Last Updated on April 7, 2021 by Mary Pressler
Moving into Your First Apartment?
If a move is on the horizon for you, listen up! This article is for you. There are many helpful tips people don’t tell you about deciding where to move, what tasks you need to take care of, and what you need to buy for your new apartment.
We’re beating hindsight to the punch by giving you some insight right from the start.
If you’re feeling overwhelmed, we’re here to ease the process for you. Take a few minutes to read through our first apartment essentials checklist for renters. We aim to help streamline the not-so-fun aspects of moving so that you can get straight to choosing your wall color and mapping out the nearest Indian restaurant.
Take a quick look at our First Apartment Checklist:
1. Find Your New Apartment
First, you must find the best apartment to suit your lifestyle and budget. Good websites for searching for apartments in Texas include:
Also, consider checking with local, trusted real estate agents that serve the communities where you’d like to live. They can help ensure that you find an apartment rented by a reputable, responsible landlord or property management company.
A Word about Apartment Rental Scams
If a rental setup sounds too good to be true, then it probably is. Be sure that you are using credible realtor or apartment complex websites to search for your home. Due to the unpredictable demand for rental properties, you may have to take your search beyond reality sites. If you search through social media, be cautious.
Sadly, scams are plentiful when it comes to apartment rentals. A landlord should never ask you for money before signing a lease and should always be willing and able to provide you with documentation of inspections, estimated utility costs, and other essential information.
Knowing Your Rights as a Tenant
If you rent an apartment, home, condo, know your rights, including responsibilities as well as your landlord’s obligations. Good websites for searching for Landlord/Tenant Law in Texas include:
2. Understand the Costs and Know Your Apartment Budget
This may seem obvious, but it’s important. Budgeting for your first apartment requires asking the right questions and doing some research.
Know how much you can afford to pay for rent or lease payments, electric utilities, and other apartment necessities. Ask the landlord about what’s included in your rent and what you must pay for on your own. A few questions to ask before signing a lease include:
- Is your trash removal service included?
- Is gas, electric, water, and sewer included?
- Are there dues for using certain amenities at your apartment complex?
- How much does it cost to heat or air-condition a typical unit of your size each month?
- Read our 11 actionable tips to lower your apartment energy costs
3. Come to a Mutual Understanding With Roommates
It’s wise to have a written agreement between you and your roommates. Honestly, having things covered legally is in the best interest of everyone involved.
- How will rent and the electric bill be split?
- What is the agreement on having company over?
- Who will be responsible for buying groceries?
If you’re moving in with a roommate, sit down and discuss all of the potential points of contention you can think of.
4. Choose Your Electricity and Other Utility Providers
Before you move-in is the best time for setting up utilities for your first apartment. If you set up your electricity, gas, water, cable TV, and internet accounts before moving, you won’t find yourself unable to turn on the lights, take a shower, or carry out other necessary living functions.
Texas electricity is different than in other states. 85% of Texans have the right to choose their electricity company. Quick Electricity offers a variety of apartment energy plans with perks including free power.
Note: Your landlord or apartment complex may have specific criteria in place for utilities. Keep in mind that sometimes new services cannot be connected until the day of move-in. However, it’s worth your while to set up utilities in advance. Familiarize yourself with your apartment’s protocol and the energy providers that serve your area.
5. Set Up Automatic Bank Drafts
Often, companies offer an incentive for signing up for automatic drafts because they help guarantee timely payments. Perks for the renter might include saving a percentage of each payment or waived fees. Therefore, it’s almost always beneficial to opt-in to have your rent and utilities paid automatically from your bank account. This will give you fewer payments to make manually each month and provide you with the peace of mind that you haven’t let any bills slip through the cracks.
6. Get an Apartment Renters Insurance Policy
Luckily, renters insurance in Texas is affordable. For example, one company discloses that its average package for renters is approximately $15 per month. Renters insurance is incredibly important to have. The Texas Department of Insurance (TDI) provides detailed information on the types of coverage most policies offer and how they work. Generally, renters insurance helps protect renters from the risks of fire, theft, and storms, but the specifics vary by policy.
Don’t take living in a larger apartment complex for granted. Security may be higher, but the risk still remains. There are other areas to consider besides stolen property. For example, fire or natural disasters can never be predicted. Read your policy carefully and ask your insurance agent any questions you may have before committing to a policy.
If you believe an insurance company is treating you unfairly, call the TDI’s hotline at 800-252-3439 or contact the agency through its website.
7. Pack With Purpose and Ditch the Excess
Now is an excellent time for you to downsize your belongings. Attempt to do a re-assessment of what you’ll need or won’t need at least twice as you pack. What you are convinced you need today may change as you work through the process.
Rid yourself of unneeded and unwanted items by:
- Disposing of them if they’re in poor condition
- Giving them to friends or family members
- Donating them to a local charity or family in need
- Sell them on Craigslist, eBay, or through classified ads in your local media.
The more you discard, donate, give away, or sell, the less “stuff” you will have to pack into boxes, carry up flights of stairs, unpack, and put away.
8. Go Shopping for First Apartment Essentials
Be honest. How many Pinterest boards do you have dedicated to your move right now? Painting the walls, unpacking boxes, and settling into your new space will come soon enough. Now, it’s time to grab the essentials that you will need to have on hand when you move in.
Examples of some Day 1 necessities include:
- Medication (prescription and over-the-counter medicines, such as pain relievers)
- Bathroom basics (shower curtain, toilet paper, washcloths, hand towels, bath towels, soap, shampoo, conditioner, hand soap)
- Toiletries (toothpaste, toothbrush, dental floss, mouthwash, makeup, face cleanser)
- Trash bags
- Cleaning supplies
- Kitchen basics (dish soap, dishcloths, cleaning wipes, cookware, plates, utensils, cups, coffee, snacks)
- Lamps and light bulbs
- Fire extinguisher
9. Settle In and Enjoy Your New Digs
Moving is stressful, but you can alleviate much of the angst and anxiety by thinking ahead to plan for it. A well-prepared move executed with the help of this first apartment checklist will enable you to relax and enjoy your new home to the fullest.
As you plan for your move, let us know how we can help. With various apartment electricity plan options, we offer the flexibility and affordability to work with your budget. Call us at 877-509-8946 to find out more about our prepaid and fixed-rate apartment electricity plans!