same room? Sometimes paper-thin walls are enough of a reason to move on to the next potential apartment.


You Can't Pick The People

As much as you'd love to pick out who you live next to and who your landlord is, the reality is that you can't.

And like anywhere you go, there are sometimes going to be people you love, and sometimes people who rub you the wrong way.

Before you move into an apartment, take steps to find out if the landlord is someone generally liked and respected by the people living there.

The best way is to ask them directly. That might mean knocking on doors randomly in the building and asking. Or, if that feels like too forward a move, you can hang around the lobby or just outside and ask people as they leave.

Tell them you are considering renting an apartment in the building, and you'd like to know if the landlord is helpful, flexible, and easy to work with.

If the reviews are awful, it might mean moving on to another building!


Costs Upfront

Some people get caught off guard by the costs associated with moving into a new apartment. Sure, you know you'll have to pay your rent, but did you know you might have to pay it 3 or 4 times over?

That's because many apartment leases stipulate that you need to pay the rent for "first and last" month, which is a way to keep tenants from just renting one month and bolting. So that's double the rental price for one month right there.

Then there are usually security deposits. Those can be one or two full month's rent as well. You'll get that back when you leave, assuming you kept the place in good shape. But you'll still need to have that money up front for the deposit.


Longer Term Costs

It's also important to realize that there are longer-term costs associated with apartment living.

You'll usually need to pay for utilities like heat, electricity, and gas. There are also things like internet access and TV, which you might not be accustomed to paying for if you were living with your parents.

Some landlords require renter's insurance, so that's another potentially regular cost.

And if you are living on your own for the first time, expect to be surprised by lots of little things you didn't realize you need to pay for. These are the costs like groceries, gas, and other things that you might have not been paying for.

This is why it's suggested that your rent should only take up 1/3 of your monthly income. You'll need the other two thirds to help pay for everything else!


Basic Furnishings

Often when you tour an apartment, there is either staging furniture or furniture from the previous tenant still there.

Don't forget that most likely you'll be delivered an empty apartment. And nothing puts a damper on living in a new apartment than having to sit on the floor for a couple of months because you don't have basic furniture yet.

Be sure to at least get a couch, a table, and some chairs, in addition to your bed. You can fill out the rest of your furniture needs in the next few months.


Roommate Selection

If you are going to have any roommates, treat the process with special care. Just because you like someone doesn't necessarily mean they'll be the ideal roommate.

Look for someone you know is responsible. Even if you aren't going to end up hanging out with them constantly, having a reliable and trustworthy roommate is the most important aspect.

And make sure all roommate signs the lease. It makes it harder for anyone to skip out on the rent, or suddenly move out.



It would be a nightmare scenario to sign a lease only to discover the building doesn't allow you to bring your dog or cat with you!

Make sure that if you have any pets, you specifically check the lease documents and talk to the landlord about it.

And be aware that some pet-friendly building might charge an extra deposit to account for any damage the pets might do.

Hopefully, this list has given you a sense of the types of preparation you'll need to do for your move into an apartment.

If you have questions or would like to learn more, visit our site today!