Do’s and Don’ts for Your First Apartment

Moving out on your own for the first time is a thrilling experience. As you move in to your first apartment, you can feel as though there is an empty slate ahead of you just waiting for you to fill. Yet before you start making your apartment into your home, check out this list of “do’s and don’ts” for first-time apartment dwellers.

Do Set a Decorating Budget
One of the most exciting parts about a first apartment is decorating it, but furnishings and décor cost a pretty penny. Before you start, set your decorating budget. This will help you know exactly how much you can spend and also help you avoid the debt trap. Consider investing about one month’s rent into the apartment’s décor.

Don’t Fail to Read the Lease
Before you sign on the dotted line and definitely before you move in, read your lease in its entirety. Yes, it may have some “legalese” that makes it difficult to read, but you need to know what you are agreeing to so you can obey the rules. If you see something that’s not straightforward on the lease, make sure you ask the landlord about it.

Do Check Out the Space
Don’t settle for simply touring a model apartment. Make sure you see the actual space you will be renting. This will help you avoid any unwanted surprises in the actual unit, like a huge carpeting stain or non-functioning component.

Don’t Buy Furniture Without Measuring
Before you buy furniture for your new apartment, measure the space. In fact, measure both the space and the furniture. Furniture is difficult to move, and if you find out after a purchase that it doesn’t fit in your space you have to deal with the headache of getting it back to the store. If you bought it used, you have to try to sell it in order to buy something that will fit the space.

Do Buy the Big Stuff First
As you plan for your furniture and décor, buy your anchor pieces, like your big furniture or statement art pieces, first. This will help you maximize your budget, as these are often the most pricey items. It will also help you achieve a more pulled together look as you add other pieces that match those anchor pieces little by little.

Don’t Underestimate Your Costs
When planning your apartment budget, don’t underestimate the costs of apartment life. In addition to your rent, you will need insurance, utilities, media costs and, of course, the cost of daily living needs like food and toiletries. Plan plenty in your budget so you have some financial freedom to go with your new living space freedom.

Setting up and moving in to your first apartment is an exciting time. Keep this list handy to avoid hassle and frustration as you work to make your apartment your home.

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