apartment-hunting

softlyangelic  asked:

i'm so scared to live alone.... any tips?

You know I do! Living alone is a really intense and exciting experience, offering you the chance to explore your independence. It may seem daunting at first because you’re solely responsible for taking care of all your shopping, cleaning, and home related maintenance. But if you go into this experience prepared and confident, you’ll do fine- you’ll flourish!

Living alone is definitely not for everybody, especially if you’re an extraverted or super social person. In this case, you may want to buddy up with a friend and look into two bedroom apartments. Ask yourself- will you be okay spending a day on your own without interacting face-to-face with anybody? If the answer is no, you should find a roommate. 

Check out this post which details how to locate, inspect, and set up your first apartment. And…

Living Alone

1. PKW. Phone, keys, wallet. Every time you go anywhere. Check twice. The worst part of living on your own is having to rely on yourself to never forget to lock yourself out or leave your wallet at a sandwich shop in a mall. Make absolutely sure you have duplicates of your keys (I would get a couple made) and give one to a friend who lives nearby who you can count on. I also like to keep an extra set inside the apartment itself in a secure place, just in case. Your landlord can let you in during office hours, but giving a key to a trustworthy friend helps you 24/7.

2. Cleaning routine. You don’t have to sit down at a writing desk and draft this out, but spend a few minutes coming up with a basic cleaning regime for you to follow. It’s definitely easier to do a little each day, but if that doesn’t work for your schedule set aside at least an hour and a half during your time off to get your apartment spotless. I don’t know about you, but whenever I deep clean my apartment I feel like I’m living in a hotel for a day, and I absolutely love it.

3. Make a “moving” shopping list. This is everything you will need (minus food) for your first week at your new place. First aid kit, cleaning supplies, tape, cat food, etc. Your first week moving into your new place will be stressful enough, you don’t want to be halfway through setting up your living room and realize that you forgot to buy trash bags.

4. Secure yourself. I’m not the most agile or fast person in the world, and I do live in a mid-sized city that has a good deal of crime. The apartment complex I live in is very safe, but I still like to double lock my front door at night. It might be smart to keep some pepper spray or a baseball bat somewhere in your apartment, just in case.

5. Stay social. Even the most anti-social person gets lonely. Make sure to hang out with your friends, not just your co-workers, your actual friends. Get out off your apartment every few days and go see a movie, get a cup of coffee, go people watching at the park, etc. It’s easy to get depressed if you’re living alone and doing the same things the same way every day- allow yourself to mix it up.

6. Meal prep. It can be stressful and seem useless to cook complicated or “fancy” meals when you’re living on your own. Plan your meals for the week and make a list before going shopping. Get yourself enough food to make a variety of dinners that will only take you fifteen minutes. If you do want to go crazy and make steak and mashed potatoes for yourself, make enough for two meals. Also, nobody is going to think poorly of you for stocking your fridge with a couple frozen dinners.

7. Customer service. Living alone means that you are going to be doing a lot of talking to customer service representatives. Get comfortable talking to people over the phone. Tell the rep what you need as quickly as you can, and try to be polite because customer service at a phone center is a garbage job that doesn’t pay well. On the flip side, don’t be afraid to ask for a manager if you’re upset or unhappy with your service. Take their survey at the end of your phone call, tell them how unhappy you are. It’s someone’s shitty job to look at all those surveys, no complaint goes unheard. Companies with great phone service: Verizon, Apple, Amazon. Companies with awful phone service: USPS (literally the worst), electric companies, health insurance companies.

8. Guest space. This is not required, but it’s a good idea to have some sort of space for a friend to stay the night. A friend of mine had a bad breakup, showed up at my apartment with ten minute’s notice, and then fell asleep on my couch after an hour of crying. It as 7:30! Whatever, she needed it. Keep an extra blanket and pillow in your closet, I like to keep travel sized shampoos and conditioners in my bathroom cabinet on the off chance a guest wants to use my shower. I got these at a hotel for free, but they’re available at CVS and other pharmacies.

9. Toilet paper. Don’t let yourself run out of toilet paper! I like to buy more when I notice I only have one roll left. The same deal goes for paper towels.

10. Enjoy. Living on your own is simoltaneously exciting and exhausting, but an all around must-have experience. Enjoy the freedom to forget to make the bed, to decorate your bathroom however you want, to have ice cream for dinner, to watch reruns of Friends and cry when Rachel decides to move to France. Make sure to give yourself lots of space to move at your own pace, but please remember to eat three meals a day and to go to the doctor’s for a checkup at least once a year!

Moving Out and Getting an Apartment, Part 2: Finding the Damn Apartment

Don’t even bother reading this post unless you’ve read the first one on preparing to move out. This is for those brave folks who faced your bank account and came out victorious. The rest of you need to step up your game or get the fuck out.

Step 1. Budget that Shit

Before you can do anything with an apartment, you need to figure out what you can afford. If you’re piss-poor, you’re going to be looking at shitty places. But at least you’ll know and can start with the shitty places instead of raising that bar too high and then having to rip out your heart when you can’t afford them. If you’re going to have a roommate, make sure to make a budget together, that way you know ahead of time if they’re a total deadbeat who will abandon you with most of the rent. Finding a good roommate is this whole other issue that I won’t even go into right now.

What you need to do is make a list of all your monthly costs, not even the stuff you’re going to start paying, but whatever you pay for right now. Gas, car insurance, health insurance (for the truly wealthy and privileged), phone bills, and whatever other shit you spend your money on. You might want to adjust your spending and stop buying so much crap. Remember, you need to pack and move that crap later. You’re not going to be so excited about your extensive Yu-Gi-Oh collection when that time comes. Now add in your estimated utilities. You can fucking google that on your own, because it’s going to be different for wherever you want to live. Absolutely do this if you plan on moving to a different town or state. If you plan on moving to Chicago, LA, or New York, I hope you’re a goddamned heiress otherwise you’re going to be living in a shelter three months from now.

I think this part is a little ridiculous, but this is how property managers are going to figure out whether or not you’re as rich as you say you are: divide your total monthly income by three. Hey, look at that, it’s my good friend Math again. Funny how he keeps showing up. Make sure the number of your expenses is less than the other 2/3rds, if it is, you can continue. If it’s not, get the fuck out of here.

Okay, now take another hundred or three out of that for play money or emergencies or whatever. This final low low number is what you can afford to spend on rent. If you see this number and think “I’m fucked,” you probably are and you should just stay in your parent’s basement for another couple of years.

Step 2. Stay Within the Budget

I’m so fucking annoyed that I have to put this step in here at all for all you shitheads who look at all these fancy-ass places and get turned down. You just figured out your MAXIMUM rent. Don’t go above that.

Go somewhere like apartments.com and before you do anything else, put your maximum into the maximum rent range. This shouldn’t be that hard. I’m sure even you can manage it.

Step 3. Know What You Want

Okay, once you know all your limitations, you can pretend you’re the boss and focus on what you want. But here’s the shitty part: you’re probably going to have to compromise. Yeah, it’s nice to have a washer/dryer set in the apartment (especially if it’s included already, but that’s a damn fantasy), but you might need to settle for a laundromat nearby. If you’re rooming with someone, ask yourself, is this selfish bitch going to hog the bathroom for two hours every morning when you need to get ready? If so, maybe try to find somewhere with two bathrooms. Also, be prepared to fight over the bigger bedroom. Go in prepared for battle (and maybe be willing to pay a tiny bit over half if you get the bigger one, unless you’re a complete asshole). If you absolutely need your pet with you, narrow your search to pet-friendly places BEFORE you get kicked out of somewhere because your little pomeranian barks too much and gives you away. If you own a great dane or anything larger than a fucking breadbox, I am so so sorry. This search is going to be hell for you.

Okay. Go ahead and put all of that shit into an apartment search engine. Apartments.com is probably the least sketchy, but hey, maybe you’re looking for a place to house your meth lab and sketchy works for you. I don’t ask questions.

Step 4. Do Some Fucking Research

You’re going to live in this place. You’re going to be so poor you’re going to spend most of your time in this apartment, so you better fucking love it. Look at all the floor plans once you find places in your price range. Actually think about what’s on it. Will your oven and fridge open into each other? Do you need a hall closet to split up your enormous hoarder-like shoe collection? How big are the bedrooms? Is your bathroom basically one of those horrific bathroom stalls in stores where you have to stand on the toilet just to close the door? You’re not going to put up with that kind of shit every goddamned day for the next year.

Look at some maps of the area. Is the nearest grocery store two towns away? Is it near your work, or are you going to have to get up an extra hour earlier to avoid rush hour? Do yourself a favor and make a custom google map. Yeah, google has everything. It’s going to save your life someday. Probably in the form of some sentient, unforgiving android, but for today, we’ll stick to maps. Put all your potential apartments on there and put your work on there and whatever other terrible places you visit daily. If you have a roommate, share the map so they can see how selfish you’ve been by making sure your commute is short and theirs is two hours.

You should also check out the maps on crimereports.com so you know if you’re living next door to a sex offender or something. This is good for the meth lab owners, too, because you don’t want to move in next to someone who got caught for that kind of shit. You don’t need to deal with that kind of competition.

If you’re really dedicated, and I hope to God you are, you can google the hell out of that shit. Find out everything you can about this apartment you’ve found. Wikisearch the town, read reviews on yelp, figure out which pizza places deliver past midnight. 

Step 5. Narrow Down Your Choices

Focus on your top 10. Then your top 5. Then your top 3. Don’t go any farther than that (and don’t get rid of the research for the other 7 just yet). Create crazy complicated rating systems. Make an excel sheet or start putting stuff on your wall and connecting them with strings. Go full-on serial killer. Dedicate yourself.

Step 6. Visit

Don’t try to move in somewhere you’ve never even fucking seen. If you do, you deserve all the secret horrors that await you. Call or email the managers and try to pick a day to visit when they’re available. You don’t want to show up somewhere and find out they just sold their last place or they’re closed or something.

When you do visit, take pictures. Take enough pictures that you could use them to potentially break into the place in the future. But don’t actually do that unless you’re prepared to go to jail for it. But do take pictures, even of things you don’t think are important. Take pictures of the ceiling so you know if there’s any overhead light to illuminate all your past mistakes at 3 AM when you’re sitting on the kitchen floor eating a tube of cookie dough. You should also make note of how big the room is so you know if you can even fit what little you own. The same goes for the hallways or stairs or whatever exists outside the apartment on the way from your car. Could you get your mattress through all that shit?

You should ask millions of questions, by the way. I don’t care if you hate talking to people, you need to get over that and talk to this person. Apartments.com and My First Apartment both have lists of questions to ask. Or just google it like you do everything else. 

Step 7. Get the Goddamn Apartment

When you figure out what you want and have gone through all the previous steps, you can work on getting the apartment. Call the leasing office and let them know what you want. When you actually show up, pretend you’re showing up for a fucking job interview. Let them know that you’re the best goddamn tenant they could hope for and you’re the picture of perfection, even though we both know you’re a total fuckup. Don’t let the landlord know that yet. If you ace this secret interview, the office will ask for a security deposit. Better have that money ready! This is one of those rare times in your life that someone might require a physical check. We have a post on that if you’re one of those ignorant fucks who can’t write a check. Then they’re going to run a credit check and you better know that shit ahead of time and be prepared to defend yourself if necessary. After a few days, the manager will give you a call with either great news or to laugh at you because you done fucked up. This is either the end of your search or the beginning of a new one. Either way, we’re done here.

This is by no means a complete guide, so if you have any specific questions, please let us know and I’ll do my best to answer them for you.

The Romanticization of the “First Apartment”

News Flash: Your first apartment is going to be many things, but perfect isn’t one of them. As someone who is on their third apartment, you should know that your first apartment will suck, because you don’t know what’s important to you yet. But you will. Here are some things to consider about your first place.

  • Know that there will be bugs. Ants, cockroaches, etc. will be a fixture in your first apartment. Unless you are paying out the rear for a super fancy place, which is ridiculous, but whatever, you will encounter little buggy friends. Avoid this by keeping your place reasonably clean, take the trash out frequently, and try not to keep piles of paper everywhere. This helps a lot with keeping them at bay. Or keep a can of raid on you. That helps too.
  • Choose what is going to work best for you. Do you have a car? If not, find a place that is close to stores (clothing and grocery) and a Laundromat if your apartment doesn’t have a washer/dryer. I have been lucky enough to have lived in apartments that came with a washer/dryer, but that is an amenity that I have rented from the complex. Do you rely on public transit? Check what routes go by your place. I didn’t realize that my first complex didn’t go to the main shopping plaza in town until after I moved in. And I was grateful at my second apartment, there was a grocery store literally right outside the front gates.
  • Decide how much you want to spend early and do your research. Some complex’s bundle internet and utilities into your rent, others don’t. Check with your complex FIRST rather than later about this. Suppose you want to find a place for under $500. Does this include utilities/internet?  If yes, you need to check whether your place bundles or not. Because if they don’t, you should actually be looking for a place that is closer to $400 to allow for these things.
  • And finally, VISIT THE PLACE BEFORE YOU SIGN A LEASE. My first apartment was situated so I had zero natural light and the one window faced a hallway, so I could never leave the blinds open. This is something I realized I hated only after moving in. And I didn’t visit the place before moving in, so I could have at least seen the problem beforehand.  The carpet and furniture provided was also dreary and ugly, and while I didn’t mind the apartment, I also didn’t enjoy living there.

I’m going to talk in a later post about what you actually need for an apartment, useful things to have, how to pack if you’re moving in just a car, etc.

I hope this helped. If you have questions, let me know!

Love,

M

Moving Out and Getting an Apartment, Part 3: Questions to Ask about the Damn Apartment

STOP. Before you do anything, read my posts on Preparing to Move Out (Are You Sure?) and Finding the Damn Apartment.

Alright, so you’ve gotten to the point where you actually believe yourself when you say you’re adult enough to live on your own. You should probably seek psychiatric help, but on the off-chance you’re right, and you’ve already figured out what you want in an apartment and found some that look promising, I’ve compiled a list of topics to ask about when visiting possible apartments.

Yep, that’s right: you’re going to have to talk to someone. Someone who needs to think you are an adult. Someone who will determine your worthiness for that hellhole of an apartment. It’s time for an Adult Conversation.

Too fucking bad.

I’m assuming you’ve already done the research I told you to do in Part 2. God have mercy on your soul if you didn’t, because I’m not going to cover questions related to the things I told you to look up. Sucks to be you.

Keep reading

Pro-Tip #35: Check the Cabinets

When you’re house and apartment hunting, there’s a lot to look at. Probably too much. More than you’re going to remember to look at, that’s for sure. But you should probably look in the cabinets and make sure they’re not secretly full of mouse poop and insects. Most evidence of this throughout the rest of the place will have already been swept and scrubbed away, but just like you are going to forget to look in the cabinets, landlords forget to deep clean them. If there’s any evidence of household pests to be found, it’s gonna be in the corners and on the undersides of those suckers.

For more information on what to look for & what to ask on a walk-through, try my guide (link).

Waiting....

I found an apartment that I like and I’m parked in front of the landlords office waiting for him to arrive so that I could sign the lease. There’s another woman here that wants the same apartment but the landlords son says he likes application better cuz my income is like $1,000 more than hers. She’s trying to fight for this apartment. I’m hoping the landlord picks me, he has the last say on who he will choose. I’m nervous. It’s 5:15pm and Lester has no idea I left to look for an apartment. He is probably arriving at home right now……I guess I’ll tell him when I get home. Pray for me yall.

7

Never being one to miss out on a theme, I wore this to go apartment hunting. Keep your fingers crossed for me! Bonus, I made a new cat friend at my current apartments.

anonymous asked:

Hey! I'm on my senior year in high school and I live in Argentina, I'm coursing the IBDP and was thinking about going to college in maybe Canada or Holland. Thing is I'm only turning 18 at the end of this year and while I don't have a problem with living alone, especially since I don't really get along with my family and I'd rather get away to be honest, they don't like the idea of sending me away all by myself. What do you reckon are the pros and cons of moving away at 18? I love your blog!!

I actually moved out of my parent’s house with I was eighteen, but I only moved an hour away, not to a different country. Regardless if you’re crossing the seven seas or just moving to a different town, the transition from living with parents to living on your own is a difficult one. You’re now responsible for paying bills, feeding yourself, speaking to government agencies, etc.

Your parents will be more understanding about your moving away if they know that you’re going to be in a safe and structured environment. Not all apartment complexes can offer this security to you, because it’s hard to know how responsible your landlord will be or just how late your new neighbors will stay up blasting music. Moving to a new country and attending college for the first time will be hard enough, you want your apartment life to be as easy as it possibly can.

I would recommend looking into on-campus housing. This does not necessarily mean that you need to dorm, lots of universities rent two or three bedroom apartments close to campus. Actual apartments with full kitchens, bathrooms, and your own physical room where you can shut the door, right near campus.

These apartments are owned by the university, so your landlord will be a bit more understanding about late payments if you are an academically sound student. You’ll also have roommates and neighbors who are around your own age, and you won’t have to deal with creepy, retired old people on your first year moved out. My friend @fuck-bitches-get-bacon is currently doing this.

I know that you love the idea of independence, but you have to remember that you’re going to be moving to a completely new country where you know no one and have no job set up. That’s a lot of pressure on you! An on-campus apartment is a nice middle ground where you’re still protected by whatever college you choose. Also living on your own gets lonely, and at least with college roommates you’ll always have something to do and a place to go. There will always been food and supplies on campus, you could even get a job on campus, and you don’t need to worry about purchasing and paying for a car.

Feel free to message me privately if you want to talk more!

anonymous asked:

Do apt buildings usually give your security deposit back before you move out? I'm stressing about raising the money for my next apt

Yes. A security deposit is something that the landlord collects at the beginning of your lease to cover themselves if you damage the property or run out without paying your rent. If you break the terms of your lease, you lose your deposit, but so long as you haven’t damaged anything, have paid off your full balance, and the apartment is in the move-out state specified in your lease, you will get the deposit back.

However, I should note that you won’t get it immediately upon returning the keys. The landlord will go through an inspection of the apartment and it may take a few days to process the payment for you.

anonymous asked:

I'm going to be moving out soon, and I was wondering, is there a trend in how much utilities tend to be when added onto rent? I know like heating ranges a lot between an apartment vs a house but for electricity in general (water is p cheap in baltimore, kinda irrelevant) I can't really find anything consistent. I keep seeing that you should assume your utilities are like 20% of your rent in a house or 10% apartment but I can't see spending 50 bucks when rent is 500 dollars. Seems too low.

Check in with our friends over at MyFirstApartment for their guide. There’s no point in me covering this when they already have the answers (Zillow shared the same thing).