Preparing For Your First Apartment
Moving out of your parents’ home and into your own apartment can be very frightening whether you are staying in the same city or moving out of state. Living at our parents’ home, we have never had to worry about paying for water, electricity, and the basic needs of running a household, but that all changes when you are on your own.
Here is a list of things you should be prepared for/know before renting your first apartment:
Before Signing The Lease:
- Inspect the apartment.
Before you put pen to paper, take a tour of your apartment. Check every nook and cranny to check for anything that might be broken, leaking, or rusting. Also take the time to test the switches and the outlets to make sure they are working. Double check the heating system to ensure the heat is escaping the apartment properly.
- Meet the neighbors/neighborhood.
It’s always good to know who you are going to be living next to, above, and below, just in case anything were to happen. Check out the neighborhood at night and on the weekends to see what kind of crowd that it draws and the type of activities that go on around those times.
- Map out your emergency strategies.
When you move into your apartment you might be living in an upper level apartment and need to map out your exit strategy in case of an emergency. Figure out where to go in a fire, hurricane, tornado, and any other natural disasters that could occur. Have an escape plan and an emergency kit ready in an accessible spot. If you live in an apartment on a higher floor, it's a good idea to invest in a collapsible ladder and keep it near your fire escape in case of a fire. You can purchase these ladders at home improvement stores.
- Decorating with disasters in mind.
Decorating your new home is the best thing about moving in, but when you are decorating, keeping in mind where you are hanging things. In case of an earthquake, watch where you are placing and hanging heavy objects.
- Secure renters insurance.
Renters insurance is a great thing if a fire or disaster were to damage any or all of your belongings while you are living in the apartment.
- Read up on the apartment’s emergency plan.
Before or during the move in process, take a look around the apartment complex and see where their storm shelters are located and their fire exit strategy. If you live in an apartment with underground parking garage, that is most likely where your shelter is.
If You’re Living Alone
- Secure your belongings.
If you are living alone and happen to be living on the first floor of an apartment building, it might be a good idea to get any easily opened doors and windows secured a little bit more. If you have any valuable belongings in your home, it might be worth investing in a safe where you can also put any personal documents.
- Secure your apartment.
When leaving your apartment, close any blinds or curtains that give outside people a clear view of what you have inside of your apt. Don’t make it obvious that you are living alone. Leave a lamp on if you are going to be gone for long periods of time to make it look like someone is home.
While You’re Living There
- Educate any additional house guests.
If you have any roommates move in or have house guests for the week, make sure that they know where everything is and what they emergency plans are for the time that they are there. Consider putting additional food and water in your emergency stash just in case you have unexpected guests.
- Pay attention to your objects.
While you are living in your apartment, make sure you are paying attention to when your smoke detectors need new batteries or when they need to be replaced. Maintenance usually replaces them, but it might be your responsibility to change the batteries.
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