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Tips for Moving Into Your First Apartment

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Moving out is hard to do--65 percent of young adults end up moving back home or on the street after three months of trying to live on their own. How can you successfully move out of your childhood home and into an apartment? The following tips can help make this life transition as easy as possible.


To lessen the individual costs of apartment living, young adults often choose to rent with roommates. Decide if, who, and how many you need before you start looking for apartments. Not only can you split the costs of renting a room, but you can also split some of the household responsibilities.

Unless you are moving out to be completely alone, roommates can be a great help. Make sure you choose them wisely--an incompatible or deadbeat roommate can destroy the entire living situation.
  • Find people you can trust. Living with someone practically makes them family, so if there are people like that in your life they may be good potential roommates. Siblings who have experience living with you are good. A significant other that is or may become a spouse also is an obvious choice for a roommate.
  • Does the potential roommate have a solid job? The biggest reason for having roommate is financial help, so make sure a roommate can consistently pay rent and his fair share of other home expenses.
  • Don't try to overcrowd an apartment to save money. This may work in a hotel on vacation, but if you are living somewhere, you want your own space. If there is more than four of you, consider renting a house.
  • Make sure possible roommates have similar cleanliness, eating habits, and entertainment interests as you. All of this will make cohabitation easier.

Find an apartment

After you determine the number of roommates you need, find an appropriate apartment.
  • Find a convenient location for your work, school, and social life.
  • Be flexible. Your first apartment will not be your dream home.
  • Don't be afraid to ask your parents or other older relatives to help. Homeowners have experience choosing housing.
  • Thoroughly inspect any apartments you are considering with your older adviser. 
When you do settle on one apartment and are setting up the lease with the landlord, be sure to ask questions about anything you don't understand. Here are a things you should clarify with the landlord:
  • The duration of the lease
  • The security deposit amount
  • What you need to do to get the deposit back
  • The date that rent is usually collected
  • What maintenance or utilities are included with rent
  • Any other rules
  • What pets, if any, are allowed

Prepare to move in

When moving into your first apartment, make sure you are prepared to live there without your parents. You may take the use of your parents' things for granted and not realize all of the items that you need to live.

Make a list of what furniture and appliances are included with the rental, then make another list to keep track of everything you need for your apartment. Cross off anything that is already included in the apartment.
Here are some things you may need:
  • Dishes/silverware
  • Dining table and chairs
  • Couches/living room furniture
  • Beds/bedding 
  • Cleaning supplies
  • Tools
  • Refrigerator
  • Microwave
  • Television/entertainment systems
  • Toiletries (don't forget a plunger)
Your parents or other older relatives will probably be able to give you some old or underused items from their homes. You also could buy some items cheaply at garage sales or thrift shops. There are a few ways to make second-hand items work for you:
  • Use new furniture covers on worn furniture
  • Bring things from your room that you can use
  • Coordinate with your roommates on who can bring shared items (make sure you keep track of this so nobody has financial disputes when somebody moves out)


The most difficult thing for most new apartment renters is keeping a budget. This is another thing you should coordinate with your roommates. Here are some expenses to factor into your apartment budget:
  • Rent
  • Utilities
  • Cable/internet
  • Car insurance
  • Security deposit (you will get this back but not right away, you need to afford to be without it)
  • Tenant insurance
  • Food (this is much cheaper if you get groceries rather than eating takeout all the time)
  • Disposable items (paper towels, Toilet paper, paper plates, toiletries)
  • Cell phone bills
  • Gas
  • Any loans you have out
  • Health insurance
When you see your final budget, make sure you can still afford to move into the apartment. Paying rent alone is not the same as being able to afford to live in an apartment.

Move in

The move-in process is pretty easy once the lease and budget concerns are squared away.
  • You and all your roommates can enlist the help of friends or family to move you in.
  • Hire movers if you can't get enough help.
  • Determine living areas for each roommate and move your things to the right room.
  • Sell or store the things in your room from home that you didn't take with you. Your parents may want that room back after you move out. They may not mind leaving your extra things there, but once you move out you have no real claim on any of it.
  • Sign up for utilities, this may include a deposit which should be factored into your budget.

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on October 13, 2014 - Moving Expert
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