Live Worry-Free in Your New Flat

Yes, school is back in session and for those of you who are living in apartments for the first time this year, take a peek at some tips which could make your transition easier.

Welcome to a brand new school year! I am back with some more ideas on how to make your college experience simpler. This week, let’s discuss apartment life.

Making the transition from dorm life to the apartment life is a pretty fluid one, if you’re ready for it.

If this is the year you are moving out of your parents’ house or your college dormitory and into your own place, have no fear: if you approach the move correctly, it can be a truly rewarding experience.

I have been living in my new apartment for about a week now and I can already see a few similarities and differences between this and what I experienced while living on campus.

Realize that your responsibilities have drastically increased compared to living at your parents’ house or in the dorm. Since you may not be on a meal plan anymore, cooking will be a common activity as will grocery shopping. In the past, you may have been able to take some cafeteria food to go, but the time has now come for you to become somewhat like Bobby Flay.

Paying rent will be something new as well. Never be late with your monthly payments -- the landlord may or may not be the most patient person in the world. Set up your payment method as soon as you can; credit card and personal checks work just fine, as well as a direct withdrawal from a checking or savings account.

With paying rent comes making sure you have the money to get by month by month. Getting one or even two campus jobs might be necessary in order to pay off bills and keep the landlord off your back for the rent. Buying groceries, paying for utilities (electricity, water, internet, cable, etc.) and furnishing the room can all add up, so if you don’t have a job then now would be a wise time to get one.

It’s possible you may have multiple roommates. In this case, discuss who will be responsible for buying what (for example, you can buy the kitchen cleaning supplies, somebody can buy a vacuum cleaner, another can buy a video game console, etc.). Talk about which of your items are off-limits and what you’re willing to share. Establishing a solid rapport with roommates is critical, so don’t do anything that would make them upset.

Having guests over should be something first consulted with your roommates, especially if the guests plan on staying overnight. Your roommates will still hold trust in you if your guests don’t rummage through their things and don’t cause a nuisance.

If you want your security deposit back from your landlord, do not make a mess of the room. The apartment was inspected prior to your arrival and notes were taken on what was broken and what wasn’t. If something does break, don’t hide it until after your lease expires because you won’t get your deposit back and will be slapped with maintenance fees galore. Call or visit the maintenance office as soon as possible to discuss getting a replacement for the broken item(s).

Getting involved in events taking place in your apartment complex is a great way to meet people who could share the same interests you have. Be on the lookout for any barbecues or movie nights your apartment complex may have planned. There should be several throughout the year, so don’t fret if you can’t make it to one.

I’m looking forward to another great school year. If you have any suggestions for future column topics, please leave a comment below and I will add it to my list.

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