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Moving can and will be stressful, but having a realistic plan makes it much easier. You first need to focus on making a budget. By doing this first, you will be able to get a better idea of what you can afford when it comes to rent. Sit down and look at how much you make a month after taxes. Then deduct your monthly bills; phone, car, insurance, ect. You also need to figure out how much you spend on things like groceries, gas, and any other monthly expenses you may have. Only after you've done that can you really get an idea of what you can afford.
Then comes the fun part, looking for an apartment. There are a lot of websites out there, but my favorite is apartments.com. They seem to give you the most information and you can even do a 3-D walk through. Search your price range, location, and any amenities you may want. These can be anything from a parking spot, a gym, washer and dryer, or A/C. It all depends on your specific needs.
Once you have found a few places, schedule a walk through with the landlord. This is the perfect time to get a proper feel for the place. Don't be afraid to ask questions like, "are any utilities included," "is there a grace period for rent," "or can I decorate?" Be specific and get everything in writing on your lease. Once you've found a place that suits all your needs and wants, it's time to fill out an application. These usually cost about $45-$60 per person, so make sure you really want a place before going through with it. Read the lease very carefully and don't sign it if you don't understand what you are reading or it doesn't feel right. They will run your credit score, and if all looks well you'll get the place. Most likely you will be paying firsts months rent and a security deposit.
You've got an apartment, now what? The first thing you need to do is call the utility companies and turn on your water, electricity, and gas. You wouldn't want to move all your stuff into an apartment that didn't even have power yet. You would be sitting in the dark and that wouldn't be a great way to start your new independent life. Whether you hire a moving truck or do it yourself, you're going to want to start early and give yourself plenty of time. You never know what speed bumps you might hit.
Now that you're moved in, you're going to still need a few things that you might not have really thought too much about. Used furniture is a great way to fill the space up with out blowing your budget. And a lot of things like cleaning supplies, cooking utensils, and organizational items you can get at the Dollar Tree or the 99 cent store. It's a good idea to do a walk through of the place you are living at now and see what each room has that you may need to buy before moving into your new place. Things like a toilet plunger, sponges, toilet paper, spices and seasonings. It's the little everyday items you over look, but will make a big difference to have on hand in your new place. Lastly, buy candles or some sort of air freshener to make your new apartment smell like home. I hope this article has helped you in some way. Good luck with your new adventure!