a highly biased, no-nonsense guide
Having moved out of my mother’s home in February, after 27 and a half years of semi-dependence (thank you, Recession), I now consider myself something of an expert on moving out (*sarcasm*), so here are some practical tips and tricks from one cheap girl to another on how to get out of your parents’ home and into your own place while retaining some dignity.
- First, start saving the moment the idea of moving out pops into your mind. You will need monies! First month’s, last month’s, security. If you can’t scrounge together at least $3k (or whatever 3xs the average rent is in your area), don’t even think about it! Oh, and be prepared for extra expenses.
- Listings are good, but word of mouth is better. Ask your friends, relatives, co-workers about places they might know about. Also, walk around. Some owners kick it old school and simply post signs outside places for rent. Especially, the village elders.
- Make a list or spreadsheet, or if you’re an app-fiend, try Nestio to track the places you’re interested in. Save numbers, locations, and rent rates to compare.
- See the place on your own! Check it out on a Saturday or later in the evening when tenants are actually around. Especially if you’re looking at apartments. There are places that sound great online but are not all that fab when you get a good look at them in action.
- Ask questions! Do they allow pets? Are any utilities included in the rent? Who handles repairs? Can you paint the place? Etc.
- Take pictures of the interior and exteriors. Not only will these help you decide what works for you, they can serve as backup if the owners try to blame something on you.
- Measure your rooms before you buy furniture. Just do.
- Moving trucks are pricey. If you don’t own much stuff, enlist the help of friends and family to move stuff. Extra points if they have an SUV, truck, or van.
- If you bring nothing else when you first move in, bring bug spray. Trust me. There are even natural sprays for allergy-ridden girls like me. Arm yourself!
- Also, bring some strong, clear tape. It can patch up all manner of sins on the fly.