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Moving Out of Your Parents’ House and Into Your Own Place

First-time home buyer jumping in the air

For some young adults, moving out of their parents’ house is as easy as going away to college. It’s bunking up in a dorm without having to worry about monthly rent payments, utility bills, or even food for that matter...until after graduation, of course.

On the other hand, a four-year degree may not be on your agenda, or the university offering it may not be that far away. So how do YOU make the transition on your own? How do you move out of your parents' house and live on your own?

We’re here to guide you. Because living on your own, for the first time, is the ultimate right of passage — whether it’s in a dorm, a rental apartment, or even a home. Here’s where to begin.

The budget you need to follow

Obviously, it’s going to cost you a little bit here and there to cover the expenses of living on your own. Enter the dreaded “b” word — budget. It may take cutting back on nights out or temporarily dropping a gym membership, but it’s doable. Your future self will thank you.

Start by learning about your desired area’s cost of living: rent/mortgage payment, utilities, transportation/commute, food. If you can’t afford the cost of living, even after making a few budget cuts, think ahead about what future costs you can avoid. Maybe it’s cutting cable or internet, choosing to live with a roommate, or selling your car so you can take public transportation. You may even need a change of scenery. Consider a nearby neighborhood or somewhere further out from city life. It could mean a significant cost of living savings.

Fees you’ll pay upfront

Whether you’re looking to buy a home right away or test the waters as an apartment dweller, you should expect to incur a few charges before signing a mortgage or lease. This could be a rental application fee and security deposit or down payment and mortgage application fee (that depends on your mortgage lender — though we don’t charge that at American Financing).

Utility bills 101

Heating, air conditioning, water, and gas. Those are the essentials at least. Of course, cable and internet can fall into this category, as can garbage and recycling (which may be covered by your landlord as a renter, but it also may not).

Of course, the bigger your house (or dwelling), the bigger your bills. There’s more space, and there are fewer people to split expenses. So let’s spend our energy analyzing rental property utility bills.

Heating and cooling

According to the US Department of Energy, the typical US family spends at least $2,060 per year on energy bills—with nearly half of that paying for heating and cooling.

If you’re in a multi-unit building that uses radiators, your landlord may build the cost into your rent. Charges could be minimal, at least they would be compared to renting a home with a few friends.

Water

Your landlord may work water costs into your monthly rent, but it’s good to have an idea of costs just in case he doesn’t. According to creditdonkey.com, water bills can run anywhere from $34-$70 a month depending on how large your household is and how much water you use.

Gas

Gas is another cost that may be included in your rent — so be sure to ask. If it’s not, or if you’re planning to buy a home, you should expect to pay around $83-$100 a month (depending on where you live and the season, since winter months tend to bring larger gas bills).

Moving out of parents’ house checklist

Now that you have a basic understanding of costs, it’s time to get planning on the big move from your parents’ house to a place of your own. We recommend following a checklist as you prepare for this big next step.

Have a job lined up

If you’re not working, you have no business moving out on your home. No job means no money, and no money means no way to afford rent. You could ask the bank of Mom and Dad, but you likely won’t get the “yes” you’re looking for. Instead, make your first right of passage into adulthood be finding a job.

Establish credit history

Your landlord or mortgage lender will run a credit check to ensure you can handle ongoing housing payments. They’ll look to see how much debt you are currently paying off and how well you handle it — for example, are payments on time or are there any unpaid accounts? Similarly, if you’re already paying a large chunk of debt, chances are you can’t take on any more. Be sure to take control of your debt before applying.

Start an emergency fund

Renters need not worry about replacing water heaters or A/C units, but you still need money set aside for other living expenses. Committing to a lease agreement means you’re without hundreds of dollars each month that you were once used to having access to. So if you’re in need of a car repair or an emergency medical or vet bill comes up, you’ll need to be sure you have those funds accessible.

Pay off debt

Like we said in the credit history section above, you need to be sure you don’t have too much debt before applying for housing. Though even after you’re in your own place, you need to be sure debt doesn’t add up too fast. Don’t be quick to charge new furniture and home decor. Credit card interest fees can really get the best of your savings if you don’t pay your card of right away.

Break the news

Once you feel prepared to move out of your parents’ house and into your own place, it’s time to tell them. Be respectful and give them the heads up before you start shopping around. Chances are pretty high they’ll be excited for you and may be able to offer some much-needed guidance — maybe even financial assistance — to get you started.

Check out places

Finally, it’s time to house hunt! Be mindful of your budget during the search. Don’t give in to high-end amenities if you can’t afford it. It could mean the difference between having cable and internet vs. not having it. If you think you’d rather buy a home than rent, be sure you contact a mortgage lender to get mortgage pre-approval. This will tell you how much you can afford when home shopping, so you don’t set your heart on something that may not be possible.

Buying a starter home? Here’s what you should look for in a first home.

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