How to Handle Your First Apartment

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How to Handle Your First Apartment

This blog post was written by Alexis Vaughn our University of Illinois Campus Ambassador.

Sooner or later everyone reaches an age when it’s time to leave the nest. As much as some of us would like to spend our lives under the comfort and security of our parents, creating our own home is one of the first steps into adulthood. And with the great power of adulthood comes the great responsibility of handling your first apartment. Here are some things to keep in mind when it comes to moving out and getting a place of your own.

Research. It is very rare that the first available apartment you find will be the apartment you commit to. It usually takes weeks and even months so don’t get discouraged. But before starting your search, there are many questions you need to ask yourself. Questions like “How much can I afford each month?”, “How long will my commute to work/school be?”, and “How many bedrooms do I need?” can all affect the type of apartment you decide on. Online is a great place to start but websites may not be able to give you all the information you are looking for. Always call and confirm certain answers if you are unsure or confused. Research and planning can be the hardest step but remember that if you fail to plan, you plan to fail.

Visiting the Apartment. This is arguably one of most important aspects of getting your first apartment. This is not only where you get to see your potential living space, but it’s one of the only in-person encounters you have with the company before signing your lease. Use this time to your advantage by inspecting every inch of the apartment. Flush toilets, open cabinets, and do anything else that gives you security about the apartment. The last thing you want is to sign a lease and then discover there’s something in the apartment that needs to be replaced. Another thing to do while visiting the apartment is ask questions. Knowing information like when your appliances were last replaced, if utilities are included in your rent and knowing what day of the month rent is due are all things to consider. There is no such thing as a stupid question and it’s better to ask the questions sooner rather than later. But visiting the apartment isn’t just about questions. Visualize yourself making your home there. Can you see this being your new apartment?

Moving In. This is the fun part of the process. After you’ve asked all the important questions, realized this is the apartment for you, and signed your lease, it’s time to move in! Preparing for your move in date is the most fun because it involves shopping. Since you’ve already been inside your apartment you should be well aware of all the things you’re going to need. Picture each room in your apartment and what’s missing. Is your apartment furnished? Does your kitchen have a microwave? Will your old bedsheets fit your new bed or do you need a new set? If it’s in your budget, don’t forget to consider decorations! But before you go spending all your money, be sure to see if you can use what you already have. If not, you can always check with friends and family for extra supplies and furniture before making your way to the store.

There is a lot of work that goes into owning your own apartment and everyone’s experience is different. It may take longer than you expected, but with the right research and planning, handling your first apartment can be one of the most exciting experiences you go through as a young adult.