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Moving into your first apartment

woman sitting on a sofa in her well-lighted, first apartment

Choosing your first apartment may involve a lot of compromises

Whether you are moving in with your partner, planning to share the apartment with a roommate or keeping it just for yourself, moving into your first apartment is an exciting prospect. Leaving your parents’ home and starting a new life on your own terms brings a lot of new responsibilities.

The decision will trigger a whirlwind of emotions and different thoughts, but we will help you stay on the right track. While living on your own may seem both scary and amazing, the good news is that millennials usually get used to the idea of moving very soon. But, it’s not uncommon that many of them end up disappointed after the very first task – apartment hunting. Coming face-to-face with the challenges, responsibilities and possible difficulties can be terrifying at first.

However, flying free comes with a number of undeniable advantages that often happen to outweigh the cons. Here’s what you should pay attention to when entering the adult world and planning to live on your own.

Understand the financial aspect of the transition

calculator, pen, paper and money on the table

Calculate your budget before embarking on the apartment hunting adventure

If you are coming from a small city background and moving to NYC or to another big city, the first thing you should factor in is your budget. In brief, establish how much you can spend on rent, moving costs and personal day-to-day expenses.

At some point it may seem that the costs are constantly piling up, while your income remains the same. Luckily, your parents can always offer a helping hand when the things get though. The amount of your savings and monthly income will dictate what you can or can’t afford. The standard rule of thumb for budgeting is 30% of your net income. Otherwise, realizing that your paycheck doesn’t get you as far as you expected can be very upsetting. If you are new to managing your money, budgeting for your first apartment can be a bit tricky. In case you’ve always hoped for a city center apartment, you may want to reconsider and align your expectations with the budget of yours.

Here are some of the most common living expenses to factor in when creating your unique budget:

  1. Monthly rent
  2. Utilities
  3. Renter’s insurance
  4. Security deposit
  5. Personal day-to-day expenses

Hopefully you will go for the most convenient moving quote in terms of the quality-cost balance. However, beware of the additional fees some companies may apply: pet fees, pest control, parking, garage, administration fees. Ask if some of them will be applied on a monthly or yearly basis just to be on the safe side.

Decide where your first apartment will be located

white suburban house with a large lawn and driveway

Large families seem to prefer spacious suburban homes

Finding a place near your office can be the most cost-effective decision, as your commute doesn’t involve transportation by car. You may save on gas, parking, repairs and more importantly, your strategic position will help you save a lot of time on a short commute to your job and back.

Typically, living in a suburban studio apartment is cheaper than living in the city center. Also, sharing a monthly rent and splitting utility bills with a roommate can be a good way to afford a bigger and conveniently located apartment. Starting a new life on your own is all about making compromises. Unless you can afford anything you want, trade-offs will always be part of the apartment-hunting process.

If moving on a tight budget, you are likely to face the most famous size vs. location concern. Whether you will prioritize size over location depends on your current lifestyle needs. In many cases those two concepts don’t go hand in hand for the first-time renters. As a result, people are faced with a difficult choice whether to rent a large place on the outskirts of the city or a tiny apartment in the city center.

If you are unsure as to what’s best for you, make sure to consider all factors like your job location and proximity to all places of interest. As it turns out, nowadays many families decide to move to the suburbs in order to get a more spacious place for their kids.

Will you move to a first apartment alone?

When you are about to become independent for the first time, you may want to find ways to make living alone more affordable. Whether you are going to share your living space with a roommate or fly solo mostly depends on your finances. Simply put, with a roommate you can afford a larger apartment, as you are going to share rent and utility bills.

But, the final decision shouldn’t depend solely on the financial aspect. What matters the most is how you feel about sharing an apartment with another person, especially if that person is a complete stranger. Living alone provides a great deal of freedom to make your own decisions and act exactly as you please. However, there are some undeniable advantages of moving in with a roommate. Not only will you save on rent and utilities, but also you will split the chores. Also, chances are you will become friends for life. There’s something comforting in the fact that you have some to talk to after a long day at work.

Don’t be afraid to ask for help

As you are moving for the first time, you shouldn’t expect to handle everything by yourself. As we all know, moving is anything but easy, so do not hesitate to enlist your family’s and friends’ help to make everything easier on you. During the first couple of weeks away from the family home you are likely to experience a lot of different emotions and home sickness above all.

The adjustment process can be challenging, so keep in touch with your loved ones and surround yourself with positive people. It’s a huge and important transition and if you find friends who share similar values and interests the adjustment process may be much easier. Also, don’t forget to have some fun. A housewarming party is a great way to de-stress after a tiresome move and to gather your people.