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.
A number of things happened last month that culminated in my speeding up my goal to find a place to live on my own. It was time. Nothing bad prompted this–though there were (and are) issues at home that swayed the decision-making process–it just felt like time to move out. Two years ago, I made the decision to pay student loans over moving out. There were times when I seriously questioned that choice, as it seemed like I wasn’t quite an adult yet, but I’m at a point now where I can manage for the few months that it will take to finish off the last of my loans while also paying rent.
The apartment hunt was a lot shorter than I imagined, as I was led to a good place by one of the boy’s friends. I had been searching the listings during the last two years, but none of the places I considered compared to what I found. The place itself is kind of a fixer upper, but it just needs some care, no major repairs. It was lived in by a single guy. No one can imagine the state of the place before my mom and I cleaned it… which is another thing, my mom is taking this move in classic empty-nester mode. It’ll be some time before she really comes ’round. I tweeted about my being a Cuban girl and how moving out is a pretty big deal…it really is. Many Hispanic women tend to stay home unless they get married, and some even after they marry. My mom lived on her own for a few years because of certain circumstances that made it impossible for her to stay with her family, but she didn’t really like living alone. I, however, am a true only child. I love the quiet of being alone. And I love decorating! Yes, I do.
This will be a year for change and growth and all that. So ttfn, or at least until I get a network connection going in the apartment. Then, there will be posts galore and writing. *I haven’t written or edited a word since I started looking for a place and it’s killing my spirit*