Leaving your parent’s home and moving into your first place can be so exciting, but it can also be a stressful time. So many decisions to make and so many details to look after, all on your own. Here are some tips for you to think about as you consider moving into your first place on your own.

Location

As you plan to move into your first place on your own you want to seriously consider the location. Are you moving away from your parent’s home to attend college or have you found a new job? Whatever the reason, you want to make sure that you look for a place that is close to school or work, in a safe neighborhood, and is affordable.

Roommates

As you begin to consider your options, you may want to think about sharing your new place with a roommate or two. There are definitely pros and cons to this, but if you spend some time looking for the right person you may actually enjoy living with someone else. Keep in mind that best friends don’t always make the best roommates.

Finances

While many of us move out of our parent’s home and into our first place without putting too much thought into it, you will find living on your own a lot easier if you spend some time reviewing your finances and creating a budget before you leave home.

List your sources of income, including all employment income, scholarships, student loans, and so forth. Then list your expenses, such as school, books, food, clothes, tenants insurance, utilities, transportation, and of course, rent.

Remember that your rent and utilities should never add up to more than 30% of your income.

As well, keep in mind that most landlords ask for first and last month’s rent on the day that you move in. They may also ask for a small deposit if you have a pet with you.

Once you have your budget calculated you will have a much better idea of how much rent you can pay. This will be important when you decide on location and whether or not you will have a roommate.

Rental Agreement

Reading a rental agreement can be quite boring, but it is a must, right down to the very last detail. There may be points in there that you might think you will never need, but you never know what the future holds.

If you do not understand something, ask questions. Never sign in a hurry. If you still do not understand ask your parents to read the agreement, or hire a lawyer to review it. You want to make sure that it protects you and not just the landlord.

Also, you want to understand what your rent includes, how much they can increase it by in the future, and when.

Can you have pets? Can you even have roommates?

What happens if there is an emergency, such as a water leak? Who fixes it and who pays for it?

Can you paint? Can you hang pictures?

All of these questions need to be addressed before you sign the rental agreement. Keep in mind that this is a legal document and it is not easy to make changes once it is signed.

Moving Belongings

When you move into your first place on your own you may not have a lot of furniture and personal belongings. If that is the case, instead of renting a U-Haul you may wish to hire a company willing to do small moves – no move is too small for some companies. And you will most likely save a lot of money, and once you are settled into your new place you can begin purchasing new items for your new home.

Setting Up Utility Accounts

Now that you are on your own you will need to start paying for utilities, unless of course they are included in your rent. Accounts for water, gas and electricity will need to be registered in your name with local providers. You may also need to setup cable, Internet, and telephone depending on your needs.

As you create your budget, remember that many of these companies charge a deposit on brand new accounts. If you make your payments on time for the entire first year, you should receive your deposit back after the first year is up.