Congratulations! If you’re reading this post, you’re making a move! This is both an exciting and stressful time. For many movers, it’s a learn-as-you-go kind of thing. You make mistakes along the way and learn from your experiences. However, why put yourself through the headaches of lost security deposits, double rent, and unexplained fees when we’ve been in the biz since 1971 and have a little knowledge on the subject that we’re happy to impart.
To help you navigate your move in and move out, we’ve put together a list of tips, tasks, and questions to ask to help make your move as smooth as buttah. And in case you’re wondering, we’re not just talking Post Properties communities here. This list should help ease your move at most units around the country.
The Move In Checklist
Not all rental applications are the same, but there are a few common documents and pieces of information needed to fill out most of them. If you have them on-hand when you tour a potential apartment to rent, it might help you secure the rental over another applicant. Here is what you should have at the ready:
- Social security number
- Driver’s license number
- Three most recent payment stubs
- References. Best-case scenario, these are former property managers who love you, but if this is your first rental, you can use non-family character references.
- A quick word on guarantors. Say you’re in college or this is your first apartment in a new city and you haven’t yet locked up a full-time gig, you might require a cosigner or guarantor. This is someone, like a parent or close friend, who is willing to cover your rent in the event that you can’t pay it. If you don’t have an income, you’ll need a guarantor.
By having these documents at the ready, you can turn your tour into a lease signing while other potential residents are scrambling to get their information in order.
Make sure to get copies of everything you sign. If you struggle to hold onto documents, consider creating a free DropBox.com account, scanning all of your documents, and saving them in a secure folder online. That way, 10 months from now when you’re trying to remember move out protocol, you’ll have easy access to everything.
Once your application is accepted, you’ll be presented with a lease to sign. Read the lease over and if there are sections you don’t understand, ask the leasing agent to explain them to you. If what the leasing agent tells you doesn’t jive with what’s in the lease, ask to get the explanation in writing. Be sure to call out things like, are you allowed to decorate the apartment (paint, put nails in the wall, etc.)? What happens if your roommate breaks the lease? Are you responsible for their share of the rent? At the end of the lease, how many days notice are required to move out?
All of this information should be in the lease, but you want to make sure you fully understand before you commit.
Before you move your stuff into your new apartment, take a look around, snap some photos, and document any damages to the place. You don’t want to be on the hook for damages caused by the previous residents. Often times, these scuffs, chips, and dents will be flagged by your property manager during the walk-through, but you want to keep a record for yourself as well.
Also, consider getting renter’s insurance. For as low as $10-$15 a month, you can protect your stuff from unexpected mishaps that might occur in your rental unit. For example, say your upstairs neighbor floods their unit and leaks water all over your brand new electronics, your rental insurance will pick up the costs to replace them. (Note that at some apartment communities, like all Post Properties locations, renter’s insurance is required, so make sure you double-check the policy at your new apartment!)
The Move Out Checklist
You want to take a tiered approach to moving out. The main reason moving out is such a pain in the buns is many people wait until the week they move out to start getting ready. There are a few steps you need to take up to two months before you close the door on your old place.
Here’s what to do two months before you move out:
- Dig up your lease and reread it to make sure you understand how many days notice is required to move out. Most places require between 30 and 60. You’ll also want to read or ask your property manager about what steps to take to ensure you get back your full security deposit.
- If you plan to hire movers, start researching a few months out. Hiring movers, if done hastily, can be the most expensive part of your move. Most movers charge high rates for things you can easily do yourself, like packing boxes. Something to be aware of, some movers won’t guarantee the safety of something they didn’t pack themselves. Make sure to do a cost analysis on what services you’re comfortable paying for. Keep in mind the value of the property you’re having shipped. There’s no use spending $200 to move a $100 couch.
- If you haven’t done this already, create a DropBox account or other online storage place to scan and store your move out documents. You’ll want to be able to easily find movers contracts, your old lease, your new lease, and other necessary documents during the moving process. Having access to these documents will drastically cut down on the stress of moving.
- Let the mailman know you’re moving. Submit this form to the United States Post Office.
- Start purging your stuff. You know that stack of old magazines you’ve been meaning to recycle? Get rid of those now or you’re going to end up taking them with you. Do the same for clothes and furniture that you intend to donate or sell before the move. Pro tip: The less stuff you have, the easier it is to move it.
All right, we’re getting closer. It’s one month out, and in addition to continuing to purge your stuff, you have two tasks:
- Contact your utilities providers and schedule the end of your service. If you’ve already selected your next apartment, you can also schedule a transfer of service or an appointment to come out and get your new place set up for Internet, cable, and what not.
- Contact your bank and inform them of your change of address.
One week out — start packing:
- Start packing nonessentials. Be sure to label boxes so you can unpack strategically once you get to your new place. You don’t want to find yourself ferociously unpacking trying to find your checkbook to pay the movers. It’s also smart to number your boxes and keep a document with the number of boxes you have and what’s contained in each.
- If you’re moving out of an apartment building and you don’t live on the first floor, contact the building and reserve a service elevator and parking spot nearby.
- The last box you should pack is cleaning supplies. Once you get all your stuff out, you’ll want to go back through your old apartment and make sure it’s cleaned to the standards required to receive your full security deposit.
- Give yourself more time than you think you’ll need.
- Ask your property manager at what temperature you should leave the thermostat when you move out.
- If you’re paying friends in pizza to help you move, don’t expect them to show up on time.
Good luck! Follow these rules and may your move be as pleasant as possible. If there’s anything else we can help you with, say, information on moving into a Post Properties community, hit us up here.