When I moved into my first apartment, I didn’t know exactly what to expect. I asked my older sister “What do I need to know before moving into an apartment for the first time?” and this is what she told me:
- Take photos of everything
- Go to Thrift Stores
- Check Cell coverage
- Pay attention to the windows
- Stakeout the neighborhood at night
- Street noise
These are just some of the important items that I found were the most helpful for me. I still go over these tips every time I have moved since.
Take photos of Everything!
The first thing you should do when you find an apartment is take as much photos as you can before you move your stuff in. This is to keep record of any damage that you may be blamed for when you move out. Your deposit should cover damages you made (hopefully non) and not for damages that were already there.
When I move in, I take photos of everything in the apartment. I usually take up to about 100 photos. Open the counters, take a photo. Look inside the fridge and oven, *snap & snap*. Open the toilet seat, take a photo. I think you get the idea.
You are alone in this, and it’s your job to protect yourself by taking photos of everything. Be prepared by having proof for potential future issues that may arise.
I can tell you from my experience that I’ve had to dispute my deposit only once so far. I was able to provide photos to the landlord to prove that I did not make the damages that were reported to me. It helped that my photos were time stamped from my mobile phone.
Go to thrift stores
If you’re moving into an apartment for the first time, you should know that you can get away living on used items.
For example, you can go to a local goodwill and fully stock your kitchen with appliances, pans, dishes, and other items you may need. This will save you a ton of money.
You don’t need to go to name brand stores to get essential items. It’s already bad enough that most landlords require the 1st month rent and a deposit. Therefore, you don’t need to add more crazy expenses with the things you can get cheap.
I’ve gone over extensively on how you can save money in this article.
Check the cell coverage
My sister fell for this trap when she first moved, and I remember her complaining all the time. It was annoying not being able to talk to her because the line kept dropping.
When you go see the apartment, make sure to look at your phone for cell coverage. If you have full coverage, then you are set.
If you find that you are low on bars, you may want to consider changing carriers. You can go to the carrier’s website to see their phone coverage map in the area you’re looking to move in.
If it’s a rural area that won’t have good coverage from any carrier, then it may not be the best spot to live in.
Most phones now have Wi-Fi calling or apps that let you speak to each other over Wi-Fi. But if your internet were to drop then you will be left with no connectivity to contact your friends and family.
Pay attention to the windows
This one is easy to miss if you’re moving out for the first time. When I moved in, I made sure that my windows were not facing the sun in the mornings. The reason why I chose this is because I didn’t want my apartment unit to be warm when utility prices are high during peak hours.
This is something I already knew from my previous home. My room used to have a window that had the sun directly shinning for about 10 hours. This would always keep my room warm, and it was annoying during the summer. I would have to crank up the AC and I felt the impact in my wallet every summer.
Depending on where you live, east facing windows usually have the sun shinning in during the morning/daytime. West facing windows will have the sun hitting in the afternoons. If you have a preference, make sure to look at where the windows are facing during your walk through.
Steak out the neighborhood at night
When I was hunting for my first apartment, I found a potential unit that I believed was the perfect spot for me.
I thought that was true until I drove around the apartment at night and ran into loud neighbors bumping their music out of their vehicle inside the complex. It happened to be on a weekday at around 11pm.
This automatically turned me off because I knew then that I would have neighbors that don’t respect the community rules.
I also heard fireworks in the area while I was arriving to the property.
Another issue I noticed was that the street noise was as loud as it was during the day. You would think that street noise would die down during the night compared to peak driving hours. I was totally wrong!
I was so glad to be able to find this out before I accepted the lease and saved myself from sleepless noisy nights.
Keep the apartment clean!
Keep on top of your cleaning! For me, this was the ultimate tip that has impacted my first apartment experience.
The dishes should be washed either at the end of your meal, or at the end of the day. Don’t leave them overnight! I REPEAT! DON’T! This is how you invite late night critters into your apartment and feed them and their family. The last thing you need is to have a family of insects being fed in your apartment and expanding their population.
Furthermore, pick up after yourself every time you leave a room. Keep your things organized and make a habit of putting things where they belong. Doing these things daily will keep your space clean and save you time with cleaning.
Final thoughts – know before moving into an apartment for the first time
There maybe more things I can bring up, but for me, these are the most important things to know before moving into an apartment for the first time. I’ve highlighted the most impactful tips that were passed to me, that I now bestow to you. These helped me a lot when I moved out for the first time and every time I have moved since.
The sole purpose of these tips is to give you the right mindset on what you need to do so you have the best moving experience. Moving out shouldn’t be stressful. After all, we all do it, some of us more efficiently than others.