If you’ve been thinking about moving out of your parents’ house, it’s important to consider everything you need before leaping out of the nest, otherwise, you might end up back at their place sooner than you’d hoped. From financial stability to the type of living situation you need to be your best self, here are some things to think about before making the big move.
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Hopefully, living at home has allowed you to build a nest egg that will enable you to afford the costs of moving out and then some. Start browsing apartments on Craigslist, Apartments.com, or Zillow.com to get an idea of how much rents and security deposits in your desired area cost. You’ll also need to factor in utilities, internet, your phone bill and any other monthly costs like car and rental insurance. Rental insurance might seem like one more thing to pay for, but it’s typically under $30 and really comes in handy for instances like break-ins and accidental damage. (And it’s sometimes required.)
Many properties will also require a significant deposit before move in. This is often two months of rent but can vary by owner and location.
On top of that, you’ll want to have some money to cover emergencies. Try to have upwards of $1,000 in your emergency fund at the least. It’s best if you’re able to add to this savings and work up to having 3-6 months worth of living expenses put away. If you’re not able to cover all of these expenses, or you are, but won’t have any extra money to have fun with, consider waiting a few more months (if you can) so you can cover life expenses and have enough left over to enjoy your freedom.
Consider Your Income
Even with a considerable savings, you’ll want to be bring in money to ensure you can live on your own indefinitely. Landlords often require that you make three times the rent every month. If you’re not seeing any apartments that cost a third of your monthly income or less, it might be a good idea to get a second job to ensure you can make your rent payments and have money left over to cover all other expenses.
Of course, not all landlords are the same. Not every person will demand that you make exactly three times the rent, but it comes down to how sustainable your monthly payment will be for you. If your rent is more than half of what you make, know that you will have to cut some of the extra spending you’ve been used to while living at home. But, having your own place, or at least not living with your parents anymore, might be worth cutting those costs.
Check Your Credit
When applying for an apartment, landlords will usually run a credit check. If you have good credit, you’re a good candidate for an apartment, but if you don’t have credit, they’ll want someone with good credit to cosign to ensure that if you can’t pay your rent, the cosigner will. More often than not, the cosigner ends up being a parent. If you suspect you’ll need a cosigner, talk to your parents or someone you trust to be a cosigner before you start applying to apartments to make sure they’re comfortable with that. In the meantime, it’s a good idea to slowly start building credit so you’re not in this position in the future.
If you don’t have a cosigner, or if you have bad credit that you’re trying to rebuild, there are still options. Though it might be tough for you to get an apartment on your own, moving in with a roommate who’s already on the lease as the master tenant might work. The landlord might not check your credit if you’re listed as a subletter and you can continue to build up your credit to good standing. If you’re not in a position to rebuild your credit, or find you’re still having trouble managing your finances, it might be best to stay at home for a year or two until you can keep solid spending habits that allow you to pay rent with as little worry as possible.
Though it might be appealing to live by yourself, that just might not be affordable when you’re first starting out. Finding roommates can your rent and utilities are more affordable. When looking for roommates, find people that you can not only trust, but that you actually like being around. If you’re considering moving in with someone that already mildly annoys you, it probably will only get worse if you’re sharing a home with them. At the very least, pick people who are responsible, courteous and clean up after themselves.
If you’re meeting potential roommates on websites, make sure you feel comfortable around them. Set up a meeting where you can tour the apartment in addition to getting to know the people you’ll be living with. Maybe you can walk to a nearby coffee shop or have a drink together so you can see the neighborhood as well. Though you’ll never fully know someone after one coffee together, you can at least check in with yourself and see if they seem like a good fit. If anything seems off or bothered you on the first meeting, trust your gut and look for people you vibe with.
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Last updated: Sep. 15, 2021