When it comes time to figure out where you’re moving after college, there are a variety of one-time move-in costs what you should take into consideration. Keep in mind that in this example, we’re going through all the potential costs you might encounter, and it’s likely that some of these might not apply to your situation.
Costs can start to pile up quickly, so be prepared. Before you can move into a new apartment, you’ll usually need to apply for it. Most landlords will want to do a background check and credit check. They’ll use these to see how financially responsible you are and to make sure you don’t raise any red flags. These checks will usually cost you around $50. They might also want to see copies of recent pay stubs, a letter of employment from your workplace, and proof of any assets you might have - like a savings account or an investment account.
Because you’ll have to pay for each credit report, you’ll want to make sure that you’re getting approved. That’s where Fizz can be a huge help. With Fizz, you can build your credit score in college so that you don’t have to worry about getting approved for an apartment after you graduate. Without Fizz, you might end up unable to get an apartment at all.
Once the landlord approves your application, they’ll probably want you to commit to a lease that can be anywhere from six months to two years long. They often ask for the first and last month’s rent upfront as well as a security deposit, which can potentially add up to thousands of dollars. Why do they need the last month? It assures the landlord that you won’t leave abruptly without paying before the end of your lease. If you do, at least they’re covered for a month to clean the space and find a new tenant.
Let’s put this all into context with some real numbers. Assume the apartment you’re renting is $1,200 per month. First and last month’s rent is going to equal $2,400, and your security deposit will likely be another $1,200 on top of that. A security deposit is there to ensure that you’ll leave the apartment in the condition that you found it. If you leave the place undamaged, you should get this deposit back when you move out.
Now you may be able to find the place on your own, but if you need help, especially in an area where the housing market is competitive, you might want to work with a real estate agent. This can mean that you’ll need to pay a commission to a real estate agent. In some places, this can be 10% of the annual rent! But it may also be negotiable, and you can choose not to work with a broker if you want to avoid the fee.
To that 10% number some context: the annual rent is going to be $1,200 times 12 months, which equals $14,400. Ten percent of that will be $14,400 times 0.1, which is $1,440. When we look at this all together, it looks like we’ve got a total of $5,040 that you’d have to pay up front before you even move in.
Even more costs
Now that’s not all. We also need to take into consideration the cost of moving from your college campus to a new apartment or a new city.
If you’re moving across town and have a few friends who are willing to work for pizza, you could be looking at just a hundred-dollar truck rental for the day. But, if you’re hiring movers to load and move your stuff, it’ll be more. Most moving fees are based on the distance you’re moving and how much stuff you have. If you’re moving far away (and have a lot of stuff), you could pay thousands of dollars.
The good news is that many moving companies offer free estimates on their websites. You can use these to compare costs when figuring out what moving option might work best for you. You might decide that loading up your car and driving is the most cost-effective option.
As you can see, moving after college can be quite expensive. You’ll want to have saved up some money well before you start looking for a place, and you’ll want to be cognizant of what you’ll have to pay for. But depending on where you’re going, your move-in costs will differ. Some of the costs we’ve gone over might seem like a lot, your own move-in costs may not be so high.
However, you may look at your move-in costs and what you’ve got saved and decide you want to look at cheaper rentals to offset some of those initial costs. So do your research, figure out your financial situation, and you’ll be better prepared to choose a place based on your own budget. And don't’ forget to build your credit with Fizz before the time comes to move after college - you’ll be thankful you did!
Sam is a Kenyon College alum and is head of content at Fizz. He's been a go to personal finance resource among his peers since getting his first credit card during his sophomore year of college. He hails from Washington, DC, loves all things aviation, and currently lives in Los Angeles.