Mark Roemer image of a young man looking frustrated surrounded by boxes.

Avoiding Rookie Mistakes in Your First Apartment

Getting your own place to live can be an exciting time in a young person’s life. I, Mark Roemer, still remember my first apartment. There was not much more than a bed, and some hand me down dishes. You may feel like you are the only one that is going through this lack of stuff in your place. Trust me when I tell you that we have all been there. In time, you will have more things than you even know what to do with. To the point, you will be relieved to find a place that offers storage that you don’t have to pay extra for.

This new exciting chapter can be quite scary. You are not quite sure what you are allowed to do and what you are not allowed to do. If you follow the guide below, you will avoid making some common mistakes that many first-time renters make.

You Don’t Own the Place

While moving into your first apartment can feel like a new-found sense of independence, it must be pointed out that you don’t own the place. You will have the ability to come and go as you see fit, go to bed when you want, and have dinner where you want. However, there are some rules that you still need to follow.

You will find many, if not all, of these rules in your lease. Make sure that you read it carefully and know what you are allowed to do. There is no reason to get your neighbors and the landlord upset with you over something you should have known. A few of these rules are that you should not have loud parties, have long-term guests, or make any significant cosmetic changes to the apartment.

Should there ever come a time that you want to do something that is not explicitly covered in your lease, do not hesitate to contact the landlord for clarification. It is better to ask permission than running the risk of being kicked out of your apartment. This will lead to a black mark on your name when it comes time to rent another place. Too many marks and people will not want to rent to you.

Remember, landlords have the right to kick people out even for violating the smallest rules. This is not to say that they can do it the first time, but repeated infractions can find you on the street.

Rushing the Move

They say that it is easier to move across the country than to move across the hall. The reason is that you pack a lot better the further you have to travel with your things. Another thing worth mentioning is that you need to plan your time correctly. A move should take you most of the weekend to accomplish (if you are moving within the same city you were living before). When it comes to unpacking, this could take you at least a month to accomplish. Don’t worry about that. You need to make sure that the other things in your life are taken care of as well. I am sure that your boss would not be too happy with you calling off work to unpack your house.

Rushing leads to mistakes. When you are trying to get things done as fast as possible, you might damage the apartment in the process. This will need to be fixed before you move out. This takes time to do. Sometimes it takes more time than it would have taken if you had just relaxed and worked at a slower pace.

Involve Your Parents

I am not saying that it happens a lot, but some landlords take advantage of younger people. For this reason, you should have your parents present when you are looking at the new place. They will be able to look things over and advise you on the correct course of action to take. In addition to this walk-through, make sure that you have them look over the lease. They may see something in there that doesn’t’ seem quite right.

There is no reason to get involved in an apartment or a lease that is not beneficial to both you and the landlord. Chances are, your parents have been in your shoes before and have learned a thing or two about signing leases that you don’t know yet.

Spending Too Much

As I said from the start, you will likely have few things in your first apartment. Make sure that you don’t overextend yourself when furnishing the place. Anyone that comes over will have to deal with the fact that you are just starting out in life. That is not to say that you can’t get a few things that will make living in your new place a little better. Just make sure that when you do, you shop the specials and are not paying for something that you will likely grow out of in a few years.

Some of the greatest places that you can go to find some cheap things to furnish your new apartment are garage/yard/moving sales, upcycling something you already have, thrift and bargain stores, and of course, online.

Renter’s Insurance

You may not have much, but replacing what you do have might be enough to send you right back to your parent’s house. That is not something you are going to want to do. Since you don’t have a lot, there is a good chance that getting renter’s insurance will not cost you too much. It will be money well spent when it comes to something happening to your things. Depending on where you live, this can be anything from floods to theft. At any rate, it is better to be covered than trying to replace all your things.


I, Mark Roemer, hope that you have found this guide to avoiding rookie mistakes particularly helpful. We have all had to start out in life, and it is my hope that I have made that transition just a little bit easier on you. Good luck with your new place.