Moving out for the first time is one of the biggest steps you’ll take in life. It not only represents your freedom, independence and a sense of growing up, it also tests your ability to make it on your own.
Since most of us will be renting our first place, we will begin there. There are usually two ways to go. You can rent month-to-month, which means you are able to move out whenever you want, but it also means the landlord can kick you out or raise your rent almost at will. The other way to go is a lease. The lease locks you into a predetermined number of months. For most apartments and condos, a one-year lease is standard. Landlords will usually charge you less if you sign a lease with them. Keep in mind that if you sign a one-year-lease and decide to move out after two months, you’re still on the hook for the additional ten months. Make sure you really like living under that roof and plan to stay there for the lease period or you may want to stick with a month-to-month.
Whenever you rent an apartment or a house, there will always be a deposit required. This deposit will vary based on:
1. The amount of the rent.
2. Your credit score.
3. Are you signing a lease or renting month-to-month?
4. Is the landlord buying a new car that month?
You can usually expect to pay first month plus a security deposit equal to first month’s rent. If you are renting an apartment or condo, many times there is a reduction or special deal offered by the complex. For example, you may be able to pay first month’s rent plus a small deposit of say, a few hundred dollars. If you have pets, and the landlord allows them, you will be required to pay a deposit for the pet. In some cases, the landlord may require you to pay first month’s rent plus last month’s rent and a security deposit. The important thing to remember is to find out exactly what will be required before you sign anything.
OK, moving day. You’ve taken ten minutes and packed up all your worldly possessions. Mom is standing by the door weeping because her baby is now ready to fly the coop. Even though you needed them to give you 20 bucks to go out last week, you are ready to be an independent adult. Dad is also standing by the door, but he’s got a slight grin on his face. Why you ask? He is planning how to turn your room into his office or new entertainment center! But forget about that for now. You’ve found the apartment, signed the rental agreement, paid your fees and are moving in. Now what?
1. Have the phone turned on.
2. Have all the utilities turned on.
3. Have cable activated if you’re using cable or even have a television.
4. Move all your stuff in (which is usually a bag or two).
5. Get some furniture in that place (beanbags are popular in first apartments).
6. Get some food in the fridge.
7. Make sure you have at least a towel or two and don’t forget the toilet paper.
8. A vacuum cleaner would be nice.
9. Get hooked up for Internet access (might be part of your cable or phone service).
10. Get some plates and silverware and maybe a glass or two (you may get tired of paper plates and plastic silverware).
This is a fun and exciting time in your life. Sitting in your new apartment for the first time is great feeling of accomplishment for both you and your parents!
Joe Kahler is an expert on helping young adults successfully transition from home to being “out on their own". His latest work has recently been assembled in his book, Out On My Own…Now What? Tips and Insights So You Won’t Be Left Hanging in the “Real World"! (It has already received the Mom’s Choice Award and the Family Choice Award.) Go to http://www.outonmyown.com to learn more.