Finding your own place to live is like going on an adventure – you never know where you will end up or what can happen on your ‘quest’. It might seem like fun and games all the way: you check out the place and if you like it, it’s yours. Nevertheless, there is more to this than meets the eye, and if you head out unprepared, you might regret your decision later on. There are a few things to keep in mind when you are looking for a place to rent for the first time.
Can you afford it?
Whatever rent you will be paying, after a while you will realize that it’s too high. If you’re away for college or you decided to start living on your own, you probably don’t have a lot of money in the bank. Just think about it: you should have enough money to eat every day (sometimes even eat out, it’s not easy to cook all the time), enough money to go out from time to time with your friends, enough to pay the bills, and enough for rent. In case your monthly budget cannot be stretched to cover it all, you should consider other options.
It’s dangerous to go alone…
Sharing your living space with another person is never easy; no matter if you shared your room with a sibling as you were growing up or if this will be the first time to have a roommate, think about what this involves. You will need to learn to compromise and trust another person, but this will also give you an opportunity to maneuver and balance your budget a bit better. Sharing living space with someone might not be easy, but being able to split bills and rent – that’s much better than struggling on your own.
Location, location, location
Another important thing is to think about the best possible location for your apartment: is it close to your new job/college? The struggle is real: if it’s really close, chances are that it is not going to be cheap, but if it’s further away, you will have to spend a lot of time (and, likely, money) on gas or public transport to get there. Finding middle ground is not easy, but it’s manageable; and when you think about a possible location, set off and look for a nice place. If you are going to have a roommate, go together, it’s important to agree on the place you are going to live in.
Don’t damage the place
Rented apartments can be a real pain to decorate; what if the landlord doesn’t like the idea of you drilling holes in his walls to hand all your photos? The easiest thing is to combine pretty and convenient, so bring your own plants, curtains, rugs, boxes, and lamps; whatever you like but can easily move around. Play with colors: statement cushions, bright bed covers, and patterned curtains will brighten up any place in no time.
Mind the bills
Look for easy ways to lower the costs in your new place: several smaller LED lighting products strategically placed in convenient places (on your work desk, in the bathroom, by your bed, etc.) will save you money on having to turn the lights on every now and then. Using a fan instead of an air conditioner during the night will significantly lower your electricity bill, and by installing an energy efficient showerhead in the bathroom, you will use less hot water than you usually would. Make sure your shelves and armchairs don’t block radiators, and turn off the TV and computer when you’re not using them.
It is easy to forget about technicalities, added expenses, heating, and saving, in all this fuss about finally being independent. Still, you should remember your responsibilities and try not to step out of the boundaries you set for yourself in the beginning.
Zoe Clark is a home decorator from the land down under. During her childhood she was constantly on the move, and that’s when she discovered her passion for interior design and home décor “to go”. You can find her blogging at Smooth decorator.