If you know one thing about moving, it’s that it’s stressful. It may not surprise anyone to learn that most people agree that moving is more stressful than divorce.
Well, moving doesn’t have to be too stressful, especially if you take steps ahead of time to make it easier. Fortunately, we can help with that.
Let’s talk about how to have a smooth transition when finding and moving into a new apartment.
Find the Right Apartment
A smooth transition starts before you find a place. Finding the right apartment will make a world of difference for your transition and the duration of your lease.
For these reasons, make sure you do your diligence during your online apartment search. This starts with the city and neighborhood, as this can make or break your experience. Most people will move to a city within reach of work and that fits their budget, so we can assume you have a rough idea of where you want to live.
However, the neighborhood can make a world of difference. Make sure you do your research on essential local information, including crime rates, school quality, and other important information.
Determining Your Needs
First, you’ll need to determine the area where you want to live and whether you want to rent or buy a home. If it isn’t going to be a permanent or semi-permanent living situation (at least five years), then an apartment is the better financial option. Otherwise, you’ll have to take a loss from interest when you resell the house, especially with the Fed continuing to raise interest rates.
Next, you’ll need to determine how many bedrooms you need. It’s typically helpful to have one extra to use as you please unless rental prices limit your search.
From there, you’ll need to determine your budget. Ideally, you want your monthly rent to exceed 25% of your monthly income. However, most people can afford one-third of their income as rent, which should be your maximum limit.
After that, it’s all about special considerations, including commute time, and any special needs you may have at your location. These needs could include anything from having EV chargers on site to wheelchair ramps.
Beware of Scams
Unfortunately, the apartment industry is ripe for scams. Typically, scammers will upload fake listings and pose as property managers or landlords asking for a “deposit” or “application fee”. Of course, you’ll never hear from them again after paying for these.
Therefore, once you know what you need, look at rental listings from reputable agencies or owners. Filter them to your needs, including the location, price, number of bedrooms, and special considerations mentioned above.
Ideally, you should stay away from Craigslist ads or other notorious listing sites like these. If you see something suspicious, proceed with caution and don’t give out any sensitive information (or confirmation codes) until you see the property. Nothing kills a smooth transition like someone stealing your money!
Don’t feel bad about asking a prospective landlord some important questions before moving in. For example, you may want to ask:
- When is the soonest move-in date?
- What does the screening process involve?
- How is rent collected?
- Are there any fees I should know about?
- What are the total move-in costs?
- Can I have the pets I want?
- Can people smoke in this building?
- Are there any guest policies I should know about?
The list goes on. The more you ask, the less you’ll have to worry about later on. You don’t want any surprises after accepting the apartment.
Take Care of Your Current Apartment
The last thing you want during your transition is for your current living situation to cause you stress.
Before moving out, make sure that you clean out your apartment and take care of anything that can affect your security deposit. While laws regarding security deposits vary widely depending on where you live, it’s best to leave the place in good repair. Otherwise, you could lose money or lose a previous landlord as a reference during future apartment searches.
Landlords expect to have to paint the walls and fill in small holes. You don’t have to worry about routine maintenance like that.
Instead, focus on clearing out your belongings and either fixing any serious issues or notifying your landlord about them before moving out. Don’t burn bridges if you don’t have to!
Also, make sure you don’t forget anything! While this is easier said than done, conduct a final sweep of your apartment before leaving. There are plenty of common items renters forget to take with them.
For example, it’s easy to forget about oven thermometers, ice trays, coat racks, and other fixtures you may not think about. While these are small, they can add up if you have to buy new ones!
Respond to Questions Promptly
When the apartment you want sends you requests for information regarding background checks, paperwork, or anything else, respond as quickly as you can. This will help prevent delays once you find an apartment that you want.
If you don’t respond in time while you’re still a candidate, chances are that the apartment will go to someone else. If that’s the case, this will only delay the process and make it more challenging to find an apartment within your desired time frame.
Hire Packing and Unpacking Services
Packing takes a lot of time and resources. It could be a months-long process if you have a busy schedule, and you’ll have to live with the clutter in your house until the move.
Therefore, this is a major cause of a lot of the stress you likely feel prior to a move. Hiring professional packers can help alleviate a lot of this stress, ensure that you’re belongings are secure, and minimize the time it takes to finish the job.
Also, you may want to consider hiring unpacking services! This can take even longer as you decide where things go and figure out all of the other logistics after your move. If you have both, then you won’t have to worry about the most drawn-out part of moving.
Hire Professional Movers
Hiring movers is one of the best things you can do to take some of the stress off of your back. Moving is physically demanding, requires a lot of planning, and will take at least a full day’s work. You’ll also have to bother your friends and family for help without a moving company!
More importantly, moving companies are incredibly safe and professional. This ensures that your most valued possessions stay safe during transport.
The average person moves 9.1 times in their lives, so lower the chances you have of breaking your goods. As we all know, accidents happen.
Not only that, but hiring movers takes away responsibility. If something does go wrong, you aren’t responsible for the damages, whether to your property or to your new building.
Therefore, hiring a reputable and licensed moving service will ensure that the liability falls on them for any damage or loss of property. Just make sure their business is insured before hiring!
Plan For Other Logistics
Whether you’re moving yourself or hiring a moving company, there may be plenty of other logistics to consider. Getting your car(s) from your current residence to your new apartment is an obvious example that may need planning. That’s especially true for a DIY move, as you’ll likely rent a truck along with it.
Also, if you need to transport pets, don’t forget about these logistics. A long trip in the car (or train, plane, etc.) can be quite stressful for dogs, cats, and other pets, so consider talking to your vet beforehand.
If you’re moving within your city, then this isn’t a big deal, as you can make multiple trips if necessary. However, if you’re moving to Memphis from another state, planning ahead will help you get everything done in one trip.
Make Necessary Updates Before the Move
Changing your address at the post office, enrolling children in the local public schools, and updating all relevant information ahead of time can make the moving process as simple as possible. These are the essential updates you need to make every time you move.
Also, if you’re moving to a new city or state, it doesn’t stop there. Don’t forget about other potential changes like:
- Updating employer information
- New driver’s license or ID
- Changing your credit card zip code
- Opening library accounts
- Finding a primary care doctor
- Finding a dentist
- Transferring local chapters or groups where you participate
There are plenty of other examples that may apply to your situation. The sooner you start making these calls, the better. Try to do them during business hours if possible to get it all done in one day.
Prepare For Move-in Day
Whether you have movers or not, move-in day still requires participation. Plan ahead to meet with your new landlord to receive your key, make sure you leave your current keys for your current landlord, and schedule all other essential tasks for that day.
Make sure these times won’t conflict with your move and always give yourself more time than you think you need. For example, if you think you’ll need 30 minutes to meet with your landlord at 9 am, plan for an hour. Don’t overextend yourself on this already-stressful day.
Keep in mind, it really doesn’t hurt to write everything down ahead of time so you know your schedule going into move-in day.
Don’t forget to cancel your utilities from your last apartment. Call them and tell them to cancel your utilities as soon as possible, or to transfer them to the owner of the building.
Moreover, move-in day is also a good time to switch on your current one, which you can typically do on the same day. Call the utility company or create an account with them online and fill out your information. Make sure to choose “immediate” if possible, as you’ll likely need to transfer services away from the current owner.
Transition into Your New Home
Once you’ve found a place that meets your needs, you’ve completed the application process, and you’ve successfully moved in, it’s time to transition into your new home. This is everyone’s favorite part, as you get to try all of the local shops, restaurants, and amenities.
To avoid any challenges, now is also a great time to ask your new landlord some important questions about regular living, such as:
- When is trash day?
- Will the driveway be plowed when it snows?
- Can I pay rent online?
- When is “quiet time”?
However, don’t forget to take time to enjoy yourself. It’s easy to get distracted with a new job, scheduling appointments, and more.
Get to know your neighbors, walk around the area, and do some things you enjoy during your first week in your new home. You’ve earned it after a challenging move!
Enjoy Your New Apartment
Now that you know some helpful tips for a smooth transition into your new apartment, put them to use today. The sooner you start your search and take steps toward your move, the easier and more enjoyable it will all be. Remember, moving doesn’t have to be nearly as stressful if you find the right home, plan ahead, and take the right steps in advance.
Stay up to date with our latest apartment living tips, and don’t hesitate to contact us with any questions or for help finding the right home for your needs!