“I’ll take it”…steps to getting your first apartment

Finally, the day has come. You are free from the clutch of your younger life. No more living at home. However bittersweet it may be for you, you will now be living on your own.
Whether you are looking for a transition from the college dorm, or simply wish to move out after high school, putting your name down on a leasing contract is a huge step. It’s therefore important to know what you’ll be getting into as you go through the steps of finding housing, committing to a lease, and finally moving in. Here are some questions you should have answers to before you make your mark.

Searching for that perfect place…
Surrounding Area:
-Make sure you research the kind of neighborhood your apartment is located in. It’s important to know how you should interact with those around you, especially if you plan on blasting some music late at night.
-What activities are available around your apartment? It’s great to get out and get an idea of what’s around you for leisure.
-Grocery stores? You may want to note the vicinity of your grocery stores in case you need to make a purchase at the last minute. Plus lugging all of those bags back to your apartment can become pretty tiring if you live far away.
-Is the apartment furnished? If not, you will need to dig up some old couches and furniture in order to provide for your living space.
-Is your apartment walking distance from work or school? Try and get an idea of how you will be going to and from your new apartment to your daily functions.
-If not, make sure to check out bike locks or parking spaces that are available at or around your apartment.
-What about laundry? If you don’t have a washer and dryer in your apartment, chances are that your complex will provide them. Unfortunately, this comes with a cost, so do your research.
General Questions:
-Are you looking to sublet at any point? If so, it’s important to know way in advance how you will finance your time away.
-How will you approach renting an apartment with roommates? Do you have similar preferences? It’s crucial to be on the same page.

Renting it out
Apartment Costs:
-How much is rent?
-Who will pay for utilities, like gas, electric, water, cable, heat, and cable?
-What were their previous costs? How will you split up them up?
-How does snow and trash removal work and who pays for it?
Landlord Policies:
-What are the policies regarding guests?
-What about pets?
-What are emergency procedures?
-Are there costs for work that is done between rental periods?
-What are my responsibilities if my roommate decides to stop paying rent? Don’t “cover” your roommate. This is a common problem for cash-strapped young adults. You may never get your money, or your friend, back.
Contract Policies:
-How much is the security deposit?
-How long does your contract last?

Move-in day
Here are some important items to keep track of in each room of your new pad!
Bed: This goes without saying, but these guys can get expensive. And no, a pullout futon does not count as a bed.
Desk: Make sure you invest in a decent desk. This piece of furniture can last you a long time. Whether using it for homework, job applications, or stacking those graded papers, the desk is a must-have in the world of the young adult.
Posters/Pictures: It’s important to personalize your room to your own tastes. It will make you feel at home much quicker than looking at bare, white walls. Add some flare to the room with those favorite movie posters or a collage of photos from high school.
Coffee Machine: This one comes through in the clutch for those early mornings and after those late nights.
Fire Extinguisher: This goes without being said. It may even be the amateur cook’s most useful tool in times of trouble and burnt food.
Food: Skip the Ramen Noodles. You can even do better than Annie’s Mac & Cheese. Try to impress your dates and stay healthy, especially with a kitchen at your disposal.
Paper Towels: Lots and lots of paper towels…
Reading Material: Well besides NextUp Magazine, we recommend anything from Men’s Health for the men and Vogue for the ladies.
Hygienic Necessities: Floss, mouthwash, facial scrub, and anything in between. You may be on a budget, but hygiene is essential for maintaining a healthy lifestyle in your new apartment.
A lock: Why do apartments have way too many rooms and too few bathrooms? Good question, but unfortunately you are a resident and not an architect. For this dilemma, make sure you have a lock for the bathroom to allow for some privacy.
Living Room:
Tapestries and art: Thinking about adding some class to your living room? Used art and tapestries are a cool and inexpensive way to do so.
Entertainment System:
Favorite Chair: There’s always that one chair that everyone always wants to sit in. You know what I’m talking about. Beat the system by getting your own and staking your claim to it.
Outdoor Equipment: You live in Vermont. So let’s face it, you’ll probably have some sort of outdoor equipment at your disposal. Store it in the closet to keep it out of your way.
Your Car: If you’re lucky enough to 1. Have a car and 2. Have an apartment with a garage, then use it! You will thank yourself during the winter when your neighbors are shoveling themselves out.
Board Games: You choose. Everybody has a preference, whether it’s Monopoly, Risk, Twister, or Scrabble. But these are must-haves in your apartment, especially if the power goes out.
Flashlight: And don’t forget the flashlight. Your cell phone might seem like a reasonable option until the lights really go out. And they will go out. Save your phone for connecting to the outside world. Keeping a rechargeable flashlight always plugged in avoids the inevitable dead battery issue. You will not regret that piece of advice.