Getting your first apartment is simultaneously extremely horrifying and insanely exciting. The exciting part is the freedom, living away from your parents and their rules for the first time. At the same time though, you are aware of the immense amount of responsibility you are undertaking by renting your own place. These are 5 things I learned from my experience as a first time renter.
1. Best Friends and Roommates are very different things
This always seems like a good idea. You are finally ready to move into your first apartment along with two of your best friends. You have been friends for years and had countless sleepovers so this is a dream come true, correct? Sadly, you may be mistaken. While living with your closest friends may seem like a good idea, it has a very good chance of turning your friends into just “room mates.” Living with another person exposes an entirely new side of them to you, even as their closest friend for years. I am not saying to avoid living with your friends but rather, be prepared for a bumpy ride. The best way to navigate this experience of living with your friends is to always be willing to compromise. Your friends may have different ideas than you for any given situation, but rather then anyone being right or wrong, find a middle ground. Remember that in a good compromise both sides lose and expect this going in.
2. Everything costs money
Everything from cooling your apartment with air conditioning to turning on the stove and shampoo costs you money. While living at home and calculating out your monthly budget it seems like it will be so easy to afford. That is almost always not counting in the amount of money you will spend on toilet paper, dish soap and the real cost of electricity. Manage this by shopping at dollar stores when possible. Stick to a strict monthly budget and never let your essential toiletries get too low. Stocking a bathroom and kitchen with necessary materials adds up and needs to be done once a moth.
3. Cockroaches can survive a nuclear blast
Not all first apartments have roaches (and I hope yours doesn’t!) but pests are a very real problem that needs to be dealt with. The big problem with pests in apartments is that they aren’t always your fault. If your neighbor has poor cleaning and hygiene practices then this could unfortunately result in a pest problem for you. It is important that you speak with your landlord prior to move in and understand who is responsible for eliminating pests if they do come. The best advice I can give you is to take all possible preventative measures. Make sure the apartment is sprayed prior to move in and inspect it for any signs of bugs. Bugs are attracted to food so make sure that there is no food left out or stuck to the counter. Which brings me to my next point..
4. Things don’t clean themselves
Keeping your new apartment clean will be much harder then you think. Time must be budgeted every week to keep up the maintenance, even in small apartments. Dirty homes attract bugs, smell bad and are visually embarrassing if guests are over. Combat this by doing what your mom has always told you; clean up after yourself! Do your dishes prior to going to bed every night, sweep and mop every week and vacuum frequently. Keeping your apartment clean will also ensure that the cleaning deposit you placed at move-in will be returned at the end of your lease agreement. Please believe me, cleaning all of your small messes will be easier then a mass clean up of a year’s worth of mess.
5. Freedom is worth all of it
None of the points written in this article seem that great but don’t worry, your first apartment will be the time of your life. You are embarking on the journey to establish yourself as an adult. The path to independence starts with your first apartment and you will learn these as well as many other lessons along the way. This is the intersection of unlimited fun and countless responsibilities so my last piece of advice; be aware of the burden that comes with this adventure but cherish every moment of it.