Leaving the nest?
August 20, 2011 2:12 PM   Subscribe

Moving out questions!

I've been living with my awesome parents after graduating to try and build up some savings, but I feel like it's about time to move out. It'd be nice not to have to commute for an hour each way to work, and to (hopefully!) learn how to take care of myself.

I'll be moving in with my friend, who recently got a condo. I'll have my own bed/bath (doubling as guest bath when people visit), there's in-unit washer and dryer. We have been friends for a very long time and we get along well, but I think the most important thing is that we both understand that respect is pretty key.

I've lived in dorms while at school, so I have some roommate/living-on-my-own experiences, but I imagine this might be pretty different.

1) What are some unexpected expenses that I should probably plan/budget for now? When you first moved out, what were some costs you encountered that you didn't think to include in your budget?

2) Though I feel like this is a necessary step for my personal growth, I've started to feel a little homesick...and I haven't even moved! It doesn't help that my mom is the type who would rather I just stay home until I get married, and puts on a sad face whenever I discuss this with her (I'm sorry, mom! :( ) This is normal, right? I'm pretty set on moving out and I imagine the homesickness will fade with time, but it's putting doubts in my head.

3) Anything else I should be aware of, moving out for the first time? Based on your personal experiences.


PS I didn't really know how to categorize this question. 'Home and garden' seems a little weird. Oh well
posted by sprezzy to Home & Garden (10 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
My first step towards moving out was getting entirely financially independent. First thing was getting my car, car insurance and cellphone in my own name. The car I was using was given to me as a gift from the family when I graduated HS, but it didn't occur to me or anyone else to get that stuff in my name until it came time to move out 6 years later. My cellphone was still on my mom's family plan.

What about stuff for the condo? Are you moving your bedroom furniture or getting new? Do you have some way to watch TV and hang out comfortably in your room? What about stuff like plates, cups, mugs, silverware? I know your friend probably has her own, but when I was sharing an apartment I found it a lot easier to just deal with my own set than worry about communal dish-washing duties.

The homesickness was a thing, and still kind of is, I definitely miss them sometimes. My family didn't want me to move out either, but it had to be done. It helps to stay in touch online and visit whenever possible. They will get over it when they realize you're still "around" and aren't disappearing entirely. Hopefully they will start to develop their own interests and stuff.
posted by bleep at 3:25 PM on August 20, 2011

1. Get used to paying bills. Sit down with your new housemate and spell out who is responsible for writing what checks and how everything will be split. In the non-dorm world, people pay for gas, electricity, internet/cable, trash pick-up, and water. (on preview: also whatever personal expenses you bring with you)

2. I experienced the same thing. It can be difficult to get used to providing for yourself and living day-to-day without someone who's going to look out for you, make sure you eat dinner, remind you to put trash out at the curb, etc. But it's fun! Remember to call home.

3. I'm still pretty young and some of the best advice I've gotten about living on my own is to ask questions until you understand what the utilities people/landlord/whoever are saying. Make them spell out their terms of service/ benefits/ payments.
posted by thewestinggame at 3:31 PM on August 20, 2011

One thing I'd suggest is having an up-front talk with your friend about cleaning expectations around the house. In college I lived with someone I'd been friends with since second grade and the unspoken resentments over that type of thing caused a rift that took a good few years to heal after we moved out.
posted by something something at 3:37 PM on August 20, 2011 [3 favorites]

Try to work out what level of housework your friend generally does around the house, and then do half the housework to that standard. Since it's someone's own place, that standard may be higher than what you're used to in dormville. Make sure you're aware of what half the housework really looks like; some people seem to leave home unaware that standard housework routines often include things like "wipe the counters when you are done" as well as "clean the kitchen thoroughly once a week" and "clean the shower when you are done" and "clean the bathroom once a week", and "empty the bin when it is full".

If you're new to the area, make a conscious effort to go out and make a life there for yourself independent of your friend. This friend will probably be better company if they get their own house to themselves every now and then, and if they don't feel like they have the job of being the only person you know in the local area.
posted by emilyw at 3:49 PM on August 20, 2011

Even if you already have furniture/furnishings, the little things add up pretty quickly. If your friend is already living in this condo, I'm sure most of the common areas are taken care of in terms of that, but there will always be one more thing you need -- things like extension cords/power strips, chairs, TV stands, toiletries, cleaning supplies, etc. You won't know until you've moved in, though. I'd set aside a couple hundred if you have it.

You'll be homesick and it'll be hard, but it'll also be a fun adventure.

As for the last point: Always do you dishes. Don't let them pile up in the sick (you may have a dishwasher and that will probably help -- run it when it's full). Take the trash/recycling out when it's full. If you do those two things, you'll robably minimize about 80 percent of the conflicts with your roommate. (OK, I'm kidding, but really: Those things are important to the peace of a household.)
posted by darksong at 3:52 PM on August 20, 2011 [1 favorite]

Find out what ambient temperature you/roomie like in the warm and cold months.
Find out what the policy is for overnight guests/significant others.
Find out how much the utilities bills are and make sure you can afford them.
Noise: what time is okay for noise? what time is okay for weekend noise?
posted by sciencegeek at 4:08 PM on August 20, 2011

Most living together problems are the result of either cleaniness (or lack thereof) and noise (usually too much). Do you like your music loud? Does your roomate? or vice versa, or maybe you like whiny emo(ok, kinda a cheap shot but you know) or 80's hair band? Establish boundaries early and respect them. Don't let your friends come over after the bar closes and continue the party when your roommate is already asleep. And have a discussion about the acceptable level of bass for any noise (or whatever disruptive stuff you like) (deep boom, boom drives me nuts, your mileage may vary). If possible never, ever have a party at your place. Be willing to buy stuff, whatever, but try to make all the loud party problems somebody elses (unless your roommate is willing and part of the scene-then go nuts).

If you aren't the kind of person who can always clean the kitchen after using it (I don't know why but some people seem to lack a gene that makes them able to clean up after themselves) pack all your plates and utensils away and only leave out 1 set of plate/glasses/silverware for each of you. When guests show unpack the rest. I always used cheap plastic/ceramic/glass tuff from goodwill for my daily one set. That way you never trash the kitchen and stuff CAN'T get out of hand.

I prefer setting up a fairly equitable shopping list like i buy the toilet paper, you buy the paper towels kinda exchange than trying to go shopping with a roommate. Schedules can be ha
rd to coordinate and your shopping habits can not be compatible.

Always be an adult about your living conditions-talk to your roommate about stuff and be open to their foibles as well. We all have little stuff that drives us nuts, so respect his even if it seems like nonsense. If he asks you to do something a different way it isn't a personal attack on you but rather the first opening in a negotiation, treat it as business without an ego attached. Living with someone you are not having sex with is really, really hard. Especially the first time you do it.
posted by bartonlong at 4:09 PM on August 20, 2011

Decide if you're going to share food: is everything separate, or can you share certain things, or will you need to label the stuff you want all to yourself, etc. That's a sticky issue.

Something else that helped when I had a million roommates in college was to ask what they would do/say if they were really upset. One of my roommates would take extra naps. I would take an extra shower at random times. Another roommate would just ignore me for days. That kind of shit can drive you crazy if you don't get each other and know when to engage and when to avoid. You say you're good friends, but expect stuff like this. When you don't live together, you can easily just go home or hang up when you're mad. When you live together, that's not possible.

Talk about having guests or overnight visitors - what's the line that is acceptable? Also, if one of you is more introvert and the other is extravert, talk about having groups of people/parties.

Also, if you're sharing a stereo, computer, TV or anything else like that, decide what happens when someone wants to watch something or use the stereo or computer and the other person doesn't.

Others have covered the practical angle of bills, etc. well enough that I won't here. I just hope you see my theme here - communication, communication, communication. Living with someone is more like marriage than friendship. Don't assume that your relationship won't change, or that you'll never fight. The best roommate I had was a total opposite personality from me, but we only had one disagreement, and that was totally my fault. I wasn't so lucky with other roommates (like the one who didn't tell me she was a felon until we'd moved in a lived together for weeks...that was AWESOME).

Good luck - the homesickness will go away in time. Just use texting/internet more to keep your parents in your life.
posted by guster4lovers at 5:08 PM on August 20, 2011

1) Get renter's insurance. Your friend's homeowner policy may cover your stuff, but having your own policy is inexpensive and totally worth the peace of mind. $20k worth of coverage will run you between $200-$300 a year. If you're near an area known for huge natural disasters (e.g. floods near the water; earthquakes in California), look into insurance for that, too.

2) The homesickness will get better! If you're close with your parents, you can remain so via regular chats on the phone, family dinners / outings, etc. Who knows, a little bit of distance might even improve your relationship with your family.

3a) You've done the roommate situation, but has the friend you're moving in with? And, is this your friend's first time owning a home? The dynamics of living together in a dorm vs a condo (where your friend has a financial interest in the place) can be drastically different, and you may find this puts a strain on your friendship. Try to solve issues early, instead of letting them fester, and you'll have a much better chance of this going swimmingly.

3b) If your parents are anything like mine, they'll want to help you furnish your new place. LET THEM. And thank them, with a card sent via snail mail. It'll make them feel good.

Good luck!
posted by zebra at 9:47 PM on August 20, 2011

Recognise that the homesickness is one part homesickness, one part mourning, and one part plain old fear.
posted by DarlingBri at 6:53 AM on August 21, 2011

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