The Ultimate Apartment Checklist

From getting your first apartment to what you need to move in, we’ve got you covered!

Living in an apartment is for everybody. Whether you’re starting a career, starting a family, or looking to scale down, the apartment lifestyle is one of community and security. The secret to successful apartment living is finding the right rental and knowing how to prepare for a rewarding apartment lifestyle.

To help you find the right apartment and create a comfortable space to live in, we introduce the ultimate apartment checklist! Let’s start with the steps to getting your first apartment.

Do You Have Your Checklist Ready?
Do You Have Your Checklist Ready?

How to Get My First Apartment?

You open Google, search for “apartments to rent” and start scrolling through the properties in your area. With online listings of rentals in different areas, it can be overwhelming to determine which type of apartment and which neighborhood will bring you the security and the comforts you desire in a rental. To make your decision easier and more informative, we look at 8 important steps to getting an apartment.

Affordability is Key

Before you start that apartment search, think about what you can afford. You shouldn’t spend more than 30% of your income on your rent. This is a general rule for affordable housing, but it is also a rule that we can all incorporate when determining what we can comfortably pay towards a security deposit and monthly rent.

Struggling to keep up with rent will increase your stress and anxiety about keeping a roof over your head. If you desire a large apartment with a stunning view but affordability is a problem, then securing a smaller, cost effective apartment until you can save to get that dream apartment is a far better choice.

Look for a Suitable Area and Community

Successful apartment hunting is about taking the time to find a place that provides the best fit. It should support your interests, provide a fair commute to work, and help you reach the amenities you enjoy.

Narrow Your Search

Trying to compare an endless list of properties can become confusing. You may also just miss a really valuable rental in the process! The first step is to create a list of the features you are looking for in an apartment. One or two bedrooms, upstairs or downstairs, and location. Out of the apartments that pique your interest, choose 4 to 5 for your final consideration. Compare the rent, the utilities, the locations, the size, and start preparing your applications based on your top 2!

If you want to know the best way to find an apartment, give our guide on How to Find the Right Apartment a peak! We share the latest tips and steps you can take to get the best apartment.

Jump To:

  1. The Do’s & Don’ts of Moving into a First Apartment

  2. Live Comfortably!

Prepare Yourself So You Can Be Approved.
Prepare Yourself So You Can Be Approved.

Time to Prepare for Your New Apartment (The Apartment Checklist)

The apartment checklist is all about ensuring you have just what you need to rest easy once you’ve moved into your new apartment.


Depending on the size of your apartment you might be changing the size of your bed. Invest in some good quality linen including sheets, duvet covers, and pillows. You can also start shopping for bedroom chests and side tables before you move in. This way you can mix and match your bedding sets to suit a color scheme. You can also get a bedside lamp which just makes it easier to increase the amount of light in the room or to turn the light off once you’re in bed.

The Bathroom

The basics you will need for your bathroom include towels, possibly a new shower curtain and hooks, soap, shampoo, toilet paper, and bathroom cleaning agents.

Living Room Furniture

Items such as new curtains, a comfortable sofa, table and chairs, and a nice rug will create a homely feel the moment you walk in the door.

The living room is a space you can take your time to decorate as you please. It is best not to rush the process but to consider the ways certain styles and sizes of furniture will work in the apartment. You can also decorate your apartment affordably with ready-to-assemble furniture and multi-use furniture.

One thing you shouldn’t forget for the living room is a curtain or suitable window treatment. If your new apartment does not have a curtain or blind, passers-by may look into your space. A window covering for when you first move-in can provide privacy while you unpack your belongings.

The Kitchen

You will need plates, bowls, glasses, dish towels, a small trash can, a kettle, cutlery, and food storage containers. Be sure to pack in some detergent and disinfectant to give your countertops a wipe down.

Along with the cleaning agents, buy sponges and paper towels. I like to wipe the surface areas and clean the bathroom space before I settle in. It creates freshness and removes any dust on the surfaces.

Ready-made foods are also great for the first few nights after moving in. Packing a few containers in the fridge for easy meals will help you focus on organizing your belongings.

General Essentials

Along with your living, bedroom, and bathroom essentials, a medical kit and some basic tools will help you in case of an emergency. You should also have emergency maintenance numbers available should you need plumbing or electrical service in the middle of the night. Ask your landlord for the contact information of the maintenance services for the apartment.

Do not pack your clothing in boxes that are impossible to reach! A few clothing items in a spare bag will allow you to change quickly and comfortably while you organize your goods.

Jump To:

  1. How to Get My First Apartment?

  2. How Much Money Do I Need to Make to Move into an Apartment?

What You Should Do When You Move Into Your Apartment?

Once you’ve moved in and you’ve settled down, maintaining a good tenancy and building a sense of community can help you feel more comfortable in your new space. Familiarize yourself with the community rules. This includes understanding the use of shared amenities and communal areas.

You can also focus on affordable decorating to make your apartment feel like home. Before you decide to change the furniture and the color on the walls, take some time to read your lease. Understanding the terms in your lease can save money, time, and much frustration when it's due for a renewal. You should consult with your landlord before making any changes including painting the wall. The lease will also provide a breakdown of community rules and what is expected from their tenants.

Leases will detail the monthly rent, the maintenance duties provided by the landlord, and tenant responsibilities.

A lease will describe the terms surrounding the security deposit. Take pictures of the apartment’s move-in condition and maintain the property so that it remains in this state by the end of the lease.

Do You Know What to Do When You Move Into an Apartment?
Do You Know What to Do When You Move Into an Apartment?

What You Should Not Forget When Moving Into an Apartment?

Don’t forget to pack your essentials such as cutlery, plates, glasses, and even bedding into boxes that are clearly labeled and that you can easily access. By the end of your move-in day, you may feel so tired, the last thing you want to do is rummage through boxes just to find a pillow or a spoon!

When to Speak to Your Landlord

You can start a good tenant and landlord relationship by keeping your landlord up to date on your move-in date. Try to schedule a time when most people are at work especially if you are moving into a top-floor apartment. This will prevent you from hogging the stairs!

Get a Reputable Moving Company

To make your move-in journey easier and less stressful, contact a trusted move-in company. Movers are experienced in carefully wrapping and packing valuables. They will also ensure that your packaged goods arrive on time with little hassle or fuss.

Consider Renters Insurance

The next step to successful apartment living is to consider renters insurance. While landlords have cover to protect the property, it does not cover tenant contents. Renters insurance is an affordable way to keep your goods protected against damages, loss, or theft.

From renters insurance to the utilities, careful consideration for the expenses in renting an apartment can prevent financial constraints and help you prepare for a year of renting.

Do You Know When to Speak to the Landlord?
Do You Know When to Speak to the Landlord?

How Much Money Do I Need to Make to Move into an Apartment?

To endure you can afford the rent, your income should be at least 3 times the rent. If you are looking at an apartment that costs $600 per month, your earnings need to be at least $1800 to $2000.

Apartment rent may not include utilities, so check with your landlord what the costs for water and electricity are.

Can I Afford an Apartment on Minimum Wage?

A regular savings plan is key to affording your own apartment. The average affordability for rent is $20 - $30 which means an income of around $42 240.

When you rent a second chance apartment, you can benefit from affordable rentals with great finishes and a secure environment. Second chance apartments are also available for applicants with bad credit.

Does Credit Really Matter When Applying for an Apartment?

Landlords will use your credit to assess your spending habits and financial history. By determining your payment patterns, they will gauge whether you will be responsible in paying your rent on time.

If you have bad credit, this doesn’t mean that you cannot be approved for an apartment, it just makes the process a little more difficult. By showing a potential landlord that you are actively paying off your debts and managing your credit, it certainly places your apartment application in good standing.

Jump To:

  1. Time to Prepare for Your New Apartment

  2. What Should You Not Forget When Moving Into an Apartment?

Different Apartments have Different Income Requirements
Different Apartments have Different Income Requirements

The Do’s and Don’ts of Moving into a First Apartment

To make the most of your apartment lifestyle, understanding a few do’s and don’ts is sure to help you along your journey!

Do Consider Your Neighbors

You’ll be living in close proximity to your new neighbors. It is a common courtesy to be mindful of them when having guests over. Most apartments will have a quiet hour stipulated in the lease.

Do Learn About the Area

Your lease will remain for a year, so getting to know the area will help you with transport, entertainment, and everyday essentials. Getting to work on time and shopping for groceries should not feel like a chore. Some research into the community can determine whether it is compatible with your lifestyle.

Inspect the Apartment

An apartment inspection can help you spot any damages and defects before you move in. This can prevent disputes as to who is responsible for wear and tear by the end of the lease.

Report Maintenance Problems Immediately

If you notice the faucet leaking or a plug point that isn’t working, notify the landlord immediately. If they don’t respond, send them an email stating the issue in writing. This helps you stay on top of your apartment condition and can prevent any misunderstanding at a later stage.

Keep the Apartment Clean

The easiest way to maintain the apartment and get your security deposit back at the end of the lease is to keep your apartment clean. Remove spots and stains, dust and dander, and clear countertops.

Don’t Splurge

To ensure you have funds to cover the monthly rent, it is important to spend wisely. Affordable rent is the best way to start and maintaining the apartment itself can help you get your security deposit back in full.

Every Apartment May Not Be In Your Budget, But that Does Not Mean You Can't Find a Great Apartment.
Every Apartment May Not Be In Your Budget, But that Does Not Mean You Can't Find a Great Apartment.

Live Comfortably!

From securing an apartment to preparing your checklist, moving into a new rental can be immensely rewarding. Apartment living requires responsibilities such as understanding the lease, learning about the community, and managing a rent that you can afford.

To make the most of your new apartment, reach out to your neighbors and build a good tenant and landlord relationship. Check out the neighborhood and become part of groups and activities to strengthen your communalities.

If you are looking for an affordable apartment to rent or you have bad credit, consider second chance apartments. With newly renovated rentals for singles and families, you are sure to find the right space for your needs.

Live Comfortably!
Live Comfortably!

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