We are now at the stage when the boys are talking about moving into their own place!
An exciting time for all 🙂
Here is my advice, to ensure eyes are wide open and surprises are minimized.
When preparing to move-out, from underneath the roof of one’s parents, there are a number of considerations (questions to ask, research, thinking and planning to perform), including:
- Location, location, location
- What is in vs. what is out
- Other, related expenses
- Minimize the drama
- Scope your options, from afar
Location, location, location
This is the primary consideration as it will directly impact your quality of life, including:
- The type of people / neighbors you are likely to encounter
- Safety and security for you, your belongings (in the apartment) and your car
- Your time “on the road” to get to/from work, school, grocery shopping, etc.
- Recreation and leisure – Is it within close proximity (walking distance) of “things to do” – a park, mall, downtown, etc.
- And, finally, the monthly rent
Like many topics, this is a double-edged sword.
The most desirable locations will cost more than the less desirable locations.
There are several other factors related to cost, starting with the funding needed to get into the apartment, including:
- The security deposit (typically one month’s rent, that the landlord will hang-on to until you move out – with no damages)
- The first month’s rent (to move in)
What is in vs. what is out
Once you’ve honed in on the location(s) to be considered it is time to better understand the monthly costs, which is more than just the rent payment. To start, it is important to confirm what is included in the rent vs. what you are expected to cover on your own. The “potential” variable items include:
- Heat and A/C
- Cable / Internet
- Garbage collection
- Snow removal
- Access to the gym, pool, etc.
In addition, you’ll want to know what furnishings come with the apartment, vs. those you are expected to provide. Considerations include:
- Furniture – Kitchen table and chairs. Sofa, lamps, end tables, desk(s), beds, etc.
- Basic furnishings – Shower curtain, window shades, etc.
- Appliances – Refrigerator, stove, microwave, washer/dryer (typically laundry facilities are available, but this should be confirmed)
As such, when you are checking out apartments be sure to make note of these things during the viewing and ask the landlord (make no assumptions about what you see in the “model” apartment) so you aren’t surprised on day-1 with the things you may need to acquire in order to settle-in.
Other / related expenses
Now that you are moving out from underneath mom and dad’s roof, there are several other expenses that you’ll need to cover, and items you’ll need to provide, including:
- Groceries – This is way more than food. It includes all the products and supplies that are taken for granted that you happen to find and use around the bathroom, kitchen, etc.
- Furnishings – Towels and linens (bed sheets, etc.), shower curtain, pillows. Pots, pans, dishes and eating utensils.
- Your clothing, cell phone bill, etc., if you aren’t already paying these.
- Apartment insurance to cover your belongings in the event the building burns down or you are robbed. Your landlord does NOT protect you against such events.
- And, one of the very last things the boys are thinking about. Cleaning supplies 🙂
Now that you’ve considered the cost-related factors, you’ll want to…
Minimize the variables
In my early days I lived in apartments with as many as 6 people (we were ultimately thrown out, luckily without any charges being pressed) to as few as 2 people, and everything in between. I have found that the most “stable” apartment living arrangement is when there are ONLY 2 people living together. It significantly reduces the variables and drama that increases exponentially with the addition of others to your living arrangements.
These variables include, but are not limited to:
- Varying lifestyles – Work schedules, sleep schedules, partying “habits”, financial habits
- Sharing – Inevitably, we will have things that are “just ours” vs. those things that can be shared. If there are several people living together it literally becomes a free-for-all. If there is only one other person living with you, you know exactly who ate your food, drank your beverage, used your deodorant or towel 🙂
- The arrival of the roommate’s new girlfriend (or boyfriend) on the scene and the entirely new set of factors introduced into the equation
- And finally, like the reality-show Survivor, any time there are more than 2 people, alliances will be formed and there WILL be an “odd man out.”
To keep things simple, identify a highly compatible roommate with whom you work out a few basic guidelines, BEFORE signing a lease. Because, once you’ve signed the lease – you are STUCK. Stuck living in a situation that you may not desire or STUCK making payments for an apartment that you are no longer living in because you decided to bail early. Yes, you remain responsible for your part of the monthly payment regardless of how you feel about your roommate.
Now that you’ve at least thought about all the above and are truly ready to begin exploring, you can easily…
Scope your options from afar
Whether you are looking for an apartment across town, or across the country, a useful service is Zillow.com. They have a website and app that allows you to filter on numerous variables to narrow down your search, view pictures and other details about available rentals and finally, they provide a method to contact the landlord.
Within a matter of minutes, you should be able to identify a few options enabling you to take the next step of setting up an appointment for a viewing.
Just don’t forget this list 🙂
Given that you have the means, taking into account the above considerations will make the big move as seamless and painless as possible.