Monday, May 19, 2008

[Feature] Moving Out

After graduating from college, it’s understandable that a graduate may miss various aspects of college. Friends from different states, the local campus eateries, taking courses that you actually were interested in…the list can go on. But the one thing that all graduates can say they miss the most is living away from home.

It’s a bit of a bittersweet feeling, actually. The prospect of no longer having to study ever again seems like sweet victory (unless you’ve got plans to head straight away to grad school, law school, or any other variation of further education), but after living away for a good majority of the past four years, the idea of being home for more than the usual stay of summer break is torturous for many. Think of it as Harry Potter, having to move out from Hogwarts, and back to live with his crazy, restrictive guardians FOREVER (or so it seems). Hm. Probably a bit of a stretch for an analogy, but what I'm trying to get to is that being back home for more than three months can strain relationships back at home.

For those who are fortunate to have a decent paying job and their finances in order (this includes having the means to pay off your student loans, credit card bills, etc.), moving out might be the next logical step into adulthood. But before you do go searching for your own humble abode, recognize that living at home for at least the first year is HIGHLY RECOMMENDED (seriously, ask people who are living on their own, and besides the whole freedom aspect, they’ll most likely tell you that living at home is always an overlooked privilege). If you are serious about eventually moving out, SAVE SAVE SAVE while you are living at home. A recommended tip would be to put aside whatever amount of money you think you’d be paying in rent [for each month living at home] into your savings account. Try working around this so-called “rent” and manage your budget accordingly.

For those who are gung-ho about the big move, here are some pointers for finding a place:

Where To Search
Whether it’s in NYC or Bergen County, location is a pretty big deal when it comes to finding a place of your own. The best ways to find a good deal is either through friends and acquaintances you could trust, or better yet, a realtor. Sure, a realtor may have fees they want you to cough up for their services, but you might as well be legit, with someone who knows what to look, for doing the dirty for you. An alternative is searching for a place yourself, whether it is by driving around town, looking for those “For Rent” signs, or checking out apartments on Craigslist. However, remember that Craigslist is a breeding ground for scammers, so make sure that the listing you are inquiring for is legit.

What Questions To Ask
After an initial phone call, it’s no big surprise that you must go check out the place yourself. Besides your first impression of the place (such as seeing whether or not if it’s pretty, clean, or livable), make sure to have a list of questions in mind to ask the landlord. Top questions that I’ve asked include the following: are utilities included with the rent, and if so which? / what are the lease terms? / why did the last person move out? / are pets allowed? / how strict are you with noise volume? / [if utilities are not included] about how much is the gas, electric, water bill on average per month? / are you going to be doing any improvements or adjustments to the physical condition of the place itself before someone moves in?
Also, especially if you do like the place, make sure to make an amiable impression!

Roommates or Living Alone
If you think you can afford living it out alone, both financially and socially, go for it. But for those looking to take the big move out in baby steps, you should consider having a roommate. A friend made a good point that not only would it be easier for you in a financial sense, but it’ll be a good transition, especially living with someone who would be dealing with the same things as you. Yes, misery does love company!

Besides all of that jazz, the one thing to keep in mind is that you shouldn’t expect a gleaming palace at a great price, especially for your first place. Sure, there are some great deals here and there, but ultimately, you should keep your priorities in check when it comes to finding a place of your own. If location is a higher priority than bedroom size, and if you are on a tight budget, be prepared to make some sacrifices.

Happy Huntings!


Anonymous said...

bergen county is so effing expensive

Cambridge rules; Boston stinks! said...

I would have loved to live with my parents, if 1. my parents did not live in such isolation (Staten Island) 2. if I was not based out of Boston.

I think, for the most part, the dynamic between parent and child evolves tremendously once the child has entered and graduated from college; and freedom at home, therefore, is no longer as difficult to fight for as it once had been.

In any case, I loved having my own place and decorating it to my taste versus a with weird collection of Chinese and American decor; however, here are some additional cons:

1. It gets lonely sometimes...a lot of times, especially living by oneself.
2. It's a hell of a lot of post-task money to be spending, especially considering how expensive internet and basic cable are.
3. Regardless of how clean you may keep your apartment, changes are, if you're on in one of those gleaming palaces, you'll have some critters come your way via your filthy neighbor's apartment...

Just some thoughts!

Will said...

my mom and i have a much better relationship when i see her sparingly..

Ginny said...

If only I could handle the restrictions of living at home, then I probably wouldn't be living paycheck to paycheck like I am now. But in the end, the idea of having my own freedom made me choose to move out. Sure, every now and then I do regret moving out when I was barely equipped in the financial sense, but my relationship with my parents seem to be a bit better now. Probably because they see me as more of an adult.

Jessie said...

Yea what will said...I don't think i could leave at home just because i know i'd fight with my mom everyday..Now since i don't see her as much we get along alot better then before. which is coolios GO JULIA!

christina said...

totally taking your advice about putting aside "rent" money each month for a year.. then i'm outta here~!! but i'm definitely gonna miss the perks of living at home..