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How To Move Out On Your Own For The First Time

Moving out of home is always an exciting time for any one. It represents an opportunity for more freedom from living with your parents and/ or siblings. But at the same time, it can be super stressful trying to figure out how to move out on your own for the first time.

Wanting to move out of your house is simple enough. But when you break down the things you need to do or accomplish, it can become overwhelming quick.

You have to find a good location, good apartment or house, roommates with money (I’ll explain this soon), and furnish wherever you plan on laying your head. There are a million little things and it’s human to miss a thing or two.

When I was budgeting moving into my first “big girl” apartment, I completely forgot to budget cash that I would need for furniture. It sounds extremely silly to type out here but it’s true. I winded up sleeping on the couch for 2 weeks until I got paid and could afford a new bed.

And I don’t want you to repeat the same mistakes I made, seriously!

You should move out of home with the confidence that you can succeed and prepared for what may come your way. You may not be able to avoid every bump in the road, but I want to make this journey for you as easy and straightforward as possible.

Figure Out Budget

Before you can leave home, you have to decide what amount you’re going to budget for rent and all the other bills that come with your first apartment. This includes electricity, water, trash/ disposal depending if you rent a house, etc. Moving out means you’ll be on your own a and a budget is a great way to keep your finances organized.

Not sure how to figure out your budget?

If you’re starting a new job or are already employed, you can use your income to help you determine budget. A good rule of thumb is the 30% rule. This means to not allow your rent to exceed 30% of your gross monthly income.

If you’re income is $1500 per month, then rent should not exceed $450. This gives you room to pay your rent comfortably, pay for additional housing expenses, and be able to feed yourself. Yes, eating is important!

Related: How To Create A Budget: 5 Steps for Beginners

Pick Out A Location

Once you’ve figured out your budget for your new place, it’s time to pick what location. Location is something I cannot give you entirely, as it will really depend on the specific place you’re living. With that being said, I do think there are a few things you should pay attention to when looking for a location. Some things to think of are:

  • Distance to work/ school–You want to make sure your commute is something you’re comfortable with. When i first moved out, I found the city that would make my commute reasonable. I was definitely not interested in traveling more than 1 hour each way!
  • Safety–Do you feel comfortable going out during the day and at night in this location? What’s the environment like? Everyone has a different comfort level so find what works for you. However, it is always a good rule of thumb to visit a potential town or city during the day and at night. Sometimes things can completely change in a matter of hours.
  • Things to do–We all have our own interests and hobbies–make sure this location fits yours. Maybe you love trying new restaurants on the weekend. Moving to a city where there are no good food spots may be annoying for you. So just make sure it fits your lifestyle.

Find Roommates To Move Out With

Finding roommates can be rough but all hope is not lost! If you have a close friend or a family member you can room with, that is awesome! However I realize that’s not always the case and sometimes you may have to find a complete stranger to share living space with.

Not going to lie, it can be scary.

However, it will be easier if you look for certain signs. I think it’s similar to dating. You want to find someone you are compatible with. Realistically you’ll be spending a good amount of time with this person and want to make sure you can get along, even if you don’t wind up becoming BFFs.

You also want to look for signs they are reliable and responsible. Are they employed? Will they be able to comfortably cover their portion of the bills? How do they like to take care of shared spaces?

These are just a few questions that you should consider and ask a potential roommate. I don’t think there are every too many questions you can ask, but keep in mind some people will give you the best version of themselves, and not always the most accurate version of themselves. Just be prepared!

Review The Lease

Let’s say you found a great location, a wonderful roommate and now you both are ready to sign a lease for a new apartment you’ve found. It’s now time to review the lease and make sure you both are on the same page.

Ideally you both should be signing the lease. This ensures that every person is sharing the responsibility for the apartment. A few other things you should make sure are covered in your lease:

  • Security Deposits–This will vary by state but I know in California, landlords will require 1 month security deposit that is equal to the monthly rent. Some places my require first month’s rent, last month’s rent and a separate deposit. Make sure your clear on all the deposits you’ll need to provide and how it will be returned once you vacate the apartment.
  • Maintenance–How will issues in the apartment be handled? Sometimes these are handled directly by your landlord or through a maintenance department if you live in a building. Just make sure you’re clear on how to escalate an issue with the apartment in case it comes up!
  • Breaking the lease–It’s not something I’d recommend (it’s a huge drain and it can impact your credit score, womp), but life happens and sometimes you have to move unexpectedly. Some leases will have a clause that allows you to break the lease as long as you pay a certain fee, while other leases don’t allow it at all. This may mean that if you break the lease, you’ll still be financially responsible for the full year lease!
  • Grace Period for Late Payments–Most leases will give you a grace period on when rent is due. This is usually around 3-5 days after rent is due but make sure you and your roomie are clear on this period so you aren’t hit with any late fees.

Start Packing For Your Move

Now you should be ready to start packing. I would recommend ordering a few moving boxes from Amazon (they are super cheap) and start organizing what you’ll bring.

This is also a great time to de-clutter! Try to minimize what you’re bringing as it’ll just be more of a hassle on moving day. Think of the most necessary items you’ll need first and work your way backwards from there.

You’ll need furniture like a bed, a dresser and other items that will fill your shared living space. If you have a roomie, then you may want to discuss who is bringing what so you don’t end up with 2 of everything!

Schedule Installations

I would also suggest setting up your internet/ cable, electricity and other utility bills before you move in> This makes it easier and will create a seamless transition for when you move.

Normally I try to set up internet or cable installation the day I move in so I can at least have some entertainment. If you can’t, no worries, just try to get it when it makes the most sense for you.

Pick Up Your Keys

It’s time to grab yo’ keys! You can try to schedule this ahead of time, but normally it will happen on the day you move in (unless you negotiated to receive the keys ahead of time).

This is also your opportunity to ask more clarifying questions and do a walk-through with your landlord. Many landlords will provide a checklist that you’ll complete together that allows you both to note of anything that is worn, broken, or may need replacement.

If they don’t provide a checklist, I would create your own and have them sign off on it. This may be used to handle disputes at the end of your lease when it’s time to move out. Trust me, you don’t want to be responsible for fixing or replacing something that was on it’s way out when you initially moved in!

Move Out Time!

Now you are ready to start your new chapter in your new place! While this is a super exciting time, i know it can also feel extremely stressful.

Take some time to process everything you just did. I mean looking for your first apartment, finding a roommate, saving up for the deposit + rent, etc. It’s a WHOLE lot and you should be proud of all that you’ve accomplished.

You go girl!

How was moving out for the first time for you? Comment below!

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