You’ve probably been desperate to move out of your parent’s house since you could remember. The thought of having a place to call your own, with nobody to tell you what you can’t and can’t do. You can walk around in your underwear and leave the washing up for as long as you like. Not to mention the parties that you can have without worrying about getting in trouble. Those are all the good bits, but there are always going to be downsides. As much as you think you could just pack a bag and find yourself a place to live, it isn’t that easy. There are a lot of things that you need to get in order before you’re ready to move into your own place. Luckily, this short guide can help you along the way.
Sort Your Finances
Before you go anywhere, you’ll need to get your finances in order. Your parents might not have worried about it, but unfortunately, landlords are going to make you pay for the place that you’re renting from them. Most of them are going to want a deposit up front which usually amounts to the first month’s rent plus a bit extra. That’s a significant amount of money, especially for somebody quite young. You aren’t going to find it down the back of the sofa so you need to get your finances organized.
The first step is to see how much money you’ve got coming in every month. Then take a look at how much is going out. If they don’t add up, you’ll need to start earning more or cut costs somewhere. If you’re living with your parents at the moment, your outgoings should be fairly small. It’s likely that, if you’re spending a lot of your money, it’s going on things that you don’t need. Although it’ll be a boring few months, stop spending on nights out and useless junk and you should be able to save up for a deposit in no time.
Having a steady job is the most important thing, you won’t get anywhere without one. The majority of landlords will expect you to show evidence of your earnings to ensure that you can pay the rent. When you are looking at your finances you need to factor in all of the other costs on top of rent.
Ask your parents for a rough average of how much the bills will cost and think about your food budget as well. If your numbers aren’t adding up then maybe it’s time for you to get a new job that can support you.
Finding An Apartment
Once you’ve got all of your money worries sorted out you’re ready to start hunting for an apartment. The first thing to decide before you even start looking is whether you want to live on your own or with a roommate. There are benefits to both and it depends on what your situation is.
Living with a roommate is going to be a lot cheaper as you can split the bills down the middle. If some of your friends are planning on moving out as well then why not think about getting a place together? This is a big decision to make and you need to imagine yourself living together. Are you going to wind each other up after a few weeks or can you coexist peacefully?
If you don’t know anybody already, you could move into a place that already has somebody living there. This is always a massive risk as you have no idea who they will be and what they will be like. You could end up living with somebody that you can’t stand.
Some people like their own personal space and enjoy spending time alone. Having a roommate is not great for people like this so, if that’s you, it’s best to look for somewhere on your own.
When you’re viewing apartments it will be fairly obvious to the landlord that this is your first time so they are going to try to shift their worst properties on you because they can’t get rid of them elsewhere. You always need to be on the lookout for any bad signs. Any sign of mold should ring alarm bells immediately. Don’t be fooled into thinking it’s only a small patch and you can live with it. The likelihood is that the landlord would have cleaned most of it off before showing you around so six months into living there, the walls will be covered.
Signs of pests are another thing to watch out for. Any droppings or signs of gnawing around the floors and cupboards should make your decision for you. If you see anything, don’t take the apartment. A top tip is looking inside the cupboards, that’s one place that landlords often forget to check before viewings so any warning signs will still be there.
Now that you’ve found an apartment that you love, it’s time to start dealing with all of the scary legal stuff. The lease is the place where landlords might try to sneak things in that could trip you up later. That’s why it is important that you read the whole thing from start to finish, it seems incredibly boring but it’s necessary.
The main things that you should be looking out for are the length of the lease and the length of the notice periods. If your landlord requires an exceptionally long notice period if you want to move out, you could run into problems down the line if you need to leave in a hurry. The landlord could also cause you problems if he has a very short notice period when he wants you to move out. You’ll be in a sticky situation if you need to move out with a few days notice.
When you live at home with your parents it doesn’t matter if you blow all of your money a week after getting your paycheck, you’ve still got a roof over your head and food to eat. Once you live on your own, you won’t have that luxury. That means being tight with your money.
Energy bills are expensive so why not try going green at home? Switching out your light bulbs for energy saving ones, particularly LED, can bring your energy bills down by a lot. Not having the heating on all the time is another easy way to save. Ask yourself whether you really need it on or could you get away with putting an extra layer of clothes on?
Compare energy prices as soon as you move in, chances are you might be able to get a cheaper deal elsewhere if you switch provider. As well as saving yourself money, you’re also doing the planet good by cutting down on energy usage.
Saving on your food bill is also important. You need to be honest with yourself and admit that you can’t afford all of the luxuries that your parents used to buy for you. Make food using fresh fruit and veg, it’s cheaper and healthier. Don’t spend all of your money on expensive snacks.
This is the worst thing about living on your own and you probably don’t want to hear it but, when you move out, you’re going to have to do your own chores.
To start with you’ll probably leave everything to get dirty but after a couple of months when you’ve forgotten what color the carpet is, you’re going to start realizing that chores are there for a reason. The more regularly you do the chores, the quicker it will be, so write yourself some kind of schedule and stick to it.