When moving into an apartment there are a lot of unexpected expenses when moving into an apartment. It is important that you know them upfront so that they don’t catch you by surprise and become a budget buster!
Before you move into your new apartment you first need to decide how much you can afford to pay each month in rent. I highly recommend staying under 25% of your monthly take home pay. It is very important that you don’t go over that amount and become house poor.
Save for security deposit.
The first item to budget for when moving into an apartment is the security deposit. Most apartment complexes require first, last and security deposits. Each deposit is typically 1 months rent so if your monthly rent is $1,000 then you will need $3,000 upfront for deposits.
Rent increases are real.
Be very careful about rent increases from year to year. You may find that you get a great “special” for a year at $1,000 a month for rent but then at the end of the year they increase it to $1,500 and it becomes way outside your budget very quickly! That is a $6,000 increase for the year! Always ask before you sign the lease how much the rent is increased each year. Because of inflation, a typical apartment will go up 3-5%. Asking ahead of time also lets the complex know that you are serious and looking to live there long term. You can also negotiate a longer lease time to lock in that lower rate. Try and sign an 18 or 24-month lease rather than the traditional 12-month lease.
Watch out for pet fees.
Pet fees are another added cost when moving into an apartment. It can be challenging finding an apartment that accepts pets, if they do there will most likely be a pet fee. Either a $200-$500 non refundable pet fee or $25 a month fee that is in addition to your rent. The $25 a month is a great deal if you are being there for only 1 year but it equals out to $300 a year which is $900 for just 3 years.
Utility deposits are a huge hidden cost.
In Florida our electric company FPL charges a $75 fee to turn on your electricity and then when you move out they refund it to you. Sometimes they waive the fee depending on your credit or they may lower it but most of the time there is some sort of deposit when setting up your utilities.
Pizza for friends!
Unless your are wanting to spend hundreds to thousands of dollars by hiring a moving company, you will have to recruit some friends to help you move. Make sure to factor into your budget pizza and water as a thank you and to keep everyone fueled. I keep a case of cold water at the old place and the new place so there is always cold water available. The last thing you would want is to put your friends through hours of physical labor and then wave thank you without feeding them. A couple party size pizzas and 2 cases of water will run you about $50.
Home decor is last.
Decor is the last item that you want to budget for! Moving into a new home is fun and exciting and there will alway be new spots in your home that you don’t have anything to fill the spot. I also include cleaning products into this category. It is very important to deep clean your old apartment as well as the new apartment before you move in.