What Does it Take to Rent My Own Place?

Posted by Ne[x]t on 04.15.15

The-Rental-Application-ProcessYou may feel emotionally ready to move out on your own, but are you financially prepared? Living independently means much more than not having to be home by curfew; it comes with a great deal of financial responsibilities. Renting a place is the easiest way for you to get started on your own. But, before you take the leap, know the types of expenses you’ll incur with the big move.

There are many costs for which to prepare just to walk in the door of your first place. Here’s a list of a few big ticket expenses you may need to save for in advance of getting your first place.

  • Moving expenses. If your friends won’t do it for the price of a couple of pizzas, you may be looking at hiring some help and renting a moving van. While it removes a large amount of the stress of a move on yourself, hiring movers can get pricey. According to, a local move can average $260-$580.
  • Security deposit. Some places require that you pay your first and last month’s rent up-front, which is held as protection against damages to the premises or unpaid rent. Paying two months’ rent protects the landlord financially in case you move out on a moment’s notice. With average rent in Atlanta at $1,085, paying $1,000-$2,000 up-front can be quite a lot of money for a first-time renter to come up with.
  • Cleaning deposit. Yet another cash sum a landlord is likely to want is a cleaning deposit. This is held in the event the residence needs some extra scrubbing after you move out. If you have a pet, expect the cleaning deposit to be even higher.
  • Utilities and telephone deposit. Before you ever turn on the heat or make a phone call, you may have to put down some money to activate these necessities.
  • Furniture and appliances. Most rentals don’t come furnished. Depending on the room, you may have to buy a few key items to be somewhat comfortable:
    • Bedroom – bed, mattress, linens, pillows, dresser, rugs, lamps
    • Living room – sofa, chairs, coffee table, television, DVD player, stereo, lamps, rugs, pictures
    • Kitchen – table, utensils, dishes, cookware, microwave, cleaning supplies
    • Bathroom – hair dryer, shower curtain, bath mat

Of course if you plan to have roommates, you’ll be sharing at least some of these costs. But even with a quick estimation you can see that you may need to save quite a lot to leave home.

Monthly bills
Once you are in your own place, the costs continue. It is extremely important to pay all bills on time. If you don’t, you’ll probably be charged late payment fees, and if left unpaid, they will go into a collection agency. Dealing with collectors is not only highly unpleasant, but the negative effect on your credit report is severe. And if you default on some, such as telephone and other utilities, you may not be able to turn them on again until they’re paid (and even then it can be difficult).

If you are sharing your home with roommates, establish how the bills will be paid from the beginning. You may be able to split some and each send a check for your portion of the amount due. Another option is for one of you to act as money manager and collect from the others. However you arrange it, if the accounts are in your name, know that you are responsible for sending the complete payment in on time.

  • Rent: If the rent is due by the first, don’t pay on the fifth or some other late date. Think ahead. It is highly unlikely that you will remain in your fist place forever, so being a good tenant today will help you rent/buy another place in the future. The last thing you want is to establish a bad relationship with your landlord – the very person you will turn to for a glowing rental history reference.
  • Utilities: Utilities include cable, Internet access, garbage, gas, electric, and water. You will soon understand why your parents were always telling you to turn the lights off when you leave the room.
  • Telephone: Whether you have a landline, cell phone, or both, know that all that chatting can cost you big money. Be especially careful with cell phone minutes. Once you have exceeded your plan’s limit, the cost per minute can be outrageous. Bills of many hundreds of dollars are common.

Moving out and living independently for the first time can be a thrilling experience. You can make it even better by being financially prepared and responsible from the beginning. While this doesn’t cover every single cost you may see, it at least gives you an idea of some of the most common expenses you can expect.


Source: BALANCE Financial Fitness

  • Paveena says:

    This was a great read! I am moving into an apartment in two weeks and this is the first time I will be living without roommates. Its exciting but equally overwhelming. I never knew that some complexes charge a two-month’s rent as the security deposit! I’m lucky mine is just barely 15% of a month’s rent.

    • Will.i.x says:

      Thanks for the comment! Each complex is different, so I’d say you got a pretty nice deal. Best of luck living on your own!

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