Becoming An Adult: Moving Into Your First Apartment

Hi, hello, I'm a baby adult and I would very much like to go back to the simpler times of Courage the Cowardly Dog marathons and my biggest worry being nap time. Alas, that's not going to happen so I better get on with this whole moving thing...

I am currently out in Los Angeles, California partaking in three different internships at Millennium Films, Blumhouse and Lionsgate. I love my jobs very much, but I work 12 hours a day, 5 days a week and it can get a bit zany...especially when I didn't have an actual place to live. I was couch surfing for a while, and the apartment hunt was extremely frustrating, disheartening and absolutely only 7% fun...but I prevailed and FINALLY GOT AN APARTMENT. Here's what I have learned and some other tips and tricks to help you through your first big move.

1. Finding an apartment

There are a lot of factors that play into this:

  • Where are you moving to? (city? college campus? BIG city?)
  • What's the housing market like? (competitive? pricey? wait lists?)
  • What's your budget? (Can you afford $______ a month on your own?)
  • Do you want or need a roommate(s)? (Do you need to split the rent?)
  • What kind of space do you need and what do you need in that space? (Are you a studio or a one bedroom? Do you need more than one bathroom? A stove? Fridge? TV? Internet?)
  • How long are you committing to live there for? (Is it temporary? Can you sign a one year lease?)
  • Do you need somewhere to park your car? (street parking, okay? gated parking?)
  • Does the place have a laundry facility?
  • Do you need your place to come furnished or do you have a budget and means to furnish the place yourself?
  • What kind of neighborhood are you looking for?
  • Is the location near your job or school? 

Probably about 8 million more, but some factors or standards depend entirely on the individual. 

Once you narrow down your parameters, it's time to search for your place. You have a few options there:

  • Drive around (go out and drive around, looking for FOR RENT, LEASING, etc. Write down the phone numbers and call, call, call. It also helps because it gives you an idea about how much an area costs to live in)
  • Craigslist (as shady as it may be, it can be extremely helpful. look out for ads that don't have a photo, phone number or a real sounding email address.)
  • HotPads.com 
  • Roommates.com
  • WestSideRentals.com (find a location based rental property search engine, it may cost a subscription, but it's worth it if you find a place)
  • ForRent.com
  • Apartments.com
  • ApartmentFinder.com
  • ApartmentList.com
  • Zillow.com

Call, email, go to open houses, schedule appointments, fill out applications...it's a grueling and taxing process, but you will find a place. Then what?

2. Utilities

Find out what utilities you'll be responsible for during your research. For many places, you'll be responsible for gas and electricity while the landlord will pay for trash and water. 

Go to the city's power company website (for example, PECO if you're in Philadelphia) and start your service. Hopefully, the building that you are moving into will send you a fun and helpful email with accompanying links in order to help get your life together. Although, landlords keep the power on as a courtesy for when you first move in.

3. Shopping, Decorating and More

Okay, so now for the actual fun part kind of. Shopping and decorating and making your place feel like a home. Make a list! Seriously. Lists are the universal answer to life. Bed, Bath and Beyond has a really nice list to go off of. Think about stuff in this order: need, might need, want, and SPLURGE. 

Have fun and happy hunting!

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