It's difficult to explain just how exciting moving into your first apartment can be without experiencing it yourself. This is your first real taste of freedom, where you can live whatever way you wish. But we do understand that taking ownership of your living space can be a daunting experience, and not something you're quite prepared for. Most students won't be moving into their Auburn apartments until August, so we wanted to help you prepare for when that day comes. Planning is key.
Remember Apartment Deposits:
You'll need to have the money to pay for your deposit, which is typically your first and last month's rent. Having the exact amount you need for your deposit is fine, but we always recommend allowing an extra 10% in your budget for any unforeseen emergencies or contractual changes. The last thing you want is to be temporarily homeless because you're short $100.
Don’t Forget Your Lease Terms:
The lease for your apartment might seem like something you can scan, sign and then forget about. The issue is that a lease is a legally binding document, and not something you should sign without reading it thoroughly, and seeking professional advice on any parts of it that you're unsure of. Key things to check are the duration of your lease, when your rent is expected, and how it should be paid. You should also check what rights your landlord has under your lease agreement, and your own rights as a tenant. Do also check what notice period you have to give in case things don't work out for you.
Go For A Property Inspection:
You should take a closer look at your apartment before signing the lease, and any reluctance on your future landlord's part to allow an inspection should set off alarm bells. Check that the light, heat and plumbing all work properly. This includes the shower, toilet, sinks, bulbs, electrical outlets, and the HVAC system, too. Look for any existing damage to paintwork, furniture, windows, woodwork, or anything else, and note them.
Also, check that any existing electrical appliances work properly, such as the washing machine and tumble dryer. Also make a note of every piece of furniture present in the apartment during your inspection.
The Shopping List:
In an ideal world everything you need would already be in your apartment, but we don't live in that world. That means doing some shopping for your apartment before it's ready for you to move in. The first item on your shopping list is bedding, which should include a duvet, pillows, and fitted sheets, and some new towels.
You'll also need to stock up on cleaning products to keep your apartment neat and tidy. It's also a good idea to stock up on some "emergency" foods like Ramen noodles, Mac'n'Cheese, bottled water, granola bars, ketchup, mustard, crackers, cheese and bread. Always bring a few personal items from home, these help to make an apartment feel more like home and less like a hotel room. They're also a great way to curb any feelings of homesickness.
Yes or No to Pets:
Most students don't have any pets, even though they're a great way of relieving stress, and will also make your apartment feel like your home. So, check your lease to see if pets of any kind are permitted. You'll be surprised to see just how many landlords will stop tenants from keeping any pets at all, even fish.
Unpacking At a Steady Pace:
The overpowering urge will be to unpack everything you own, all at once. But what you'll wind up with is a muddled mess of clothing, and other personal items, that will take you weeks to sort through. Unpack one room at a time, focusing on the rooms you'll most need during your first night or two i.e. your bedroom and the bathroom.
Once you have somewhere to sleep, and somewhere to wash then focus on getting your kitchen ready for use. Yes, we know you'd like to set up your Xbox/PC first, but unless you can sleep on or in them we'd recommend taking care of your sleeping arrangements before doing anything else.
Moving into an apartment isn't a race. Take your time, organize, unpack in a sensible way, and do your best to take the time to enjoy the fact that you now have someplace you can call your own.