Moving out on your own is a big step. It’s time to step into the real world and start looking for your very first apartment (Yay!).
Renting your first apartment can be an exciting experience as you search for the perfect space to express yourself. At the same time though, it can be a stressful experience because of all the decisions that need to be made. You might be thinking, "How am I going to manage moving into my first apartment, take care of bills, balance work and a social life, get my chores done, and not forget anything?"
Don’t worry, if you think ahead, start planning early, and use checklists, you can cut the worry in half! At Hignell Rentals, we want to help make the process of finding and enjoying your first apartment a reality. Here are some tips that may sound obvious, but can easily be missed in the scram to figure everything out.
1. To Roommate or Not To Roommate
That is the question. There are many reasons to have one or multiple roommates: the rent and utilities are cheaper, you can share the chore list, and there's always someone to come home to.
There are also reasons to not have a roommate: no need to ask anyone for permission to do something around the place, and not having to worry about arguments that are bound to happen.
Make sure you weigh all the pros and cons of what matters most to you. Be sure to really get to know the people you're considering moving in with (once you sign the lease there is no going back).
2. Location, Location, Location
To narrow down your apartment search, first figure out what section of town would be the best for you to live in. Whether it's next to work, places of interest, or super close to public transit. Make sure it's in a safe neighborhood -- no need to worry mom straight out of the gate! Check out the apartment search tool at HignellRentals.com to find the best places to live in the city.
3. Budget Planning
Living on your own is a big deal, and finding out how to balance life and work is half the battle. Before you decide to spend this week’s paycheck on weekend activities, food and drinks, consider the cost of each purchase and how it will affect your ability to pay bills and make rent. You might be surprised at how much you can spend in a single weekend out being social with friends.
Sit down and draw out a budget! Write down all the expenses you have and then the amount of money you make, don’t forget to add groceries, gas, personal care expenses etc. This way you know exactly how much money you can spend going out and still having enough to pay the bills.
Learning to budget your finances and balance your social life for the first time is a hard lesson for millennials, first time apartment livers, and anybody newly out on their own. Don’t let your budget get the best of you, plan ahead! Check out this awesome blog: "My First Apartment Checklist: Budget for Chico Apartments" on how to budget for your first apartment!
4. Everything You Need Checklist
Apartments don’t usually come furnished, so it's up to you (and roommates if you choose) to fill it with everything you need. Besides knowing that you need the basic stuff for your bathroom, bedroom, kitchen, and living room, many of the other important things can be easily missed.
To avoid realizing you don’t have something right when you need, create an exhaustive list of things you currently use and will need at your new apartment. You can also reference these apartment checklists for reminders on what you’ll need.
5. Chore List
If you're one of those people who dread doing chores, you aren’t alone. They do need to be done though...especially if you want to invite people over or live comfortably.
Make a list of chores that you can easily do daily (dishes, picking up loose items around the living room, making the bed, etc.) and ones that need to happen weekly (taking out trash, vacuuming, cleaning the bathroom, etc). If you have roommates, you can even make a chart that changes every week so that no one has to consistently do the same chore.
6. Know Your Bills
Your rent usually includes the space you live in and, depending on the apartment complex, waste, sewage, and water. Anything else like electricity, cable, and internet is something that you'll need to figure out on your own.
Talk with your apartment manager about who is the main provider for electricity in your complex and contact them about opening an account so that you can have light and power. You can also do the same thing for cable and internet, or find the nearest provider and set up your account.
7. Spare Key
Coming home late at night and realizing that you left your keys inside your apartment when you rushed out that morning is never a fun thing. Contacting your apartment manager can take time and you may have to pay money for them to get you in. Therefore, it's always a smart idea to have a spare key, whether hidden where you can find it, or given to a close friend or relative.
Ready, Set, Go!
With the right tools in place, your "my first apartment experience" can be enjoyable and rewarding. Just remember that checklists are your friend, budgets are your ally, and that it's okay to ask for help if you ever come across something you don’t know. Embrace your new independence and make your space your own.
At Hignell Rentals, we offer many different resources designed to make apartment living easier and enjoyable, along with helping you solve problems and find information about rental living!