The Ultimate Checklist to your First home

The Ultimate Checklist to your First home

The Ultimate Checklist to your First home

Whether you're just graduating from college or deciding to leave your home, there's a lot to know when renting an apartment. From budgets to signing rental contracts to moving dates, we have the ultimate checklist for the first apartment for you.

  • Make a budget

  • Create a wishlist

  • Tour apartments

  • Rental application

  • Sign a lease

  • Move in

  • Get essentials

Make a budget

Apartments are offered in all shapes, sizes and prices. Keep in mind that rent is only part of the cost of moving. There are short-term and long-term costs associated with life in its own right.

Your ultimate first home checklist begins with understanding how much you spend on rent. When creating an accurate budget for renting an apartment, consider all costs so you don't miss them when you pay your first utility bill.

A good first apartment budget should include costs for:

  • Rent

  • Utility bills and initial deposit

  • Cable/internet costs, including installation fees

  • Application fee

  • Security deposit

  • Pet deposit

  • Parking space fee

  • Renter's insurance

  • Moving

If you know you need to buy new furniture for your home, add it to your budget as well. Once you find it, making sure you don't pile up too much credit card debt to set up the perfect apartment is just a hedge. To keep your housing budget clear and track estimated and actual costs using a budget tracker,

The value of emergency funds

It's also a good idea to budget for emergency funds. It's not uncommon for things to go out of our control. I would like to have extra cash on hand that I will not touch no matter what, and prepare for unexpected situations. It's your rainy day / your emergency fund and it has to stay that way.

Create a wishlist

Now that the budget is set, it's time to really start thinking about what type of apartment to call a home. The Wishlist of the First Home Checklist should include all the items you want to put in the First Home. Not all can be obtained, but finding a place to meet as many people as possible is a great way to narrow down your options. Keep in mind the following about your wishlist:

  • Apartment size and how many bedrooms

  • Location and whether you have a preferred neighborhood

  • How close you need to be to public transportation

  • Whether or not parking is available

  • If pets are allowed

  • Security

  • Amenities outside the apartment

  • Kitchen appliances

  • Where you can find the laundry facilities

There may be more to add to this list, but you can optimize your apartment search by thinking ahead of time. Don't waste your time looking for out-of-budget items or losing items on your wishlist. This is a huge time saver.


Of the items on the wishlist, location is often more important than the beginner first thinks. It's not just about commuting, you also have to worry about having everything you want in your neighborhood.

Are you near restaurants, grocery stores, friends and family? It is important to take all these factors into consideration when choosing the perfect first apartment. According to Investopedia, you can think of this particular item among several important factors. All of these help determine a "good" place.

Centrality: How close is the house to downtown, how much to work, etc.

Development: What already exists in the region and future developments

Unit location: If the unit is inside an apartment building, you need to prioritize it, whether it's on the top floor, the bottom floor, or somewhere in the center.

Make sure your wishlist includes your preferences in each of these areas.

Take Some Apartment Tours

It's best to take a look at the apartment before signing a rental contract. Images can easily be misleading. They also don't tell you the complete story of the neighborhood. When you visit the apartment, you can feel the atmosphere of the building itself.

This is also an important factor in determining if an apartment is right for you. If you are a very sociable person, you may prefer a friendly building where your neighbors meet. If you like to stay on your own, you want a place next door without curious tenants. The apartment visit is also the time to check the quality of the apartment. Therefore, make sure that:

Check the locks on the apartment doors and windows (and building doors) to make sure they are closed properly. If the windows have condensation, they are not closed properly. This can be a sign of a previous or existing leak, so check if the floor appears to be sloping and / or somehow distorted.

  • Another leaky note: Make sure the ceiling and walls are clean

  • Turn on each faucet and make sure the print and water color are what you want

  • Turn on each light switch and make sure the bulb is not burned out

  • Look for outlets to make sure you have enough space and the location is right

  • Notice the amount of natural light the house receives.

  • Watch out for large windows, as light can have a big impact on your general mood. Try your device.

  • If something isn't working or is really out of date, check with the Property Manager to see if you're ready to fix or replace it. If possible, check this in writing.

  • Take out your smartphone and check that it has good service reception

  • Look for evidence that the pest was here at some point. Small holes in the floor and buried cracks in the walls are clear signs.

  • During the tour, listen carefully to see if you can hear the noise from other apartments. If you can hear them, they will hear you.

  • Note how many stairs you climb to get to the apartment. Keep in mind that you need to bring groceries with you on a regular basis.

  • Ask about utility costs and average monthly costs to update your budget tracker.

  • Ask about guests and their parking availability.

  • Please inquire about amenities and ask to view them

Get as much detail as you can and write down what you like and dislike most. Seeing some apartments nearby makes it difficult to remember accurate information. Having notes to look up will improve your memory.

Complete a rental application

You have found an apartment, but your first apartment checklist is still in progress. Once you have found the perfect apartment, the next step is to fill out a rental application. Bring this to provide information that real estate managers may request at this time:

  • A valid I.D.

  • Social security card

  • Most recent bank statement

  • Your last three pay stubs

  • Referral letters from your employer or close friends or family

These are standard items for any rental application, but add co-signer information to the checklist for the first apartment. You probably don't have a comprehensive credit history, so you may need it. Co-signing your rent gives your property manager more security than your rent is paid on time.

Sign your lease

Approval of the rental application usually takes several days. After that, sign the lease agreement and set the move-in date. The rental agreement is a legal document and should be treated as such.

This means that if you have something you don't understand, read it carefully and ask for an explanation. Make a note of all important facts, such as:

  • Rent payment due date and payment method

  • How to send and process maintenance requests

  • additional fee

  • Whether you can sublet

  • This is how the parking lot works

you'll also want to review closely all the policies within your lease to make sure you follow the rules.

  • Guest policy

  • Pet policy

  • Parking policy for visitors

  • Late rent policy

  • Decorating policies, which include whether you can put holes in your walls and paint

Before signing the agreement, please make sure you agree to all of the rental agreements. If you disagree, talk with your real estate manager. They are often willing to compromise. Any changes must be added to the rental agreement in writing before signing.

Time to Pack In

This is your first apartment, so you may not need to move there. Anyway, it's best not to delay your preparation for the move. You need a move-in date as soon as you sign the lease agreement. Once that's done, start preparing.

  • Make a plan for a moving company or rent a moving truck

  • Ask a friend for help

  • Get packing materials-cardboard boxes, bubble wrap or wrapping paper, adhesive tape, oil-based pens

  • Create a moving table that records all the details, down to the contents of each packed box

  • Staying organized is important for a successful move to your first apartment.

Package delivery

Another part of moving in is knowing what you don't have and what you need. I buy some of these myself and bring them with me, but they come with high-priced items. Understand how these types of supplies work. Some apartments are difficult to deliver in large quantities, so it's best to bring them all when you move. In this way, the delivery person can bring the furniture straight up without any problems.

Get the essentials for your first apartment

The furniture in the first apartment varies from person to person. It all depends on what you already have with you. Packing a room from home means that you can pull all the furniture in your bedroom to arrive.

If you have a nice relative to donate second-hand goods to your new home, you can also bring a sofa or dining table. You even have the option to get old dishes.

No matter what you bring, you have to buy a lot of essentials for your first apartment. Many of them are small things that you don't think about until you really need them, and it's too late.

However, add these items and jump to your first shopping list. In another list, you can take care of big things like furniture and room decorations.

  • Bedding

  • Hangers

  • Clothes hamper

  • Shower curtain

  • Bath towels

  • Toilet paper, tissues and paper towels

  • Hand soap

  • Garbage cans for every room

  • Cleaning supplies

  • Plunger

  • Mop, broom and/or vacuum

  • Dishes and silverware — enough to serve six

  • Cooking utensils

  • Pots and pans

  • Mixing bowls

  • Oven mitts

  • Measuring cups and spoons

  • Can and bottle opener

  • First-aid kit

  • Basic tool kit

Don't forget to check your home for proper safety device. If you don't see the smoke detector, contact the owner to have them installed. It is also advisable to buy at least one fire extinguisher for storage at home. In the kitchen, keep it under the sink.

The list of the most important things to do in the first apartment probably contains more than this starter list, but don't skip any of these. When you start settling in your new home, you will regret not having them.

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