Just the fact that you're doing something for the first time is enough to raise your blood pressure.
When you add all the responsibilities that come with moving out and apartment rental, it is easy to feel completely and utterly overwhelmed. Luckily, you're not the first in this challenging endeavor. Many went through this trial and are ready to share what they have learned in the process.
First-time apartment renters, sit back and read on. And always focus on the bright side - of your new apartment.
When it's time to move to an apartment
Why is an apartment such a good option?
First of all, if you're on your own, it makes no sense to rent a house. Just consider the difference in maintenance and utility costs.
If you're moving to a big city, renting an apartment may be the only way to afford the living costs.
An apartment is likely to prove as a good choice whether you're a solo professional, a senior with a fixed income, or someone who has lived in a big family house before but now needs to downsize.
Apartments have their fair share of challenges, though. First-time apartment renters may have to deal with unreasonable landlords or neighbors, high rents, poor-quality, pet policies, etc.
Compile a list of the most important things you look for in a living space, start your search on time and be as thorough as possible. And yes, there is such a thing as the perfect apartment for you.
Apartment search: what if you're renting out of state?
Young professionals are usually among those who move most frequently, looking for more suitable career opportunities across the States. If you are moving to another state for work, you may not have any other option but to look for an apartment.
The easiest part of your search is finding an interesting apartment in a nice neighborhood within your price range. Then, you should start a whole new level of search.
Firstly, you should start looking at the right time. Inventories change with the season and you may not find anything acceptable if you start too late.
Usually, winter is the best time to browse listings and get to choose. Once you find an interesting apartment, research the apartment building and find as many reviews as you can. You will learn a lot about the management company, landlord, tenants, and any present issues.
Moreover, focus on the time you will spend commuting. If you don't own a car, you should look for an apartment that is in the close range of a reliable metro or bus line.
Before you move in
The first-time apartment renters' nightmare: parking
Whichever apartment type you choose, you should check if its building has a garage or a reserved parking spot. This will save you an immense amount of time, energy, and money.
One of the first things to ask your property manager, as a driver, is if you have an assigned parking spot. Otherwise, ask your property manager when they think the best time of day is to move in. If you're lucky, there will be a garage or a parking lot with plenty of room.
Your property manager should know when the lot gets full and what other parking options you might have in the vicinity.
Smart is simple.
Do not overburden yourself with complicated budgeting techniques. The 50/30/20 rule works just fine.
Dedicate the half of your after-tax income to necessities like food, rent, clothing, and bills, 30% should go toward entertainment and remaining 20% put aside for rainy days.
If your apartment rent and other expenses fit this budget strategy, you're heading in a good direction.
Space and storage
Apartments normally have less space than family houses so you need to get inventive and apply a few storage hacks.
To get the most from your apartment utilize all the nooks, get a bed with drawers, and consider a minimalist design. Minimalism in apartments is actually trending. Getting so much from so little is incredibly satisfying.
Not only will your open floor apartment look modern and stylish but it will cleverly camouflage your storage.
Renters' or tenants' insurance is a lifesaver. At an affordable price of around 20$ a month, you will not need to worry about your belongings should the worst happen.
This insurance may also come as a requirement, depending on the landlord.
While some apartment rents come with utilities included, most do not.
You will likely have to pay separately for gas, electricity, cable, and internet. Find out about this in advance because it will significantly affect your budget. Moreover, check who will bill you for water; if you need to open an account with the local provider factor in possible one-time fees.
After you move in
Deep cleaning is the first thing you should do once you move in, especially before you unpack. Take your time. While you clean your apartment, inspect your home as there may arise the need for some minor repairs.
Furnish your apartment over time
Settling in is a process and there's no need to rush: after all, the thrill is in the journey.
Not to mention that you will save much more if you take your time to fully furnish your apartment. Savor every piece that you gradually bring in; you will appreciate it more and avoid hoarding needless junk.
First-time apartment renters, meet thy neighbors
When you live in an apartment building, good friendly neighbors are a treasure. A cup of coffee, some friendly chat, a little favor now and then is what makes a difference on some days.
Anyone can buy a good house, but good neighbors are priceless, a proverb says, and it is true.