Apartments are most commonly utilized as short-term housing. After a year or two, people generally move for a variety of reasons: lower rent, relocation for a new job, a desire for a larger or more upscale space, etc. Whatever your reason for moving out of your old place may be, it’s unquestionably a nerve-racking ordeal. Luckily, it can be downscaled to a simple life task as long as you plan ahead and handle your responsibilities.
Here’s how to get started:
Develop a Plan
Concise planning prevents a lot of stress, but before you even think about moving out, it’s important to confirm your move-in date at your new apartment. If you have friends with trucks who are willing to help you move, contact them and let them know to mark that date on their calendars, too. Alternatively, you can rent a truck yourself. For long-distance moves, consider hiring a moving company to ensure that your furniture and household goods are moved safely and arrive undamaged. Collect old boxes from the grocery stores in your area or shop around for new ones, and always get more boxes than you think you’ll need. Set aside all the money you’ll need for rentals, deposits, packing materials, and food and drinks to enjoy with your friends both during and after the move.
Notify the Necessary People
Your landlord (or apartment manager) should be the first person you tell about moving out. This is particularly important if you’re breaking a lease agreement so you know what additional costs might be incurred by doing so. If your move is based on poor living conditions like pest infestation or inadequate heating, put those reasons in writing and have your landlord sign off on your complaints.
Next, send a group text or email to your friends and family announcing your new address and/or contact information. You’ll also need to make sure to notify your bank and any company who sends you mail via the USPS of your change of address. Make arrangements to have your cable/utility/phone services transferred to your new address on the day you move into your new home to avoid any bothersome interruptions.
Prepare to Seriously Clean
Even if you consider yourself a competent or possibly superior housekeeper, there are likely several places in your apartment that have been neglected during your stay. Pull out the stove and refrigerator and thoroughly clean the areas under and behind them. Check all corners, nooks, and baseboards for dust bunnies. Make sure the bathroom is sparkling clean, from the toilet bowl to the tub, wall tiles, fixtures, fan, and ceiling. And don’t forget about the hood over your stove and the oven itself, both of which are known to be some of the grimiest places in the kitchen. Other items commonly left out of the deep cleaning process include window blinds and curtains, the in and outsides of kitchen cabinets, and the inside of the refrigerator.
Anything damaged during your tenancy will surely become known during your final inspection, and your landlord will almost always charge you more for the repairs if you don’t make them yourself. For those reasons, you’ll want to take it upon yourself to fill in any nail holes in your walls and repair any damage to the unit’s ceilings or floors. You can also hire a contractor to do these jobs, but remember to keep receipts that clearly outline everything that’s been done and how much it all cost. It’s important to leave the walls as exactly they were when you moved in — so if you painted one wall purple during a creative fit, just know that it has to be restored to the original color before you move out.
As for floors, most local and state housing laws don’t require tenants to correct what is considered “normal wear and tear.” But if your carpet has a huge stain on it or there are severely damaged or missing tiles in your apartment floors, you will probably be expected to make the repairs/replacements yourself at your own cost.
Take Lots Of Pictures
Nothing beats pictures to document damages and repairs. With any luck, you’ll also have taken pictures upon moving into the place, which means you can directly compare them to the ones you take when you move out. Share the images with your landlord to ensure they’re well aware of the repairs you made, which should help you get back your entire security deposit.
Collect Your Security Deposit
When your apartment is totally empty and everything is as clean as it was when you moved in, it’s time for the final walkthrough with your landlord or manager. There should be a checklist they use for each room to note any infractions. Arrange to correct anything you missed as soon as possible. In cases of disagreements, remain calm. After all, you have a good chunk of money riding on the outcome of this final step. Irreconcilable differences over the return of your deposit are best handled by a local housing or tenant’s rights organization. When your deposit is returned, make sure to write up an agreement that prevents the landlord from trying to bill you for repairs in the future. Make your best effort to get your deposit refunded before you part ways rather than waiting for it to be mailed to you.