For Renters Your First Place

How to Get Your Own Apartment at 18

When you turn 18, you’re legally an adult, and that comes with both responsibility and opportunity. New worlds open up to you. In the U.S. turning 18 is a rite of passage for most people. For many, it’s the first time you’re moving out of your parents’ house and into your own space.

Moving out and being on your own can feel like a whirlwind. There are going to be things thrown at you that you’ve never handled before. The phone account, paying utilities, dealing with neighbors, taking out the trash. It’s all part of the journey.

young asian woman sitting in chair holding phone in apartment

If you’re moving into a college dorm, it’s almost like a halfway house into your own apartment. Some advisors and coordinators will give you tips on what to do and how to manage that. However, moving into your apartment rarely comes with the same support system built-in. A lot of what you’ll need will be self-navigated.

There are things you should do before you move to get things ready. The more you prepare, the easier it will be when it comes time to get your own apartment at 18. Here are some helpful tips on what you’ll need to make the transition go smoothly.

young woman planning budget on laptop

Set the Right Budget – Be Conservative

We know you’re probably excited about getting an amazing apartment. Be realistic, though, with how much you can spend. If you overextend yourself financially, you’ll be stuck in a long lease that will make you miserable with regret. It can also damage your credit if you miss payments or are late on your rent.

Instead, choose something that is comfortably under the maximum you can spend. That will leave a decent cushion in your budget for furniture, the monthly internet bill, and all the other recurring costs associating with living on your own. You need to have peace of mind knowing your apartment is something you can afford.

Don’t get caught up in the anticipation of moving out. Make a sensible financial decision that will set you up well long-term.

downtown city

Location Matters a Ton

People who live close to their work or school are demonstrably happier than people who have to commute long distances. Getting a bigger or newer apartment that’s farther away is tempting. You may tell yourself that you won’t mind the drive. You can just listen to podcasts, right?

When you’re looking for a new apartment, you have to think about the overall quality of life. Living close to where you go to school or work should be a priority. If possible, find a place where you can walk or bike to where you need to go. Even better, get an apartment with grocery stores, restaurants, a gym, and other amenities that are nearby instead of a far drive away.

apartment building

How to Look for the Best Apartment

Often, the best apartments are found through word of mouth. Ask your friends and family about any great deals on the right location. You can also drive around looking for “For Rent” signs in the area where you want to live. Craigslist is another great place to search. There are also large apartment listing sites like, radpad, apartmentfinder, etc. 

How to Make Yourself an Attractive Tenant

If you’re newly 18, you likely don’t have the established credit most landlords or apartment complexes will want from an applicant. Most property managers look at your track record or call references from past landlords to make sure the people who they sign to leases are good tenants.

If you’re thinking ahead of time, you can start establishing credit earlier than 18 by making monthly payments. One way you can do this is by co-signing on your phone bill.

You may also be able to list past employers as references on your lease applications. Your new landlord will also want things like proof of employment to show you’ve got steady income.If you’re not making an income, hopefully you’ll have some money in the bank and you can provide them with some statements to show cash reserves.

However, you’re probably going to need a cosigner if you’re going to be signing a new lease. That typically means your parents or guardians will need to sign with you. It’s important to discuss this with them ahead of time to see if they’re willing or financially able to sign a lease with you. If not, then you’ll need to think about other options to secure an apartment when you’re 18.

three young women friends taking selfie

Get Your Social Media in Check

Another thing landlords will do is sift through your social media accounts to get an idea of what kind of person you are. If you’ve got a bunch of photos of you doing anything irresponsible, that can be a red flag. You may want to go through your social media accounts to scrub them from anything questionable or change your preferences to restrict who can view what’s on your accounts.

Ask Your Parents or Guardians for Your Records

When you move into your own apartment for the first time, you need to ask your parents or guardians for your documents. This includes things like your social security card, birth certificate, any medical records they’ve kept, your passport, etc. If you feel more comfortable with them keeping them in your old house, just realize that you’re going to need them from time to time. For example, when you go to the dentist for the first time in your new home, they’re going to want your records to keep your file up to date.

Cheerful woman carrying packed carton box

Look for a Storage Unit Deal

If you’re moving to a new city for college, a job, or joining the military, you may not be able to store all of your things inside your apartment. For instance, some apartment complexes have rules on where you can store winter items or place bicycles. Your ideal apartment may also have limited closet space, so you need to find a local option where you can store your stuff for an affordable price.

A lot of storage unit facilities will run move-in specials for new residents or students moving to the area. You should call around to ask for any deals that are running at storage facilities near your new place. Depending on what you’re storing in the storage unit, you will want to make sure it’s close enough that you can get there relatively quickly.

young man on small couch

Thinking About Furniture

You’re only 18, so please don’t stress about buying the nicest furniture and getting your apartment fully-furnished. Buy sensible items and start with the bare necessities. Get a comfortable bed, a couch, a kitchen table, and some kitchen basics. That will get you started.

You don’t need the nicest stuff, just go with simple items. Ikea’s a great option, and if you’re really budget-conscious, there are tons of furniture items in good condition on sale on Craigslist and other used item stores.

This is your first apartment, and you never know how you’ll like living on your own. Don’t go overboard with furnishing before you move in. That’s something you can always add to as you become more comfortable in your new place.

Stay Safe

When you’re living with your parents, it’s easy to take personal safety for granted. When was the last time you made sure the doors were locked before you went to sleep at night? When you move into your first apartment at 18, that’s all on you now.

First of all, rent an apartment in a good area. Stay away from deals that appear too good to be true. They probably are. Rent a place that’s in a decent area where you feel comfortable. Don’t leave your door unlocked, and don’t do obvious things like leave a spare key under the doormat.

Moving out into your first new place is an amazing experience! Enjoy and have all the fun you can. It’s an exciting time in everyone’s life. It can be a bit nerve-wracking, and you’ll experience some ups and downs. Take things slowly and avoid making rash decisions. Your budget and your credit history will thank you in the end when it’s time to buy a place or move into a new apartment down the road.

Snell Mini Storage | 3616 Hillcap Ave San Jose, CA 95136 United States
Snell Mini Storage | 3616 Hillcap Ave San Jose, CA 95136 United States

Moving to your first place in the South San Jose area? We’d love to help you with the perfect storage solution to make your first big move a success! Contact Snell Mini Storage to reserve your storage unit today!