If you’re thinking about moving into your first apartment, it might be time to start planning what your needs are going to be, since this is often the first time you’ll be paying rent on a long-term basis.

In the midst of planning for the big move, many people have forgotten to consider what their needs might be—and as a result, have ended up spending way too much money on unnecessary things. It’s important to go into this move with a clear idea of what your needs will be, and be sure to keep your expenses under control in order to stay within your budget.

Whether you’re moving into your first apartment, or you’ve been living in your current one for years, we all know it can feel like a stressful experience. But there are a few things you need to know in order to prepare yourself and make this move a little less stressful.

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If you’re moving into your first apartment in your 20s, then here’s what you need to know beforeyou move in—and what you can do to get your finances in check.

10 Things I Wish Someone Told Me About Moving Out When I Was 18

1. Renting for the First Time: What to Expect

As with most of life, you should know about all the possible scenarios and what to expect. When you rent an apartment for the first time, you're likely to have to deal with everything from a faulty hot water heater to a noisy neighbor to an unreliable internet connection to a leaky roof. When renting an apartment for the first time, it's important to prepare yourself for all the potential problems and concerns so that you're ready to handle them as they arise.

So what exactly do you expect when you move into your new apartment? How do you deal with the stress of getting settled in and finding the perfect fit? I recently moved into my new place and I had a lot of questions before I got there. Here’s what you should know.

Renting an apartment for the first time requires patience, confidence, and a positive attitude. After all, renting is not the same as purchasing and renting is not the same as owning. Renting an apartment for the first time is a process, so it’s best to take it slowly and learn as you go along. Get organized with a checklist for your first apartment.

2. Rental Agreements: How to Understand It

Whether you rent out your home or apartment through anonline listing service or a direct deal with a landlord, understanding how to navigate your rent agreement is key to making it work for you.

When it comes to rental agreements, a lot can go wrong. The agreement itself is not likely to be too complicated. But it’s the fine print that’s often overlooked. For instance, the lease might state that thetenant must give the landlord notice if they wish to terminate the lease. But what exactly does “notice” mean? Does it include 30 days’ notice, 60 days’ notice, 90 days’ notice? These details may be easy to overlook if the parties aren’t familiar with the terms. The same goes for things like the payment schedule or any other clause that you may want to change. So keep a close eyeon this stuff.

A rental agreement is the document in which all of the responsibilities and terms of your lease agreement are described. While many states have their own laws concerning how leases are written and drafted, there are some general rules that are applicable to all lease agreements. The best thing to remember is to ask questions of your landlord to help you better understand every part of the contract.

3. Managing Your Money: Budgeting and Saving

Before moving into your first apartment, you should create a budget and start saving money. Not only will you want to save money toget your own place, but also to make sure you don’t overspend while living with roommates. Budgeting is the key to staying out of debt and building savings.

Once you’ve determined the amount you need to pay each month in rent, the next step is to determine how much you can afford to spendon other bills (such as utilities, food, etc.). Start by determining your minimum monthly expense level, which may include necessities such as rent, utilities, transportation, insurance, groceries, and childcare. Be sure to takeinto consideration any unexpected expenses (like medical or car repairs) that could occur during the month. You can always adjust your monthly budget after you’ve determined a reasonable number to spend on each category.

Budgeting is one of those necessary life skills that most people forget to work on. When you start budgeting, you don’t just have to worry about your immediate future. You’ll need to begin thinking about the next three years of your life. Budgeting makes us aware of what we’re spending, which helps us develop better spending habits.

4. Utilities: Paying for Electricity, Gas, Water, etc

Moving day comes with the end of one stage of life andthe beginning of another—and that means new responsibilities, bills, and new expenses. The next step involves learning to manage your new financial responsibilities, especially for utilities. 

When you rent your first apartment and have to deal with more bills, it may seem daunting, but remember that living in an apartment is cheaper than renting a house, and utilities are less expensive too.

Start by learning which bills are your responsibility and which are the landlord's, and work those bills into your budget.

5. Finding a Neighborhood: Safety, Security and Neighborhoods

Whether you live in a city, suburb, or small town, there are three key things you need to know before you can find a good neighborhood.

The first thing you should look for when choosing your first apartment is safety and security. Finding an affordable (and safe) apartment can be a real hassle. So, how do you decide what neighborhood is a safe bet? You don't want to have to worry about a break-in or having someone steal your personal items. Learn more by reading our post on the best places to live in Northern Virginia.

6. Finding an Apartment: Location, Size and Costs

First, you need to get your finances in order. Do you have the money? Can you make the rental payments on your own? You’ll want to befully aware of your budget. Know what you can afford to spend on your housing costs.

The most important factors in selecting the ideal location for your new apartment are the proximity of public transportation and the accessibility of restaurants, entertainment, and shopping. These three factors can really impact your life—how often you can visit your favorite stores, eat at your favorite restaurant and catch a bus to your favorite coffee shop. Agood starting point is to calculate how far you'd need to travel in order toget to the best part of town—the heart of the city—and then add that distance to the number of minutes it would take you to walk from your apartment to these destinations.

Once you've found a place to live, it’s time to figure out the cost of living there. There's a big difference between having a comfortable apartment and being able to pay the bills each month, and that's what locationand size really matter. Start with the area you want to live. The price of housing is based on supply and demand in the region. You can see what kinds of areas are currently available in your price range and then decide what your budget is. Next, think about the size of your space. Are you happy with a studio apartment? Do you need a one-bedroom or two-bedroom? How much is too much, and how much is too little? These factors all affect your monthly expenses.

7. Finding a Job: Getting Hired

It’s easier than you think to get hired to live somewhere you’ve never been. Whether you’re trying to move to a new city orstart a new career, there are plenty of ways to get a job in the location of your choice.

When you’re starting out, there’s no need to move across the country to find a job. There are thousands of remote positions open for talented people right now. So, if you’re ready to build your freelance business, start out looking locally. You can connect with local businesses and get to know the area you want to work in. Then, once you’ve decided on a few local companies that sound like a great fit, ask about hiring remotely. Remote work is becoming more common, so many local companies should be open to it.

8. Finding a Landlord: Leasing

To find your first apartment, you need to be able to define what’s important to you and what’s not. Once you have that down, you need to get out there and network. Start with friends and family. Then, start asking questions online and around town. Get an understanding of your local market and what prices are in the area. Ask yourself, “What kind of life am I trying to live?” and “What are the demographics in the area?” You’ll learn what areas of the city you prefer and what areas are too expensive for you to be a part of.

The landlord is one of the key influencers in your decision to move into a new apartment. A landlord can influence the rent you pay, the amount of security deposit you’ll need to pay, and even whether or not you’ll be allowed pets. You have to be careful to choose the best landlord possible if you don’t want to end up with a bad experience. To help you find the best landlord for your new apartment, ask questions and pay attention to their responses.

9. Moving In: Making the Transition

Moving into your first apartment can be challenging. Not only do you have to face the task of organizing your stuff, but you also have to do it all by yourself.

As a recent college graduate, my move to the big city was filled with stress, anxiety, and fear. I’d never lived alone before, but I knew that my future in New York City was going to require me to. So, I was determined to make the transition from independent young adult to independent young professional successfully. Luckily, I found a few key strategies that helped me deal with some of the challenges I faced when I moved into my first apartment:

1. Be Honest With Yourself

2. Find Help When You Need It

3. Take Care of Business When You Are Stressed

4. Don’t Panic

5. Stay Organized

6. Choose to Live Happily

7. Stick to your Budget

8. Keep in Touch With Friends and Family

9. Always Be Prepared

10. Maintaining Your New Place: How to Keep it Clean and Organized

When you move into a new place, there are always so many questions about how to organize your home. For example, what should gowhere? Where should you put your things? Who should take care of cleaning up?

When you first move into a new apartment or house, the cleaning can be overwhelming. This is especially true when you don’t have a lot of space. I’ve been there. And I’ve found that it’s important to start small. The first thing to tackle may be just the closet or the desk.

“Clean” may sound like an easy task, but it can be surprisingly tricky. If you’re like many college students, your first apartment is filled with clutter — books, papers, dirty clothes — all of which need to be disposed of in some way. If you’ve moved into a new place, don’t feel overwhelmed or intimidated by the task. Start by getting rid of the stuff that doesn’t belong there. This may involve some extra work, but it’s important to keep your space neat and clean. Remember: clutter is a visual thing; if it looks messy, it probably is.


Renting an apartment is no easy task, but it’s made even harder by a lack of guidance. Many people end up living in subpar housing because they weren’t given good advice when they were first looking for anapartment. The result? They spend a large portion of their pay check on rent, or worse, they end up in a place that is too small and in bad condition for their needs.

If you need help moving from one apartment to another, it’s best to hire the services of professional movers, such as MyProMovers & Storage. Our movers will ensure that your belongings are moved in the safest way possible. Call us at (703) 310-7333 to make an appointment today!