When I turned 18 I couldn’t wait to move out of my parent’s house. I was so ready to be able to have guests over whenever I wanted, not be nagged about doing dishes and finally feel like an actual adult.
Did I feel like I was prepared? Of course I did. But was I actually prepared? No, things could have gone a lot smoother.
When I left home for the first time, I did it on a whim and moved in with my first love. It was pretty dumb. We did not know each other long before I moved in with him and the living situation didn’t work out more than 3 months either. I ended up back at home before I knew it. The next time I left home was a little bit more premeditated, but it was still not thoroughly thought out. I moved in with my best friend at the time. This one definitely went smoother than the last one and lasted longer as well. However, it too ended before I was ready to financially make it on my own. Again, I was at home with mom and pops. Thankfully, third times a charm! Plus, I had learned what happens when you aren’t prepared first hand. I looked into every article,talked to several family members and hit the ground running. It’s been a year since then, and I feel like what I learned will really help the next person from making some of the mistakes I did.
There is so much to consider when you are planning to move out the first time. I mean, after living on my own for a year I still have things that I am adding to my list. If you are craving to do some real life ‘adulting’, here are a few things to consider before you give your big notice.
Don’t forget to make a suggestion if you want more information.
Make Sure You Have Funds for the Fun
By fun, I am referring to all of the expenses you’ll be responsible for. First things first; How much is your monthly income after taxes? Often times you can look at your last two pay stubs and get a good idea of what you will have to spend.
- If your income fluctuates by a lot month to month it may be harder to manage living on your own.
- If it only fluctuates a little, then add up multiple months and divide by the number of months to find the best average of your monthly income.
- Also, this goes without saying. If you haven’t had a good history of keeping jobs or if you don’t have one currently, then you should not try to rough it on your own.
A Budget Followed Everyday Helps Keep Debt Collectors Away
Like what I did there? Seriously though, if you don’t make a budget that is realistic then you can expect to find yourself in a hole where you’re struggling to pay everything.Keep in mind I said realistic. Let’s talk about how you do that.
- A good rule of thumb to find out how much you can pay in rent a month is to multiply your monthly income by .28 (That would be 28% of your total income. Because rent isn’t the only thing you will have to pay for)
- Make sure to include other bills you need to pay in your monthly budget. That includes monthly car payments, car insurance, any monthly loans, credit cards, health insurance, etc.
- Start to really look at how much money you spend on entertainment. For this we will include movies, bars, clubs, or anything similarly related. I would say to look at the last months spending. It will give you a pretty good idea of what you are currently spending.
- Find out how much money you spend on food. If you are living at your parents you’re most likely spending a lot of money eating out. (Food for thought, you might find yourself really needing to cutback on these expenses if all your money is going to this and start considering a trip to the grocery store.)
- Then consider any other expenses such as gas,money spent on clothes or other miscellaneous things.
Download my free monthly budget sheet today to help!
Having Money Left Over is Important!
You should plan to only spend about 90% of your total income. To find the approximate amount you should have left over simply multiply your total monthly income by .10 (That makes 10% for your savings!) If you find yourself spending all of your income or even not having enough income to support your expenses then consider finding a roommate or several roommates.This is definitely an ideal living situation in your 20’s. I will be making another blog post regarding tips and tricks to do this later on.
I’m Ready to Find a Place! Now What?
Once you have your budget together, it’s time to find your new home! There are plenty of ways to start looking, with the use of the internet now-a-days anything is possible! Plus, this is the exciting part! Here is a short list of some good websites that are also available as apps on your phone.
- Find the area you want to live in. Take into consideration the distance you will need to travel for work, school, etc. (This will factor into your budget.)
- You’re going to be bookmarking a lot of options.Only look at 5 properties within a day in person. If you look at too many then you will definitely get confused. Take pictures of the exterior and interior so you can look back on them.
- Take your time! I looked at about 40 places and met with close to 20 of them in person before I made my decision. If you don’t need to rush into finding a place, then don’t!
- Best time to ask questions is during your apartment tour! Use the sheet below to make sure you ask all the right questions to the property owner. Don’t walk away without all the needed information or you’ll just have to go back!
What Happens After I’ve Chosen a Place?
When you’re positive you have found your next home, it’s time for some of the fun to end. Now you have to get ready to fill out your application and save for some important fees. What? There are fees? Calm down,you’re prepared because you used the sheet I provided earlier and made sure to ask all questions before walking away from seeing the property.
- Most places generally ask for you to pay an application fee.
- Your credit will be checked. Check your credit score for free here. If you have bad credit, then consider the following.
- There are some apartments that won’t check your credit.
- Make sure you have 3-4 times the monthly rent available in income. This could help your case with the landlord on why you would make a good tenant.
- You might need a cosigner. Note: A cosigner does not need to live in the apartment. They should have good credit. Be more careful about their credit than your own, that means you can’t risk getting evicted or skipping out on rent.
- Be prepared to pay more upfront. This will affect the security deposit the landlord will require from you.
- Yes, I mentioned a security deposit. But how much is that? On average it will be about one month’s rent. At move-in the landlord generally requires the security deposit and first month’s rent. It is possible a landlord will require 2 times the monthly rent (first and last month) or they could ask for more if your credit history is not too clean.
- Can’t wait to bring your furry friend along with you for the ride? Most apartments require pet deposits as well. They aren’t all refundable at move out, and often time’s apartments will charge you monthly for keeping a pet as well.
By following all of the steps in this and making sure you are prepared, I guarantee that you will find a place that’s a great fit! If after reading this you feel like you aren’t ready yet, that’s okay. Start saving now so that maybe in a couple months to a year you will be ready. Don’t forget, you don’t have to go through this alone. Talk with your friends, your siblings and your parents. Your parents have been through this before and can help give guidance better than anyone. By talking with friends and siblings you might be able to get an idea of future roommate options. Whatever your circumstances may be, I hope this helps!