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defence
04-05-2010, 05:55 PM
I have decided that it's time for me to leave my parent's place and move into a new one. My friend warned me about scammers and to do some research before making a final decision.

For those who are living on their own, what are some things to look for when moving into a new apartment? I would appreciate the help, thank you

Edit: It's cheaper for me to rent a room rather than an apartment, considering I'm still in school

GŁth
04-05-2010, 06:08 PM
Get the place inspected for mold, even if the landlord says it's mold free. Also, if you're looking at multiple places and some offer utilities included and others don't make sure you compare prices and figure out how much it would cost you to pay those utilities instead of having them included.

In some cases you might end up being better off paying them on your own if the rent is much cheaper than a place that has them included. If you live in a very rural area and want internet, make sure you'll be able to get service in those locations as well, there are still many parts of my state that do not offer broadband access.

Jalousie
04-05-2010, 06:35 PM
Agencies can be really great for avoiding scams and terrible rentals. I found my current flat via an agency and it's well worth the one-off agency fee. We don't have to deal directly with the owner of the property, there are standardised contracts, I can cancel with a month's notice, I know the rental holds up to official standards and best of all we can ring the agency for emergency repairs. In the UK it's typical to organise bills and Internet for yourself so make sure you run some comparisons. Ask your parents what their average monthly bills are.

Bills in general: I don't know how old you are so apologies if this comes off simplistic, but do your maths before you commit to anything. Find an average price for the kind of rental you want. Add monthly or quarterly bills, Internet, food costs then add a little more for emergencies. Make a budget. Save up some money beforehand so you have resources.

Is the property fully furnished or part furnished? Does it have a washing machine, fridge, etc.? If it's in a block of flats, what are the block rules? Are the common areas cleaned by an agency or is there a residents' committee? Is there security - a property having an alarm system may affect your insurance, which I'm sure you've already thought about researching and purchasing.

On a more day to day level, write a list of everything you need to function on your own. Not just pots and pans, towels and linen, but also more esoteric things like a toolkit, torch, document box with all your necessary paperwork. If you're sharing with friends or parents stuff like that often gets forgotten, but when you're trying to put together your IKEA flatpacks you'll be grateful for a hammer.

That's all I can think of off the top of my head - if I remember anything else I'll edit.

Banterloft
04-06-2010, 06:59 AM
Toolbox with more than Ducttape in it would be a great start. Remember there is more to living on your own than you think. Bills are yours to deal with. Cleaning is yours to deal with. Shopping is yours to deal with.

- Learn to cook. - Even if its just the small stuff at first you will save TONS of money by cooking for yourself.
- Learn how to shop - Get on a shopping schedule. If you go to the store once every two weeks then you will need to make a list for 14 dinners and 14 lunches. When you get to the store, stick to you list. I know people that feed families of 5 and 6 well on $500 a month using this strat.
- Do not move in with friends - Someone is going to let someone down. You don't want to be that person.
- Use an agent. - This is the best way to avoid scams and it gives you a service that you can call at any point to complain or if you need service.
- Need furniture, try reconsiliation houses and goodwill - Don't be bashful, Goodwill stores and markets aren't for the homeless and you won't get anything for free. What you can get is a great deal on furniture that you need. When I first started college my roommate and I had NOTHING. We cooked in a camping pan and drove our clothes 70 miles to his parent's house once every two weeks. We started surfing Goodwill's and in a few weeks we both had bedroom suits, a couch, a loveseat, a stack washer/dryer, all the cookware we needed and we came in around 300 bucks. You just can't beat that deal man.
- Stay on top of your contract - Be sure that you know everything thats in your contract and keep it in a safe place. Get a lock box or a document box as Jal suggested. Know when your contract has been breached and know what to do about it.
- Be honest - Ok, so you and your roommate got alittle to drunk while playing Wii last night and someone's head went thru the wall and now the outlets in the kitchen aren't working. Be honest with your landlord. Offer to help fix the problem or do some research to find the most affordable fix. Trust me, this isn't the first time this has happened. Most owners know things like this happen and will respect you for coming clean instead of hanging a picture over it and hopeing it will go away.

Penlowe
04-07-2010, 04:52 AM
Do not move in with friends - Someone is going to let someone down. You don't want to be that person.
Good friends don't always make good room mates and good room mates aren't always the best of friends. My best room mates from college shared opinions on things like : cleanliness, personal space, chores/ duties, and messages (you know, like telling you your mom called as soon as you get home instead of three days later). Don't be afraid to set a calendar up in the kitchen and write on it who is in charge of dishes this week, taking out trash and buying the milk.

In general, having room mates is a good thing. Learning how to live under the same roof with another human being can, in an extrapolated way, help us learn what we want in a spouse. Besides, it's handy to have someone to freak out with when you hear police raiding the apartment down stairs.

If you move into a big complex with professional management, your contract is going to be more rigid than renting the servants quarters apartment from an old lady, but your maintainance and security will be more reliable. Things like always having a parking space or a safe place to lock up your bike will vary with the types of places you look at, don't get swept away by free basic cable if walking half a mile to your car/ bike/ bus stop is going to make you hate your apartment.

I agree with second hand goods in your first apartment, it's really a no brainer and can be really fun to get an ugly desk from Salvation Army then go to town with Mod Podge and paper to make something cool. You can look here for nifty recons www.craftster.org (my current favorite is the periodic table coffee table out of cardboard). Don't forget to ask mom too, she may be dying to get rid of those mismatched plates and giving them to you is the excuse she needs for new ones.

Shortypop
04-07-2010, 05:13 AM
My main piece of advice which hasn't been mentioned yet would be to see several places before making a decision, once you've got to a stage when you can understand why one is cheaper/more expensive than another one, then you're good to go. Also, make sure you know whether its normal to negotiate on rent amount or if there is no room for "wiggle" - length of contract, length of notice are all "hidden" dangers.

Banterloft
04-07-2010, 08:18 AM
Something that I forgot to add is to make sure you know exactly how much you have to spend in the long run. If your math looks like this...

Avg income $1500 a month
Carpayment - $400
Bills - $300
Nice, I can afford $800 a month rent!....You are WRONG.

Do you complete budget and do it for a short pay month. You need to make sure that not only can you make your bills but that you have money lft over after gas/food/beer for fun things you want to do. If you don't eventually you are going to be faced with the decision to pay your electric or go party this weekend and 8 times out of 10 a 19 or 20 year old will party...

Jalousie
04-07-2010, 11:06 AM
Good friends don't always make good room mates and good room mates aren't always the best of friends. My best room mates from college shared opinions on things like : cleanliness, personal space, chores/ duties, and messages (you know, like telling you your mom called as soon as you get home instead of three days later). Don't be afraid to set a calendar up in the kitchen and write on it who is in charge of dishes this week, taking out trash and buying the milk.

This is so true. Figure these things out before you move in with someone. If you're asking everyone to clean up after themselves and someone throws a hissy fit, it's not going to work. I live with a good friend of mine at present and we get along just fine as we're both quiet, clean up when we're done in the kitchen and let each other know when we're going somewhere and will be back late. Just got to set boundaries at the beginning and be communicative when there's a problem.

bling581
04-08-2010, 12:13 PM
This may not be an issue depending on where you live but if the place you're looking at doesn't include heat find out what type of heat it is and how much it might cost you. My first place was only 550 square feet with electric heat that I paid for myself. I live in Wisconsin so the winters can be pretty cold. Keeping the heat at 68-70 degrees when at home and even less when I went to work still got me electricity bills of $100-120 a month. My new place is almost 900 square feet with heat included and I pay around $40 for electricity which is a pretty big difference.

defence
04-12-2010, 07:31 AM
Thank you for everyone who replied.

I wish to rent a room between 400-600. With moving and buying basic household equipment, how much do you think I should have by the time I move?

Apocalypstix
04-12-2010, 07:51 AM
I had over 5000 in savings when I moved out by the time I was done just getting the must haves such as a bed, paying deposits, moving things I dropped well below 2k. :( Moving out is really pricey.