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First apartment: the checklist

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Bye bye Hotel of Mom and Dad – and into your own four walls: freedom calls! Moving out of your parents' house is an important step in life, but this event also involves costs and obligations. Our checklist will hopefully help make the move into the first home of your own or shared apartment a smooth one.

Finally your own home!

Many young adults can hardly imagine moving away from their parents' house or apartment and standing on their own two feet. That's because it was really cozy at home, doing washing, cooking meals, cleaning, shopping, waste disposal - your parents did all or some of this and much more. Also, anyone living with their parents normally has nothing to do with insurance and other paper mountains involved with a property. Even if they're already over 18. They probably have no idea what living alone is really like if they've only ever lived at home with their parents.

However, it's healthy and understandable that young people want their own place sooner or later. The first apartment - small but beautiful, as it's their own space! Or a large old house shared with friends, work or study colleagues. Or a cute apartment together with their boyfriend or girlfriend. The tenancy agreement has been signed, D-Day approaches and now it can begin! The tips on our checklist ensure that you don't have any nasty surprises when you move into your first apartment.

1. Administrative aspects: make sure you stay connected

You should contact suppliers a few weeks before your move to ensure that the internet and TV are connected on time. Also remember to register with Serafe , as you have to pay radio and TV fees once you've started your own household. If you're living in a shared property, expenses like these can be shared. Other agencies that need your new address are your health insurance fund, residents' registration office, driver and vehicle licensing office, employer, banks and cellphone provider. Tip: you can set up an inexpensive redirection order so that your mail doesn't continue to arrive at your parents' home.

2. Rental guarantee: a lot of money doing nothing

The rental guarantee is a fixed part of the tenancy agreement. It offers the landlord security in case you can no longer pay the rent or the apartment is damaged when you move out. Normally you have to pay two to four months' rent into an escrow account to cover this. And the money is tied until you move out. If you don't have this amount of money available, there is an alternative. It takes over if the landlord has justified claims for damage or rental arrears. 

Your landlord (still) hasn't repaid your rental deposit? Look at MyRight to find a template for the repayment of a security deposit.

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3. List of defects: be picky!

The previous tenant has finally moved out and the day of your move has arrived. But before you start moving in with your belongings with the help of your friends, the landlord or administrator has to carry out the official handover of the apartment. Stay alert during this meeting: check all the rooms carefully and make sure all visible defects are noted on the handover report. Otherwise, when you move out, you may be forced to pay for damage that you didn't cause yourself. For example, is there a crack in the bathroom washbasin or are there water stains in the kitchen that haven't been listed in the report? There's often a great deal of uncertainty when it's your first apartment in particular. Prepare well by means of a suitable checklist, usually called a handover report or defects list.

The meter readings for electricity, gas and water should also be included in the report. If you discover any additional defects after moving in, you can report these to the landlord in a registered letter within ten days of receiving the keys and they will be added to the report for the tenancy agreement. MyRight gives you more helpful tips on the subject of apartment handover.

4. Inventory: smart shopping

You've arrived - you're now in your own place! You've got over the move, the excitement gradually dies down. Mattress, pizza service, a beer in the fridge are sufficient for the first night. The next morning, you realize that you still need a few things to make your new abode feel cozy and convenient. Your best approach is to go from room to room: what furniture do you need in the lounge, what appliances in the kitchen, what equipment for the bathroom? What do you really need? See point 5 of our checklist for the first apartment.

Before you go shopping, it helps to think about a budget beforehand: how much money do you want to spend on basic furnishings for your own apartment? Secondhand furniture from a shop, Ricardo, or Tutti & Co. are great to get you started. You should also have an idea of the dimensions of your new place - the floor plan of your apartment can help you with this. The loveliest kitchen table is no use if it doesn't fit the available space …

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5. Furnishings tips: small tricks, big impact

Of course you need a few everyday must-haves right away; however, young tenants should take a bit of time to think about how to furnish their apartment over the longer term, so that the situation gradually becomes clear over the first few weeks and months. Central furniture such as a couch, dining table, bed or sideboard are like good friends - if they really suit you, they'll accompany you loyally for many years. So if you've fallen in love with a certain piece of furniture, take your time and wait for it! By waiting and anticipating, you'll appreciate it more and it'll always remain something special. 

In the meantime, you can make your first apartment your own personal feel-good space quite simply and for not too much money. 

  • Less is more. Small apartments in particular can soon become too full. It's better to adopt a minimalist approach and ensure you have enough space in your four walls! Over time it'll get filled up with more stuff all by itself
  • Take a new approach. For example, clothes don't have to go in a wardrobe. A chest of drawers is just as good. Lacking storage space? A pair of old wooden crates or cheap basement shelving plus stylish wine boxes can be extremely useful. As are the famous euro-pallets - great fun if you like DIY. 
  • The main thing is convenience. Do you currently sit on two guest mattresses in the lounge? No problem. Your favorite cuddly blanket and a few cushions can already make things feel really cozy. Relaxation doesn't necessarily mean expensive furniture.
  • Move everything into the right light, as that makes a real difference. Rule of thumb: use warm and indirect light from several light sources, preferably next to a wall rather than in the center of a room, then you're doing a great job.
  • Nature does you good. Plants, pictures of nature and natural materials ensure that you have a warm and cozy environment. If you don't have green fingers, you can always buy a low-maintenance cactus. Or a few nice dried flowers.
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6. Household contents insurance: from your sofa to your racing bike

New furniture, a big TV, a nice sofa – after your move, your apartment gradually fills up, and the value of your personal possessions increases. It's worth taking out insurance for your household contents as soon as you've moved in. This pays benefits if, for example, your valuable jewelry is stolen in a break-in, if the apartment burns down, or if the basement is flooded. If you're sharing with roommates or have cheap secondhand furniture, you can also just insure individual personal belongings – for example, sports equipment such as skiing or snowboard gear, an expensive racing bike, or electronic appliances such as laptops, cellphones and digital cameras.

7. Personal liability insurance: mishaps are part of everyday life.

There's one insurance that you need when you leave home and that's personal liability: it pays benefits if you accidentally cause damage to others if, for example, you cause damage to a friend's car while parking, or if you're on your bike and collide with a pedestrian who subsequently invoices you for expensive medical treatment. In extreme cases, such claims can run into millions.

Personal liability insurance also makes sense for tenants, as it covers damage you cause to the rental apartment or house if, for example, a pan falls onto the ceramic stove and leaves a crack, if the awning gets broken during a party, or if a perfume bottle damages the washbasin. At the end when you move out and do the final inspection with your landlord, you'll be glad you're properly insured. The insurance also helps you defend yourself against unjustified claims.

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