If you’re planning on renting your first apartment, there are some things you should know before you take the plunge into this new lifestyle change. Move-in day can be hectic and stressful, especially if you’re moving out of your family home for the first time. But it doesn’t have to be difficult and daunting if you carefully plan ahead of time and follow this first-time apartment renter checklist.
When You Start the Process
Before you start looking for an apartment rental, take this list of first-time renter tips and considerations with you. Doing so will help to ensure that the rental process goes smoothly and that you make all the necessary preparations before renting. Here are some first-time renter tips to get you started:
- Pick your budget. Knowing your monthly rental, utility, food, entertainment, car payments, etc., ahead of time will help you avoid an end-of-the-month panic.
- Look into different types of apartments based on size, location, proximity to public transportation, amenities, etc.
- Do your research ahead of time on what apartments are available in your desired area.
- Contact property managers or real estate agents to set up appointments to view the apartments.
When Looking at Apartments
Now that you’ve got some idea of what you’re looking for and how much you’re looking to spend, it’s time to start looking for an apartment! This can be fun and informative. Keep these important considerations and questions in mind when you start visiting apartments:
- Remember to bring a tape measure so you have all the measurements you need.
- Are there income or credit requirements?
- Is it a one-year or multi-year lease?
- What is the security deposit?
- Are there any utilities or services included in the monthly rent?
- What form of payment is accepted for rent (check, bank transfer, etc.)?
- Find out the parking situation. Most communities will have dedicated parking for each apartment.
- If you have a furry friend, find out if that apartment is pet-friendly. If it is, find out if there is a fee, whether one-time or monthly, associated with having a pet.
- Make sure the fire and CO2 detectors are in working order.
Before You Move In
When it comes to packing before you move, make sure you’re doing yourself some favors by preparing smartly. Be sure to get secure boxes and plenty of packing tape – you’ll need more of both than you think. An easy way to ensure you have enough boxes is to visit local retail stores to see if they have any boxes they are getting rid of. Most grocery stores, liquor stores, clothing stores, etc., will have plenty of cardboard boxes available to you, free of charge! More things to consider before moving in:
- Are you using a moving company or doing it yourself? Be sure to factor this into the budget. If you’re moving yourself, consider renting a moving van and moving equipment like blankets, dollies, and ratchet straps.
- Find out what you’ll need to buy. Since it’s your first apartment, count on buying:
- Pack any breakables in bubble wrap and mark the box specifically. This will save you a world of trouble upon moving in.
- Label each box with the room in which it will live. This makes moving in and unpacking much more organized.
- Pack everything but what you’ll need in the few days leading up to the move.
- Have things like cleaners, tools, and garbage bags readily available so you don’t have to go searching.
- Last but not least: apply for renters insurance. Most apartment communities require this, and it’s a good thing to have no matter what.
A. Plates and Utensils
C. Bed, Mattress, and Bed Linens
D. Shower Curtain and/or Liner
F. Toilet Paper
G. Hand Washing Soap
H. Garbage Cans and Bags
I. Tool Kit
J. Cleaning Essentials
K. First Aid Essentials
It’s the big day! You’ve done all a lot of the hard work already. Now comes the fun part: moving in and unpacking. You’ll find a place for every thing and a thing for every place. But first things first: you’ve got to get there. Wake up early and check that you have everything packed. Make sure your tools, cleaning essentials, and garbage bags are easily accessible. Make sure your phone is charged, you’ve eaten some food, and you’ve drank some coffee.
It’s time to move into your new apartment:
- When you get there, look around. Make sure the space is clean and well-maintained. Take photos for easy reference in the future.
- Move in large items first: your bed, couch, tables, etc. Having these items in will not only allow for space to put other boxes, but will also give you a place to rest your bones at the end of the day.
- After moving in the large items, move in the rest of your boxes to their respective rooms according to the label on the box.
- Remember to pace yourself, eat food, and drink water throughout the day.
- Once you’ve finished moving everything in, unpack and enjoy your new home!