There are a lot of emotions and time that go into moving into your very first apartment. It’s easy to sweat the small stuff instead of enjoying the moment. With so many resources out on the web, you can move into your new place with ease. I recently moved back in December 2018 and want to share my experience and the things that I found useful.
How to Pick the Perfect Apartment
Picking the perfect apartment for myself wasn’t that easy. I looked at countless reviews on Google, Facebook, and Yelp to help me out. Tip: Don’t just use Google ratings to find out if your potential apartment is a good fit. I found that going to Facebook gave me more insight because you can trust that the majority of the reviews are from actual residents who are sharing their genuine experiences. In my case the reviews were correct; I love my apartment complex!
Once you’ve looked at reviews, the next step is to look at the prices because why go any further if it isn’t in your budget? A simple and most effective way to know if you can afford the apartment is seeing if you make 3 times the rent or go to this apartment expense calculator (Zillow). This calculator has you put in your monthly expenses along with how much you make after taxes to tell you if the apartment of your dreams is a place you can really afford. The Zillow calculator helped me out so much!
Now that we know we can afford the apartment, it is time to see what the area is like. I like to look up my banks, the nearest malls, what kind of restaurants are around, and how far my potential place is from places I travel to frequently such as work. This will help you see what kind of commute you’ll have and if you’ll be able to have your favorite spaces close by.
Viewing places online is great, but the real way to know if you will like an apartment is to go visit it in person. Every complex has a vibe and the key is to see if it matches with yours. Before you visit the apartments, it’s good to have questions about the facility and living expenses already in mind. I asked about if utilities were included, how much the average utility expenses are for current residence, are there certain providers that have to be used for Internet or Electricity, and found out if there are any other expenses like pest control and valet trash. The most important question is finding out how much the deposit(s) are so you know how much you’ll be spending up front and how much more you should save.
How to Pick Movers
Picking movers weren’t as hard as I thought it would be. Instead of getting myself overwhelmed by trying to google movers, I simply picked an app on my phone to sort all of that out. I personally used the app ‘moved.’ to take a little of the stress away. It was super easy to tell them what all I needed to move, where my things were coming from and going too, book my date, and get a quote so I knew how much it would cost. On the day of my big move, everything couldn’t have gone better. The moving company I chose on the app were very professional and treated my things with care at a good price. The next time I move I will definitely use moved. to help me. It was truly stress-free experience.
Know Your Budget
It’s great that you know how much you need to make the move, but it is also important to remember what expenses will be like afterward. I sat down with my mom and wrote out all of my expenses in a month and added what I thought or knew my new added expenses would be. I think took those and subtracted it from my monthly income after taxes to make sure I would still be comfortable. Zillow also helped, but sometimes you forget to add those new expenses if you’re coming from your parents’ place or anywhere you don’t have to pay the majority of the bills.
When you write things down, everything comes into perspective and you can visualize what you’re getting yourself into better. Don’t forget to add what you think your utilities are going to be, internet, cable, renters insurance, food, gas for your car, car insurance, medical insurance, etc. because those are major things you typically have to have when living on your own. It is also to know what you can cut out. I cut out going to Starbucks weekly and traded cable for streaming. I also cut back on other luxuries like getting my nails done every two weeks and just doing them myself or at least getting them done professionally once a month. They seem like small sacrifices, but they add up quick. You know what things you splurge on so figure out if you should cut back or cut them out completely. Trust me it will be worth it in the end.
Buying furniture for your first apartment can be fun and stressful. I had no idea what I was doing when buying furniture and did it all by myself because none of my family or friends knew what kind of space my new place had. Let’s also talk about how I didn’t see my place in person until move-in day! I was so blind going in, but everything worked out in the end.
The first thing is to know how many square feet you have and the layout. Seeing the architectural layout will help you get an idea of what shape your furniture should be to fit nicely. I had the image of the structure in my head and when I would go into the stores I would ask the sales representatives what they thought when I told them the square feet. That’s really all I did.
Another tip I want to give is to invest in a few pieces. You don’t have to be fully furnished, but I think it is important to invest in a nice living room and dining room set as well as a nice mattress. I used a mixture of used and brand new furniture for my place. I bought a new mattress but used my bedroom set at my parents’ house to furnish my apartment. This saved me so much money! I bought my living room and dining room sets new from Design within Reach and Rooms to Go. Rooms to go was the more affordable out of the two but if you want a piece that will last you years then Design within Reach is really good.
For my kitchen, I bought a few new things, but mostly had everything used. College apartment appliances are your best friends and so are family members old pots and pans. You don’t have to use these for forever, but they’re a good start. I saved so much more money by using used kitchen appliances and only investing in a few new things from Amazon, At Home, and Home Goods. Now I don’t know much about getting a washer and dryer because my apartment, luckily, came with them, but I would think using a used set would be more financially beneficial for just starting out.
No way do I know everything about moving and what all you should know, but I figured this would be a good start. Moving doesn’t have to be chaotic when you have a feel for what you should look for, do, and ask about. I was lucky that I had a smooth experience with what I learned along the way and I hope my tips will help you too. Check out my apartment tour by clicking here. Also, this post is not sponsored and all opinions are my own. Share with me your apartment tour or your tips and tricks for an easy move or living on your own.