A Guide for Living in Your First Apartment

Read along below as we walk you through the process of finding, securing, and moving into your first apartment.

Welcome to the wonderful world of living in your own place! Congrats! Three cheers for you—at least three. -Four, possibly!

…It is indeed an exciting time. But: before you dive fully/irrevocably in and start signing legally-binding documents or anything, there’s a whole host of considerations in need of making to help get you mentally, logistically, and in all other imaginable senses prepared.

Read along below as we walk you through the process of finding, securing, and moving into your first apartment.


Life in your new pad comes with costs beyond just rent. To create a realistic budget, it’s crucial to consider all the expenses you’ll be dealing with, both the one-time and the durative—utilities, application fees, security deposits, miscellaneous moving costs… Pro tip two-for-one: try an online budgeting app to keep tabs on your finances, and don’t make any moves (…) before you’ve set aside a good chunk of money as an emergency fund.

Creating a First Apartment Wishlist

The apartment you ultimately decide on might not check every box, but it’s always useful having a wishlist to keep track of which potential home-to-be checks the most boxes. Consider factors like apartment size, security/safety, proximity to public transportation, pet policies, nearby amenities/what-have-you… Knowing what you want is super, but having a “tangible” reminder handy is a surefire way to save time in narrowing down your options, even if it seems like overkill.

“Location Location Location”

Yes, I’ve flimsily appropriated that cliché for use in a new context. Nonetheless, location is a huge, multifaceted consideration to tackle when picking that first apartment. Think about (e.g.) your commute to work and access to essential amenities like grocery stores and restaurants. Of course, you’ll also want to evaluate the neighborhood’s relative safety/crime rates—all easily-accessible public (i.e., highly Googleable) information.

The Grand Tour-Tour

Pictures can be deceiving, and worse yet, in the overwhelming number of cases are not scratch-‘n’-sniff. Always schedule an apartment tour before signing a lease. During your tour, be mindful of details large and small: lock functionality, flooring condition, signs of leaks, lighting, evidence of pests… Take notes to help you remember each apartment’s pros and cons; it’s easy to get overwhelmed, so rely on every tool at your disposal to make this transition smooth as fresh creamery butter.

The Application

Once you find the perfect first apartment, welp, now it’s time to submit the rental application. Be prepared with essential documents, e.g., a (…valid) state-issued ID, Social Security card, bank statements, and pay stubs. Note that if your credit history isn’t great (or doesn’t exist), a co-signer can drastically boost your chances of approval.

Reviewing and Signing the Lease

Your lease is a crucial legal document, so read it carefully before signing. Don’t skim! Pay attention to rent due dates, maintenance procedures, extra fees, subleasing policies, decorating guidelines… If you have any concerns or need clarifications—and you’re naturally pretty likely to!—be sure to discuss/allay them with the property manager prior to making what will after all be a binding commitment.

Preparing for the Move

Moving day will sneak up on ya. -It will. Start preparations as soon as humanly possible, and reach out to friends and family for support to whatever extent you’re comfortable with. Schedule movers or rent a moving truck (if necessary), gather packing supplies, and create a “moving spreadsheet” to stay organized. 

Stocking Up

Stocking your new place for a move-in is all about the essentials: bedding, hangers, shower curtains, towels, cleaning supplies, kitchen utensils, a basic tool kit… Do not forget (or shrug off the need for) safety equipment like smoke/carbon monoxide detectors, fire extinguishers, and a first-aid kit.

Closing Thoughts

Four, -no, five cheers for you to herald this exciting step towards independence! You’re ready for this, so, like, get ready for this. Be thorough in researching, planning, preparing—and, before you know it, in loving your new home.

Come Home to Comfort and Convenience at Prescott Square Apartments

Nestled in the wooded hills of Pikesville, yet just moments away from Baltimore, Reisterstown, Randallstown, Millford Mill, Gwynn Oak, Old Court, Owings Mills, Garrison, Lochearn, and Windsor Mill, Prescott Square Apartments offers spacious apartment living spaces for everyone! We offer two-bedroom homes with wall-to-wall carpeting/hardwood flooring, central A/C, access to oversized patios/balconies, and maintenance whenever you need it. To set up an appointment to take a look at our apartments, call us at 443-213-8584 or visit our website!