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20 First Apartment Tips and 3 Things to Watch Out For

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Moving into your first apartment can be exciting, stressful, fun, and sad all at the same time.  It is when you finally get all the freedom you have always looked forward to, but it is also when you start to take on a lot more responsibility.

Whether you are signing your first apartment lease, or signing your first mortgage, Money Tree Network is here to help.  We listed out some of the best tips moving into your first apartment so you don’t have to be as stressed about it!

Tips For Moving Into Your First Apartment – Dos

DO consider multiple apartments

Considering multiple apartment options, you allow you to think about the things you really want and the things that are not as important.  Maybe you want a big kitchen or a big bedroom. Maybe you want a balcony or a lot of natural light.

This will also allow you to think about whether you really want to pay extra money for a nicer apartment.  This is up to you, but I highly suggest aiming for the lower end of your budget. It will allow you to save up so you can get a nicer one in the future or even a house!

There are websites such as Zillow,, and others that will help you find all the options that you have in the area that you are looking in.  These websites also list all the amenities that the apartments have.

DO plan your apartment visits

Planning your apartment visits will save you a lot of time!  If you are looking at multiple apartments in the same area, you could try to visit them all in the same day. If you start early, you will be able to see them all!  Just make sure that you call the complex first to make sure that they will be available to show you the apartment.

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DO start saving your down payment or security deposit ASAP

A lot of apartment complexes require you to put down a security deposit of first and last month’s rent in addition to a general refundable fee.  This can get very expensive, but if you start saving early you will be able to afford it!

Try to pretend you are already living in your apartment for a few months beforehand.  Put your monthly rent into your savings account and it will add up! If you really want to be serious about it, save food costs and utilities as well!  You will be able to afford your apartment down payment in no time!

Do consider a roommate in your first apartment

Roommates are a great way to immediately save money.  If your rent is over 25% of your income, a roommate might work out perfectly!  This is a way to cut your rent and utilities in haf so why not?

I moved in with my girlfriend so that we wouldn’t have to pay for a 2 bedroom apartment PLUS we were able to split rent, utilities, and food.  Even if you aren’t planning on moving in with a significant other, I suggest finding a roommate. A 2 bedroom apartment is not usually much more expensive than a 1 bedroom so it will be worth it!

DO read your lease before signing your lease

Some apartment classes say you cannot have candles in your apartment, others say you cannot have a space heater.  These are both due to safety concerns and should certainly be followed! It is very important to keep to your lease because if you don’t you can be evicted which nobody wants!

DO understand the rules of your lease

Similar to the last point, make sure you read the lease and really understand the rules.  Some leases specify the quiet times. Make sure you stick to them. Others specify the number of people that are allowed to be in your apartment.  Again, keep to the lease. This will help prevent you from being evicted from your apartment.

DO get a move in checklist from Bed Bath and Beyond

Bed Bath and Beyond is the go-to store in America for moving into your first apartment.  They have lists of everything you will need when moving into your first apartment.  Everything from furniture to clothes to cleaning supplies and even bedding.

What else do they do?  They will actually allow you to shop at your local Bed Bath and Beyond store and then pick it up wherever you are moving.  This will help you save on moving costs associated with renting a big moving van.

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DO create an apartment floorplan

Apartments are not usually quite as big as your parent’s house.  Create a layout to make it easier for yourself to know what will fit and what won’t.  Once you have a layout for your apartment, you will also know exactly where the couch, TV, kitchen table, bed, etc will go.  It will help relieve some stress on the big move-in day.

When moving into your first apartment, you will have to really think about what is essential.  Consider the closet-space you have, the size of your bedroom, kitchen, and more. See if there is something that you can use for multiple purposes.  Maybe your living room table can also be used for storage, or your TV stand can have pictures on it.

DO buy your furniture on Facebook Marketplace or from a Yardsale

A couch, kitchen table, rugs, chairs, and more can add up really quickly.  Buying all this stuff on Facebook Marketplace can help you save a significant amount of money on all of your furniture.  Start looking for discounted furniture there today! Can’t hurt.

DO remember to buy cleaning supplies

Cleaning supplies are essential when you are living in your first apartment.  Don’t forget things like Clorox wipes, Windex, toilet cleaning supplies, soap, dish soap, etc.  This stuff will help you keep your apartment clean and tidy. You just have to try to use it every so often!

DO clean your apartment

Cleaning your apartment can be a pain if you do not enjoy cleaning.  Try to set up a schedule for yourself. Maybe try to spend an hour every Sunday cleaning up.  If you have a roommate, you can switch weeks which will make it easier for you. This will ensure that your apartment stays clean!

DO enjoy it!

Living on your own for the first time can be scary, fun, exciting, and sad all at the very same time.  It is usually the first time you are paying your own bills, buying your own food, and more.

It is also usually the first time you have all the freedom that you want!  You can stay out as late as you want, eat whatever you want, and clean whenever you feel like it.  This can be fun and exciting!

Lastly, if you are living alone, it can be lonely at times which is sad.  You need to stay active and make friends with neighbors!

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DO meet your apartment neighbors

Meeting your neighbors will give you a sense of community.  My apartment complex had nights a few times a year where you could all get together and have some food.  They would put out tables with cake, pizza, and lots of other stuff! This was a great opportunity to meet my neighbors.

If your complex doesn’t offer something like this, try the open door policy where you leave your door cracked and have a note on it saying I want to meet neighbors, please knock!  Just make sure you are sitting near the door so they don’t just come in.

DO know your apartment’s location

Really learn the area that you are moving to before you get there.  Once you sign that lease you are locked in to where you are living so make sure that you really want to live in the area that your apartment is.

Try to understand the school district, transportation situation, crime rates, and everything else about the area that you are moving to.  These are all very important and can make or break your experience.

DO pack your items securely

Packing is one of the hardest parts of moving to a new apartment.  You will likely have to rent a van to move all your stuff. Make sure you have plenty of boxes and bubble wrap to make sure you don’t accidentally break something.  This could potentially save you a decent amount of money since you won’t have to buy new stuff.

DO consider hiring a moving company for your first apartment

Hiring a moving company will relieve a great deal of stress when move in day finally comes.  They will pack your stuff securely inside the truck and help you unpack it quickly. This can make it extremely easy to move.  The only problem is that at times, moving companies can be expensive.

Instead of hiring a moving company, I had my friends and family help me move.  I bought them pizza and beer and everyone was happy. They helped me pack all my stuff, bring it into my apartment, and set up all the IKEA type furniture. This helped me greatly and was well worth the cost of beer and pizza.

DO call your apartment before move-in day

Some apartment complexes will tell you to make reservations before moving in.  This allows them to ensure that there is enough room in the parking area for your truck or van.  They also make sure that your apartment is clean and ready for you to move in.

Please do not forget to make reservations!  My complex said that they had a lot of people wanting to move in around the same day as me so they gave a 2 hour window when I needed to move in.

DO inspect your apartment as soon as you move in

Take pictures of EVERYTHING when you move in!  Take pictures of the wall, floor, counters, etc.  If there are any scratches on these surfaces take extra pictures and report these issues to your property manager.  This will ensure that you are not liable for these issues.

Not only will this help you on move in day, but it will protect you on move out day.  If your property manager attempts to hold onto your security deposit due to the scratches you will be able to prove that it was that way when you moved in.

DO make your apartment feel like home

Your apartment is home so make it feel that way!  Buy pictures, mirrors, furniture, curtains, rugs, etc to make it feel homey.  This will help you to feel great about the place that you live. It should be your own personal man or woman cave.  Even if you have a roommate, consider talking to them about hanging things on the wall.

DON’Ts of Moving Into Your First Apartment

DON’T underestimate the stress

Stress is, unfortunately, a part of moving.  You can read all the lists in the world, but moving is stressful.  Being prepared and having lots of help will make it significantly less stressful.  Just try to remember to take a deep breath and give yourself lots of time.

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DON’T procrastinate packing

Procrastinating packing will add to the stress of move-in day significantly.  The earlier you start packing, the easier it will be! Make sure you have plenty of move in boxes, bubble wrap, and tape.

Also make sure you schedule everything as early as possible.  If you are looking for a van, have that taken care of now. Make move-in reservations now!  DO NOT PROCRASTINATE.

DON’T forget the basics

On my move in day I forgot to pack my sheets.  This was a big issue because I really did not want to have to all the way back just to get them.

Make a checklist for yourself and check things off as you pack them.  Again, you could even use the Bed Bath and Beyond checklist! This will make it much easier.  Other websites such as have full lists available for you as well!

To sum it up…

If you are worried about moving into your first apartment, just try to take a deep breath and remember the earlier you start, the easier it will be.  Read through this list, but also check out others.

Try to keep your living expenses to less than 25% of your budget.  This will help you budget for everything else. If it is over 25% of your budget, consider getting a roommate!

Leave your moving tips below!