The time has come..I am officially moving out of my parents house! OMG! Three years after undergrad and one year after getting my masters degree and it’s finally happening! Although finding my first apartment was unexpected, I still felt ready to move out because I have prepared for this moment for a while! Enjoy pictures of my first apartment throughout this blog post and keep reading to learn how to find your first apartment!
Step One – Determine Your Budget and Save!
Whether you want to be in an luxury high-rise or a quaint studio, there is nothing wrong with having extra funds on hand before you move out! Start doing research on what area you want to live in and see how much rent is in that area. We’ll use $1,000 through out this blog post just to make things easier! Once you know your rent cost, think about how fast you want to move out! Six months, two years, four years? This will determine how fast you need to save!
Three things will determine your first apartments budget:
1. How much you make
2. How fast you want (or need) to move out
3. Your future rent cost
Pro Tip: You should have about 6 months of rent saved up before moving out (if you can)!
The Move Out Formula: Your Potential Rent Cost X 6 / # of Months You Want to Live At Home = Your Monthly Savings Goal before moving out!
Example: $1,000 X 6 = $6,000 / 12 months = $500 Monthly Savings Goal!
Learn how to create a savings plan in my previous blog post, here!
Step Two – Start Looking and Prioritize!
This can be one of the most exciting parts of the journey – THE HUNT! Once you know how much you’re willing to spend on rent each month you can start to look around for apartments in your budget. Of course cities like Los Angeles are more expensive than others, but this is where your level of sacrifice comes into play! You’ll either need to work more to save more, decrease your desired rent cost, think about getting a roommate to help with rent, or be patient and save slowly but surely!
Four areas to consider when looking for your first apartment are:
- Price – How much does rent cost with utilities?
- Safety – How safe is the neighborhood?
- Amenities – What does the apartment come with? (Appliances, parking, laundry room, etc.)
- Proximity – Where do you want to be close to? (Work, school, your favorite hang out spots, etc.)
Personally I started out wanting the best amenities, but then realized it would take me forever to move out! After a few months, I realized my number one priority is safety and price! I wanted to live in a safe neighborhood for a lower cost which meant I had to be patient, save more for a longer period of time, and potentially get a roommate!
Three websites you should check out for apartment hunting:
- Zillow – Super easy to navigate this site and easy to find apartments in similar price ranges!
- Trulia – Also super easy to navigate but I love the option to search the crime level in the area
- Pad Mapper – Lots of great filters on this site; including short-term leases and Airbnb’s!
- Your Two Feet – NOT a website hehe! Many say actually going out and looking with your own eyes is a great way to find an apartment in the area you want!
Step Three – Be Prepared For Move In!
In the end, I got really lucky and found a super nice studio apartment, close to my family and my favorite hang out spots, in an extremely safe neighborhood, and within my budget! Wooohoooo! I did have to sacrifice on a few things: Street parking only and I need to buy a refrigerator, but HONEY I’LL TAKE IT! This apartment was meant for me!
A good reason to have six months of rent saved before moving is because moving can sometimes cost up to two months worth of rent or MORE!
Some Apartments May Ask For:
- A security deposit
- First and last months rent
- Application fee
- Good credit (620 or higher)
- Background Check
- A months worth of paycheck stubs
- An extra monthly pet fee (if you have one)
- Renters Insurance
Add that all up and you can easily be back to square one with your savings! Not including buying your furniture, moving costs (like renting a u-haul, buying moving boxes, etc.), and of course making your new apartment feel like home! I’m currently in the process of doing all of this and while it’s extremely exciting, it’s also scary too!
Pro Tip: Take your time decorating your apartment! Do not feel rushed by friends, Youtube, or your inner Joanna Gaines! It will all come together and everyone understands the process it takes trying to turn a space into your own!
Have you moved into your first apartment yet? Let me know in the comments! I would LOVE to hear your experience!
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Thanks for reading,