Moving into an apartment for the first time can be truly exciting. It’s the start of a new life where you hope to get the independence and freedom you’ve wanted for so long.
But moving into your first apartment won’t likely be a walk in the park, and you’re expected to face a number of difficulties, both during the relocation process itself and right after you move into the new place.
To help you manage the apartment moving task successfully, here’s a good checklist for moving into your first apartment. Follow the 10 first apartment tips below and you shouldn’t have any particular move-related problems or post-move issues.
1. Make sure you’re financially ready
Moving into your first apartment is a very big step in a person’s life. Therefore, before you move out from the place you live in right now, you have to make sure that you’re ready for that important step, both mentally and financially.
Once you find yourself in the new apartment, various costs will start adding up quickly, maybe more quickly than you would like. And in order to avoid financial problems early on, you must have enough money saved to weather the storm in the beginning. That’s right – every new beginning is tough, including when moving into an apartment for the first time.
Bear in mind that apartment costs and living expenses tend to be at their highest during the first few months. Are you financially ready for what’s coming?
When moving into your first apartment, you’ll have to cover the following major costs:
- Cost of moving house: the price of hiring professional movers + any extra costs such as the cost of packing supplies and additional services;
- Rent or mortgage for the apartment: usually the first three months paid in advance;
- Security deposit: often required when you’re a renter;
- Cost of utilities: sometimes including a security deposit with the utilities companies;
- Emergency fund: because anything can happen during and right after a move.
2. Prepare a moving budget
It’s very important that you create a preliminary budget when moving into an apartment for the first time. Have in mind that a considerable amount of money is likely to go for furnishing your first apartment but there’s some good news here as well – you don’t have to do it all at once but do it gradually and methodically in time.
Now, as far as moving costs are concerned, you just have to know what to expect from a financial standpoint when moving into your very first apartment. In most cases, it’s impossible to know exactly how much your move will cost you, but it’s possible to get a fairly accurate idea by creating a moving budget.
Here’s what your moving budget should include when hiring movers:
- Moving company fee. Local movers charge on an hourly basis whereas interstate movers charge a flat rate based on the move distance, shipment weight, and additional services.
- Moving insurance. Purchase moving insurance (Full Value Protection) for your valuable items.
- Extra moving services. Each add-on moving service will cost you extra: packing, unpacking, furniture disassembly and re-assembly, temporary storage, etc.
- Extra charges and fees. Factor in possible extra charges by your moving company: flight charge (too many stairs), long carry charge, bulky items charge, extra stops fee, travel fee, etc.
3. Pick the right apartment for you
Picking up the right place is crucial – it’s going to be your first apartment so you need to get it right the first time around. So, when selecting the apartment to move to, keep in mind the following selection criteria:
- Location. The location of the apartment you’re renting or buying should play a major role in your decision. Is it located in a nice neighborhood? How close is it to your workplace? Is it close to any green areas? Is it a quiet place with less noise? You’ll probably have a few personal requirements for the new place too.
- Safety. Is the new apartment located in a safe neighborhood with a low crime rate? Is the apartment itself secure? It’ll make a huge difference knowing that you’re moving to a safe place.
- Price. Without a doubt, the cost of the monthly rent or mortgage will affect your decision one way or another. It’s relatively easy to get greedy but remember this: experts recommend that the monthly price you pay for your first apartment should not exceed 30% of your disposable income.
Don’t rush your decision – instead, look around and check out several apartments before you make up your mind.
4. Be cautious when signing the lease
Before you sign the apartment lease, you need to make sure that you agree with all the terms and conditions laid out in it. Therefore, the first step is to read it carefully, and then, in case there are some clauses you disagree with or fail to comprehend completely, you are expected to discuss the issues either with the landlord or with the real estate agent, whenever applicable.
To avoid possible problems or misunderstandings in the future, pay close attention to everything that’s written down in the lease agreement. What will happen if you’re late with the rent? Are you allowed to have a pet with you? What’s the policy on visitors?
When moving into an apartment for the very first time, there are usually quite a lot of details to sort out. Therefore, should you find yourself rather confused about some of the issues, seek advice from someone who has more experience in renting an apartment than you.
5. Map out your new apartment (Floor plan)
To be able to move some furniture to the new apartment, you’re going to have to create a floor plan of that place, or get one from your landlord or the real estate agency. That way, you’ll know exactly how much space you have to work with and use the apartment layout to help you make important decisions in terms of what to take with you and what to leave behind.
The idea of creating a floor plan is so that you can determine the available space in the new apartment by taking the necessary measurements of the bulky furniture pieces you’re thinking about moving with you. If it turns out that a furniture item is too big to fit in there, don’t take it with you.
A floor plan of the new place will also help you out during the process of furnishing the apartment – help you come up with the best home decor solutions and avoid bad decisions that you will come to regret after the move.
6. Move only the things you’ll need
You don’t have any experience in moving into an apartment, so one rookie mistake you may make is to take with you a lot of things that you won’t really need later on. In reality, packing and moving unnecessary household items will not only increase the moving price – the heavier the shipment, the more your mover will charge you, but it can also create storage issues in the new place.
Here are 3 steps that should enable you to pare down your possessions and end up with nothing but the most essential items for the new place:
- Step 1. Inventory the belongings you have at the moment by creating a detailed house inventory prior to the move.
- Step 2. Mark the things that you’re moving no matter what – those are the must-take items that will take with you regardless of the moving cost or the space available in the apartment you’re moving into.
- Step 3. Decide the fate of the items you’re either not moving with you or you’re not sure what to do with – super-large furniture items, duplicates, outdated items, or clothes and shoes you’ll never wear again. All in all, you’ve got 3 options when it comes to leave-behind things – sell them for profit, give them away to friends or family, or donate them to strangers.
As a rule of thumb, you shouldn’t move anything that you haven’t used in more than a year.
7. Pack your things with safety in mind
What do you need to do before moving into your first apartment? Pack up your things in the safest way possible, of course.
Depending on how many items you’ve decided to move with you and the nature of those things, packing for a move can range from being fairly straightforward to extremely hard. And yet, regardless of how your own packing adventure goes, the safety of your possessions should be your number one priority.
When moving into an apartment for the first time, here are the main packing principles to keep your things safe during transport:
- Start packing up your things early – really early. The more time you’ve got to complete the packing task, the more packing effort you should be able to spare.
- Get hold of quality packing supplies. If you choose to use second-hand boxes to cut packing and moving costs, then inspect those cardboard containers very carefully for any signs of pre-existing damage or infestation.
- Don’t skimp on wrapping and padding materials, especially when you’re packing extra-fragile items. In most cases, soft packing paper, bubble wrap, and furniture blankets will do a great job in protecting your breakables.
- Consider hiring professional packers if you’ve got specialty items that require special packing care, such as a piano or a grandfather clock.
8. Hire top-rated apartment movers
Moving into your first apartment is a big deal and it’s important that you get it right from the first try.
You’re likely to have little or no move-related experience whatsoever, so the chance of you making costly moving mistakes will be much higher if you choose to organize a DIY move. Due to your house moving inexperience, a self-move can easily result in property damage or worse – a serious and painful personal injury.
The extra stress and hassle when moving to an apartment for the first time will also tip the scales in favor of hiring the services of a top-rated moving company in your area. Bear in mind that the best apartment movers in the country have extensive experience in the field and know exactly what it takes to complete a problem-free move from start to finish.
How much does it cost to move into an apartment? Use our Moving Cost Calculator to get accurate moving quotes from licensed, reputable, and experienced apartment moving companies near you.
9. Maximize the space in the new apartment
In most cases, you’ll have to resort to various techniques for maximizing the living space in your new apartment. Here are some space management ideas that you should find extremely helpful, especially if you’re moving into a studio apartment:
- The vertical space inside an apartment is often overlooked, so it’s a great idea to start using it more efficiently. One excellent way to do just that is to install storage cabinets or shelves that go from the floor all the way to the ceiling.
- Moving into your first apartment is also about finding good solutions that work exceptionally well under the circumstances. For example, use storage spaces that often remain neglected: the area under the bed, the space above the fridge, etc.
- Whenever possible, get multi-purpose furniture for your new apartment. A bed with drawers inside it and a coffee table with extra space inside it are always welcome for first-time apartment movers.
- Sometimes the space between the top of a tall furniture piece and the ceiling can be used to keep storage boxes with stuff in them. So, do it, whenever applicable.
10. Turn the apartment into your dream home
The best thing about moving into an apartment is that you’ll have the perfect opportunity to turn into the home you’ve always wanted to have.
Be mindful that it’ll take some time before you begin to feel the new place like your own home – you can’t really expect to feel comfortable and cozy immediately after the move. Besides time, it’ll usually take a bit of effort on your part to sense that special connection to the new place.
When moving into your first apartment, it’s mostly about applying the finishing touches with a dose of creativity that will bring comfort and warmth into the still unfamiliar living space.
- Place pretty plants throughout the apartment;
- Hang photos and paintings on the wall to personalize the space;
- Lay beautiful area rugs on the floors;
- Hang colorful curtains to bring a lively mood into the rooms;
- Use various lighting techniques and play with them to create a unique atmosphere, and most importantly
- Surround yourself with special items that bring joyful memories and happier times.