There’s no getting around it: moving is a hassle. No one ever said, “I love moving.” That’s because you’re disrupting your routines, spending money you don’t have, lifting heavy objects, and then finding yourself in a new place, sometimes with new people.
The best remedy for uncertainty is knowledge. If you go into your next move informed and prepared, you are a lot more likely to be happy with the outcome. Here are five facts to consider the next time you change apartments.
Fact 1: Reading the Fine Print Of Your Lease Will Prevent Surprises
They’re called landlords for a reason. They have more control over your experience as a renter than any other factor does. Recent statistics compiled by Apartment List indicate that rental demand will continue to rise, which means that landlords will continue to determine rental rates and terms with increasing power. Therefore, you need to protect yourself by reading the contract very carefully, specifically with regards to common points of dispute, including penalties for late payment of rent, pet policies, marks against your security deposit, and who pays which utilities.
As a renter, you have rights. In most cases, these will be listed in your lease, and your full federally protected tenant rights are available here.
Fact 2: Planning Your Move Will Save Headaches
Something else no mover ever said: “I spent too much time planning.” There are so many things that must be addressed beforehand, including submitting your change of address to the post office, having enough cash on hand to pay both your first month’s rent and your security deposit, stocking up on boxes and packing tape, and renting a truck.
Getting off to an early start allows you to foresee what pitfalls you might encounter when the time comes and it could save you money. For example, if you know you will need to keep some of your things like old furniture or clothing off-site, you might want to search for long and short-term storage solutions nearby.
Fact 3: Roommates: Setting Ground Rules Up Front Will Spare Everyone Tears
When friends become roommates, problems often arise. The easiest way around future hard feelings is to be clear about expectations. The most common areas of conflict are rules about noise, parties, and overnight guests, how to divide up utility payments, rules about each other’s food, and perhaps most commonly, rules about cleanliness.
Common-sense solutions like written agreements and a task chart on the refrigerator can go a long way toward heading off hard feelings.
Fact 4: The Secret to a Great Apartment Experience: Location, Location, Location
Ideally, when looking for an apartment, you hope to find one that is conveniently situated, close to transit, and within walking distance of stores and restaurants. However, if you’re on a budget, you might not have as many choices as you’d like.
One compromise you may have to make is going with a neighborhood that is… let’s just say, less than family-friendly. If you do go to a place where you may face security challenges, encourage your landlord to install home protection. Not only will it improve your peace of mind, but it will improve your landlord’s property values.
Fact 5: Your Home Is Your Castle—Sort Of
After you’ve made sure the apartment is in good shape and you’ve signed the lease comes your opportunity to make your place your own, within the terms of the lease, of course. Pair your furniture with non-permanent accents to your decor.
Posters, area rugs, and unique light fixtures can go a long way to making you feel at home. You might not be living in that apartment for long, but that doesn’t mean you need to have one foot out the door. Settle in and make the most out of your surroundings while you’re there; you’ll be happier.
Don’t Plan to Fail
Remember, you have more control over your apartment moving experience than you may realize. If you plan ahead, read the fine print, and take advantage of available online resources, your moving could turn out to be a breeze, and you’ll find yourself putting your feet up in your new place sooner than you expected.