You’ve lived your entire life in an apartment and have now gotten keys to your new house. You’re scared but you’re excited for all that this could mean for you and your family, but you don’t know where to begin. Have no fears, because we’re here to guide you through this major transition. Moving from an apartment to a house doesn’t just mean more space and responsibilities, it also means plenty of new chores and things to keep an eye out for!
Differences Between Living In An Apartment And House
What are the major differences between living in an apartment and living in a house?
While this is not always the case, moving to a house would involve some level of space upgrade. Living in an apartment–especially in a studio–often means giving up on space and innovations. However, most houses come with multiple bedrooms, a kitchen (typically more spacious than an apartment kitchen), a storeroom, dining and/or living room as well as a laundry room in some cases. Some homes also have multiple floors which would double the space!
In some cases, your house will come with a storage basement or attic where you can store your past belongings or off-seasonal goods in. You may also have additional space to install a swimming pool in, which is also a great way to utilize space especially if you live in an area that is mostly hot.
With added space comes added cost. While it is common knowledge that buying a house costs a lot more than buying/renting an apartment, there are also a hundred other expenses that are associated with owning a home. You will have to pay the strata fees upon owning a house, higher insurance premiums as well as a much larger mortgage for being a homeowner.
This means that while the returns are great, you will also find yourself forking out a lot more money for a house–at least in the initial stages–than for an apartment.
While not all houses have an extensive front/back yard, most houses come with some space in front of and behind the house. This is an added luxury that you wouldn’t have encountered in your apartment days and is specifically beneficial if you have little ones who are always in the mood to run about and explore.
With a little bit of attention and effort, a good front/back yard can be converted into a gorgeous little flower patch or a vegetable garden. Plenty of homeowners plant easy-to-grow vegetables and herbs in the back garden and tend to it using the compost from their food waste. While this is not only an organic, healthy practice, it also helps you save money on vegetables in the long run and fosters a connection with the soil.
Let your imagination run wild and let your front/back yard add personality to your house. Build a little treehouse, set up an outdoor seating arrangement or a koi pond, and grow fresh grass so your kids are not always confined to the four walls of your living space.
Earlier, if you had a leaking pipe or broken plumbing, you could always ring up your landlord or maintenance officer and have them fix it. But now, you’re the owner of your home and it is your own responsibility to fix leaking pipes, peeling paint, and faulty wiring. Do regular maintenance checks to make sure that everything is functioning and in place.
If you go the winter months without using the air-conditioning, always make sure to service it before using it once summer begins. Remember, a stitch in time saves nine–routine checks play a huge role in saving money and equipment.
Picture this: You want to hang a picture in an apartment that you’ve leased for a year. You would need multiple levels of permission before you’re able to drill a nail in the wall. But once you own the house, you become your own master. Perhaps, this is the most appealing thing about owning a house. You can paint it anyhow, hang as many pictures as you want, and model it as your heart desires without needing to abide by curfews or other apartment complex rules.
Tips To Keep In Mind While Moving From An Apartment To A House
Any move begins before the actual moving day. Even a regular move entails a colossal amount of planning and this one’s extra special–which is a nice way of saying that you’ve got a lot more on your plate. Here are some of the things you’ll have to consider and do before/while making your big move:
Maintain a list of all the things you’ll be carrying to your new home. Downloading an inventory app is the best way to make sure that you remember exactly what you’ve carried and to avoid losing any of your precious belongings. A few free examples include Sortly, BluePlum, Encircle, etc.
You know the old saying: Well begun is half done. Start your moving journey at least 2-3 months before the actual moving day to be on the safe side. Remember, packing for a move is not like packing for a trip. Gradually pack your belongings and set them aside so you’re not left in a frenzy on the packing day, as trust us, there are always more things than you think there are.
Speak to multiple movers, curate reviews and select and finalize a company at least 3-4 weeks prior to your move. Inform your current neighbors and enlist help if necessary. It’s always better to be prepared in advance rather than being caught off-guard by a problem.
Set The Ground
Change your address on the official USPS website so you don’t miss any incoming mail. Slowly begin your research on the best movers in your area that are able to give you a good deal. Comparing Google and other reviews is the best way to make sure that you hire movers that are trustworthy and do the job well.
Yes, we know we’ve said before but create a meticulous moving budget. Decide exactly how much you will allocate to the packers and movers, to the home inspection, to repairs and maintenance before you move in and for the smaller charges that you’ll be incurring like getting your locks changed or your refrigerator cleaned. This is a rule of thumb that will save you someday: While budgeting, always set aside a contingency fund as things don’t always go your way and because you’ll need something to cushion the fall.
A way to earn some quick cash before moving is purging your belongings of furniture, clothes, and other items that you no longer need and conducting a garage sale. This is guaranteed to add at least a few hundred dollars to your emergency fund and also does away with goods you no longer need in your new space.
Before moving into your new house, it goes without saying that you have to make sure that it is in a livable condition. Get an inspection done to check the plumbing, water, electricity availability, leakages, and paint jobs to make sure that nothing needs to be polished or fixed before you and your family move in. Install lightbulbs, exterminate the rooms, and do a complete spring clean of the house before you move in as once the rooms are cluttered with furniture, these chores will be a lot more difficult to get done.
While you will need to do repairs from time to time, it is also very smart to do preventative care for both the indoors and outdoors to make sure that you’re not overlooking anything and to save money. Always clean plumbing fixtures, gutters, drains, and vents, inspect your roof for leakages, and clean out your basements/attics. Plus, make sure to check the HVAC filters and furnace filters, and check the plumbing, electrical, and heating system every now and then.
Now that you’re the homeowner, everybody in the house will be looking at you the moment they face a hitch in the functioning of the house. The best way to make sure that your house runs smoothly is by establishing and maintaining contact with a local plumber, electrician, and/or a maintenance company.
You could ask around for trustworthy recommendations and make sure that they’ll arrive in time if at all you face a problem with the plumbing or electricity. Also, make sure to speak to new homeowners as their lived experience can illustrate your journey a lot better and open your eyes to problems that you might not have necessarily thought about before.
First Things First
It’s not always possible to shift all of your belongings over a single night. Your things will have to be transferred little by little. An easy way to make your life simpler is packing by priority. Make cartons/sections of your belongings based on their urgency so you can start living in your new home even without most of your stuff transferred.
Make sure to move items like beds, mattresses, a few kitchen crockery/appliances, a single mirror, etc. first. Also set aside a few pairs of clothing, a toiletry bag, and some other necessities for you and your family to avoid rummaging through large boxes for a pair of pants. Throw in a few packets of instant ramen and pasta in case your gas appliances aren’t working yet. This also works when you’re forced to move out of an apartment because of a deadline or simply want to begin populating your house before all the furnishings are there.
As mentioned earlier, earning a house means encountering so many new ways in which money can spend. An overnight leak in the roof or faulty Wi-Fi can force that wallet open and lead to unprecedented charges. Changing HVAC filters, inspecting the water infiltration system, and having the front porch cleaned are all chores that will cost you money. So make sure that you always have a rainy day fund that you can fall back on if a contingency strikes. Save and spend judiciously and get acquainted with the fiscal responsibilities of being a homeowner.
Meet Your Neighbors
Any transition is made simpler with friends to guide you through the process. A huge benefit of living in a house is the community feel of being amidst other homeowners and families. While shifting, always make it a point to get to know and be friendly with your new neighbors. Also, learn about the neighborhood council and the rules you might have to abide by. Who knows, a friendly casserole when you’re sick or a hand to move your patio furniture can prove to be life-changing.
Moving to home means having one more chance at tastefully decorating your new living space. Now that you’re no longer in a small apartment or under a strict landlord, you have both more space and freedom to do up your house as you desire. Make sure to decorate and furnish your place in a way that benefits it in the long run.
Don’t clog the living area with unnecessary pieces of furniture or invest in expensive items if you’ve got a small kid running around with a Sharpie at all times. To save money–which you now need to be extra careful about–look out for slightly-used items on Facebook Marketplace or other similar websites and try to get them for cheap. Also, sell your unused/old furniture on these forums to add to your budget and to clear up your storage space.
While furnishing your kids’ rooms, choose furniture and appliances that take into consideration their growing years. Kids have passing fancies and a Cinderalla-themed vanity is only going to appease them for a year or two. Invest in good pieces of art or framed photographs to add a personal touch to your house.
Create a reading corner, a work-station, or an island kitchen if that’s what your heart (read: your wallet) desires. This is the space you’ll be spending the most amount of your time in so design it in a way that fosters peace, creativity, and happiness.
While it is smart to save while going furniture shopping, you also need to know where it is permissible to spend enough money on:
While painting your house, always make sure to go for lead-free good quality paints that won’t peel. This is not only beneficial for your health in the long run but will also end up saving you a few bucks.
Change your locks before moving into your house.
Set up a solid security system and install safety monitors in the rooms of babies or the elderly to make sure that you have an eye on them at all times.
Clean, disinfect and maintain your swimming pool routinely (if you have one) to avoid diseases owing to lack of hygiene.
Clean and thoroughly check your dryer vents and refrigerator coils.
Baby-proof or pet-proof your house if necessary. This is especially important if you have a crawling baby on your hands and a flight of steps.
If it takes you a while to acclimatize yourself to your new home, don’t worry, it’s completely normal! It will take a few weeks to unpack completely and to get in the groove of your new home. But amidst the worries associated with moving and money, make sure that you don’t miss out on the joy and luck of now being a homeowner. You and your family now have double the space to live and create memories in. And ultimately, there is no investment better than buying a house–especially if you’ve got a family!
Moving from an apartment to a house has several nuances, and involves a lot of getting used to. But once you’re settled in, it’s definitely worth it! Make sure to acquaint yourself with your new neighbors, learn about the neighborhood rules, and decorate your home in a way that makes you happy. Be careful with your spending and enjoy the extra space that you now have!
This is an extremely subjective question. If you’re someone who lives paycheck-to-paycheck and is of a smaller financial standing, then it makes complete sense to opt for an apartment over a house. Owning a house has its perks like added space, more long-term security, more freedom, and access to amenities, but it is also one of the most costly adventures you’ll go on in your life. Apartments are generally easier to manage, cost less and lead to less responsibility. However, if you’re thinking of making an investment or have a growing family and want to give them their space, buying a house is a fantastic idea.
Yes, generally apartments are considered safer as they are usually part of high-density complexes and are tight-knit. Houses may be part of a community but it is usually regarded as more difficult to guarantee complete safety in a house over an apartment–especially in the cases of burglaries, forced entry, etc.
How Much Money Should I Save Before Moving Out?
Apart from your moving budget, you should also make sure that you’ve got an emergency fund of at least $2000 – $3000 in case something goes wrong. Moving is not always a smooth and linear process and sooner or later, something will come up that is going to cost you money. So saving up is the only way to rest easy.
Alex Sherr is the founder of My Long Distance Movers, a blog that provides moving information and resources for people who are relocating. He has more than two decades of experience in the moving and relocation industry, and he is passionate about helping people relocate smoothly and efficiently. When he's not writing or blogging, Alex enjoys spending time with his wife and two young children.