You’ve packed your boxes, rented the truck, and can’t contain your excitement about renting your first apartment. It can seem overwhelming and exhilarating at the same time; with your first apartment comes freedom and new experiences. Yet, it also comes with new responsibilities and new risks.

First-time renters can make mistakes with their first apartment that will follow them for a lifetime. Missing rent can impact your credit for years, and living with friends can strain your relationships with them. For better or worse, moving out and into your first apartment is life-changing.

You just need to do a little research to make the most of your time in it. And as you get more experience living on your own, it will get easier until you wonder what you were ever worried about. With the right information, it will be easy to navigate the real estate market and turn your first apartment into a home.

And for more information about what to look out for when you start living on your own, keep reading below!

1. Renting Your First Apartment Means Taking Care of Yourself

The most important thing to realize about moving into your first apartment is that nobody will be around to take care of you.

Unlike your parents’ home, there will be nobody around to make your meals and make sure the fridge has food in it. And if you’re leaving a college dorm, don’t expect to be surrounded with people like you.

There won’t be anybody checking up on you, or organizing community events. Your life will officially be your own responsibility, and as exciting as that sounds, it’s also intimidating. Make sure not to get caught up in your newfound freedom, or else you may be back at your parents’ place before you know it!

Nobody Will Clean Up After You or Fill the Fridge For You

There are two things that you should strive to turn into a habit after moving into your first apartment. The first is fundamental to your very survival: keep a filled fridge. Not only will buying groceries save you money compared to take-out, but it’s also healthier for you too!

Buying groceries may also incentivize you to learn how to cook, which can help you do more than just save money. It can also be a good skill to have for impressing your friends or making decadent midnight snacks! Make sure not to make a mess of your kitchen, though.

And if you do end up making a mess, clean up after yourself. Don’t let dishes pile up or leave food to rot on a countertop, or else you may end up having to deal with infestations or mold. Make it a routine to clean up after yourself, and your apartment will stay as spotless as the day you first moved in.

2. Pick the Right Roommates — Friends Can Change

Few people live alone after renting their first apartment. Most of the time, people move in with their friends so that they can split rent and bills, saving money. Moving in with friends also gives you the opportunity to make lasting memories with the people you care about.

At least, that’s the theory. Theories don’t always match up with reality, though.

It’s common for living together to put too much strain on a person’s relationships. After your friends become roommates, your relationship with them may change.

They may not be the person you thought they were in their private lives, and that can lead to fights or awful living conditions. So, make sure you know what to expect from someone before choosing to live with them!

3. Do Not Let Your Bills Pile Up

The worst part of renting your first apartment is how expensive it can get. Rent is just the start of your expenses; you will also need to pay for food, utilities, internet, and renters insurance. And all those bills will pile up quicker than you expect.

And you need to make sure that you pay each one. A late payment on even a single bill can transform into calls from debt collectors. And if you ignore it long enough, a missed payment can impact your credit score, and limit your opportunities later in life.

Staying on top of your bills is essential for successfully living on your own!


4. Pick a Location Where You Will Be Happy

It can seem like you may not have much of a choice as to where you can live. You may face budget restraints, or you may want a place that’s close to your college. Maybe, you just want somewhere that’s far away from home.

Where you live matters just as much as the apartment you will live in. Just like how you should walk through the apartment to make sure it seems habitable, you should look through your neighborhood. Be on the lookout for anything you wouldn’t want to live near.

Most of all, find a location