You did it! You either finally make enough to live on your own, have financial aid to pay for an apartment, etc. It may be smaller than your closet back home and you might even hate your neighbor’s music but voila it is home. It can be really frustrating moving into your new place because you don’t know what to expect and you need to save all your pennies to make sure that your rent is paid on time. Below are some tips to help you out.
- Never underestimate the cost of living on your own – Before even looking for a new place you need to think of your current expenses. Sit down and make a list; For example, how much do you spend on food? Going out? Medications? Your car? Etc. Add it all up and see if you can make any cuts to make your monthly budget bigger to ensure you have enough for your own place. Don’t forget you will need to buy furniture, pots and pans, etc. So it can be costly don’t haste into anything.
- See the apartment before you move in- Before signing any contracts, buying any furniture, before you even make an offer, make sure to visit the place twice! Make an appointment with the current resident and see if you can look around the place just to get a feel for your room(s) and see any damages that are there. Then visit on a Friday or Saturday night to see how busy, how noisy, etc it is and if it fits your lifestyle. The #1 complaint of an unsatisfied resident is their neighbors.
- Read your lease agreement – When you sign your wonderful signature next to that line so that you can move in., you are legally binded to obey all rules set forth on your contract. It’s suggested by all advocates that you should take home your lease, read through it, and put any question marks beside anything you don’t understand. It’s better to know everything then be surprised by fees, penalties for rent, etc.
- Renter’s insurance- Unless you have plenty of money to replace everything you own incase of theft, fire, flood, etc. then you should look into renters insurance. Yes, all land lord have insurance but it only covers the building and infrastructure. Renters insurance is also pretty cheap. For really good basic renters insurance expect to pay about $250 a year. Make sure you get quotes from several companies or ask your landlord if any insurance companies give discounts for being associated with your specific apartment.
- Utilities – Ask your apartment complex if these fees are included in your rent and how much do they charge for overage. Some apartment complexes don’t even offer utilities and you are responsible for turning them on. So make sure you know the in’s and out’s of what your paying for before you do anything.
The above are the most common mistakes that all first time movers make. By insuring that you have the basic makes it least likely for anything unexpected to go wrong. The best way to find an apartment that is well fitted to your lifestyle and needs is word of mouth. If you know someone with the same lifestyle as you and they’ve had great experiences somewhere start there first. Good Luck!
Jeff covers lifestyle tips for the Renter’s Insurance blog hosted by the Consumer Media Network.