I’ve been thinking about starting this series for a while now. I know a lot of people don’t know where to start when it comes to looking for an apartment, so I wanted to start a series with tips, tricks, and information about how to move into your first place, or your next place. This will be a journey along with me as my boyfriend and I make the move from New Hampshire to Florida. We will be moving in about 2 months, so I thought I would share our progress and what we will be doing to get moving ready.
Today I’m gonna share with you guys our budget and how much we want to spend, where and how I look for a place to live, how we decided when to move down and more!
Money & Budgeting:
When we decided to move away, the first thing we needed to do was set a money goal. This goal is the amount of money we wanted to have saved up before the move down. We decided on $7,000. This money would be for first months rent, deposit, and then everything we need for move in to get us started like a bed, food, etc. This will also sustain us while we look for jobs. $7k may seem like a lot to some, and a little to others, but we thought it just right for us. The $7k is a combined amount, so this meant each of us must save $3,500 personally. We decided on moving back to FL this past January which meant we had 9 months to save up the money. Since January, we each put away $125 a paycheck to a savings account specifically for FL, that way we could reach our goal without thinking about it too much.
When it comes to money spent on a new apartment, our budget is $1,000 tops with everything included. This means that when we pay all our apartment related bills every month, we don’t want to go over $1k combined. So after paying rent, water, electric and internet, ideally we will not have gone over $1k. This means that individually, we will each need to have $500 at then end of the month at the most for bills. This is not including anything outside of the apartment itself.
Side Note: I thought I’d add this in case anyone is interested. Personally, I like to do out all my finances ahead of time so I think how much money I’ll need to bring in weekly and monthly to pay for all my expenses. This means combining my $500 apartment expenses with my $325 car & insurance payment, $75 phone bill, $35 student loan payment, and other expenses like groceries, gas, and miscellaneous things. I add that monthly total all up and figure out how much money I have to bring in a week to afford it all. Normally I shoot for $500-$600 a week.
Where to look:
When it comes to looking for a place to live, I have a few ‘go-to’s’.
My first would be Zillow. I always check here first for new apartment listings. I love Zillow because you can trust it, and you can filter unwanted amenities so you only see listings that fit your criteria.
ForRent is another website I use that’s really good if you’re looking to live in an apartment complex. This will show you all the apartments that fit your criteria, all units available, and is pretty much a more general version of an apartment complexes personal website.
Lastly is Apartments.Com. This one is similar to ForRent, but personally I feel like it’s a little less user friendly, but it works just the same.
Whenever I find an apartment complex on one of these websites, I always check the actual website of the apartment for more accurate and updated prices and pictures. I also always look at the reviews of apartments. When doing so, I look at dates of reviews and I read them thoroughly so I know exactly what it is people don’t like about it. This is very important to do.
Side Note: In case anyone is interested in what my boyfriend and I are personally looking for in an apartment, I though I’d share with you guys.
– 2beds/1bath OR 1bed/1bath w/ den.
– At least 750 sqft.
– Washer and dryer IN unit.
– Pet friendly (We have a cat and want a dog).
– Hardwood floors (it’s mostly me that wants this).
– Under $950 (for the rent only).
– Pool on property.
When to move:
We picked our date to move for obvious reasons so it made it easy. Our factors were…
– Our current lease is ending.
– School year starting (for me).
– Busy season in FL (so places are hiring).
– We wanted one last summer in NH.
Right now we are currently in the process of figuring out when exactly our current lease is up so we can get an exact moving date, but we do know it’ll be end of August/Early September. My best friend who still lives in FL is flying up to NH, to drive down with me as my boyfriend and I are driving separately in our own cars.
We plan on selling ALL of our furniture so we can go down with only personal belongings and as little as possible (pretty much clothes, toiletries, and anything we can’t part with), but no furniture. We want to start from scratch when we get down there.
I am having the same friend who’s flying up here, look at the apartments we have narrowed down to since she lives down there, and she is going to FaceTime me when she tours them so I can see how they are and she can let me know what the staff is like, what the area is like, and what the other residents are like. When my boyfriend and I get down there, we plan on staying the first night at her place, touring our final selection of “could be” apartments, and making a final decision. Ideally we would sign a lease that day and be able to move right in.
I hope you guys enjoyed my ‘Moving in’ series #1. If you have any questions or comments, or just enjoyed this series, be sure to comment and let me know!