Moving into your own place for the first time is a true milestone in your adult life. It is the final step towards becoming completely independent from your parents or guardians. Yes, even if you still call them to find out what to do when your sink makes a gurgling noise. Having your own place means that there is no one there to remind you to stop binge-watching series because you have work in the morning or to double check that you haven’t slept through your alarm the next day. Even if you have a roommate, they are in no way responsible for you or your actions. Moving into your first apartment is a big step and one that should be celebrated.
However, you shouldn’t just jump into renting the first semi-decent apartment you can afford. You need to find the right place for you and your needs. And once you have decided on a specific place, there are things you need to do to ensure the move from living with your family or guardians goes as smoothly as possible. Even though there may be a few bumps in the road, here are some tips for moving into your first apartment that will make this big step feel a little more manageable.
Before you start looking for a place, consider how much space you really need
There are too many first-time renters out there who make the mistake of misjudging how much space they actually need. And then, when the moving day arrives, they find that they either can’t fit both their couch and coffee table into the living room or they have wide spaces left open because they have don’t have enough furniture. Before you even begin to look at the apartments for rent in the area you plan to move into, it’s important that you make a list of everything you own and even add the measurements if you have poor spatial awareness.
Bring along a trusted friend or family member when viewing the place
Looking for your first ever apartment to rent is super exciting and it is really easy to get caught up in that excitement. This means that there are problems with an apartment that you don’t notice at first because you are in love with the high ceilings or the wooden flooring. It can be difficult to find faults in an apartment when you want it to be perfect so that you can sign the lease and move out of your family home. This is why you should bring a trusted friend or family member along with you when viewing a place. Of course, choose a person who is both experienced when it comes to renting apartments and know you and your lifestyle well enough to understand what is and isn’t important to you. If you go apartment hunting alone, you might find yourself renting the first place you can afford.
Read through all the paperwork carefully
Many landlords choose to use a basic rental agreement in South Africa with perhaps a few minor adjustments. In most cases, if they have rented out the property before, they will have a rental agreement template that they generally use. However, this does not mean that you should not read through everything carefully before you sign on the dotted line. This is a legal document and you will be held accountable if you violate any of the terms stipulated in the agreement. You know the saying, “Always read the fine print”? Well, that doesn’t just mean the literal fine print, it means every sentence and every word in the document, as well as the context as a whole.
Plan the moving day as soon as you have signed the rental agreement
Moving is stressful. Anyone who has ever moved from one house or apartment will agree with that statement. There is so much to do, so much to remember and so much that could go wrong. This is why you should not leave planning your moving day until the last minute. As soon as you have signed the rental agreement and know the exact date you will be moving in, start making arrangements. For one thing, being organised could save you a lot of time, both when packing and unpacking. For another, if you begin to plan ahead of time, you can find the best deal on a reputable moving company or vehicle. If you end up leaving that to the last minute, you might end up paying a lot more because you don’t have a choice.
You don’t need to own everything at once. Start with the necessities
There are some items you need in order to live a relatively comfortable and functional life in your new home. For example, you need an oven, stove or even a microwave for cooking and a fridge to keep your groceries from spoiling. However, you don’t need a new TV cabinet that goes with all your other furniture or a brand new coffee table because the one your parents gave you has a coffee stain. All you need in the beginning are the basics, you can buy more things as you go along. This way, you can make quality purchases instead of buying items which are cheap and will break easily.