Student loans. Massive competition for post-grad jobs. “Entry-level” pay rates, and a seemingly ever-increasing cost of living. With all these obstacles, it’s no wonder that 1 in 4 Millennials are still living at home. Living with mom and dad after school gives you the financial break you need to start accomplishing your goals, but does it have to last forever?
The answer is: Of course not! Living at home is a great way to jumpstart life after college, but soon enough, you’re going to want to start adulting for real, which means you’ll need your own place. To help you succeed on at living on your own, we’ve created this complete guide to moving out.
When Should You Move Out of Your Parents House?
There’s no “right time to move out,” and each person’s timeline towards adulthood is different. Some millennials are just waiting for the right job. Others are weighed down by hefty loans. And let’s be honest: some people have trouble leaving the comfort and security that your parents’ house represents.
So how do you know when it’s your moment to move? Here are a few easy indicators that you (or your parents) are ready:
- You have a steady job, or your own business is providing stable income
- You want to go out/bring someone home/play music at 3 am and NOT have an awkward conversation with the ‘rents.
- And the biggie: your parents have started dropping hints. Living at home might be the dream for you, but not every parent wants their kid to stay forever!
The First Question: Can you Afford to Move Out?
Even if you’re emotionally ready to move out of your parents’ house, if you can’t afford it, it’s not an option yet. To determine if you are financially ready to live alone, you’ll need to consider three important questions:
- Do I have a steady income? You don’t want to have to run to friends and family when things get tight or end up in even more debt with a credit card company.
- What is the Cost of Living where I want to live? If your income isn’t enough to cover your living expenses, you need to choose a new location, or a new job before moving out. Many apartment complexes will want proof that your income is 2.5 to 3 times more than the monthly rent.
- What is my credit score? A lot of apartment buildings won’t accept you if you have a credit score that’s less than $600, and mortgage interest rates are also impacted by your credit score.
How to Move out of Your Parent’s House in 10 Steps
Once you’ve determined that you can make the personal finances work, and you’re feeling ready to take the leap towards independence, it’s time to get moving on moving out. So without further ado, here is our step-by-step guide to moving out of your parents’ house.
Step #1: Discuss Your Plans with Your Parents
Don’t be the kid that springs the news on their parents three days before your move. First off, your parents need time to get emotionally ready for this too. Plus, telling your parents in advance means they can help you make the right decisions about your move and where to live. They’ve been handling their own finances (and probably some of yours) for a while now, and their advice is invaluable, so get the conversation started ASAP.
Step #2: Build Your Budget
Before you decided to move out, you (hopefully) thought about the three questions mentioned above: income, cost of living and credit score. Now is the time to take that knowledge and apply it by building a monthly budget. Take into account the average monthly rent or mortgage payments for the area you want to live in. You’ll also want to look at your previous bank statements to see how much you spend on things like food, gas, shopping, and entertainment.
If you’ve never used a budget before, try playing pretend for a month or two while you’re still at home. Set up your budget and stick to it. Put the “rent” part of your budget into savings to go towards student loans, and check yourself to see how you did.
Step #3: Start Saving Up
Another essential part of adulting is having an emergency fund. Sadly, we can never guarantee that a job will last forever, or that surprise expenses won’t come up. A solid emergency fund is built to give you the safety net you need when unforeseen expenses arise. We recommend a fund that’s equivalent to 3-6 months of your budget. That way, if you do lose your job or dip into the “red,” you can take the time you need to get back on your feet, without losing your new home.
Step #4: Explore Apartments or Homes
Whether you’re buying real estate or paying rent, it’s important to find a home that fits your budget, your commute, and your style. Look at a range of homes before making your final decision, and bring along friends and family for fresh insights and opinions. This is one of the most exciting parts of moving out, so let yourself get a little giddy when you find “the one.”
Step #5: Sign the Papers
We’re gonna bold this for you: read everything before you sign. If the lease or home-buying contract looks like Greek to you, pull in your parents or even a lawyer to make sure you are protected. If your credit score is still building, or you don’t have a rent history, you might also need a cosigner. Ask mom and dad nicely if they’d be willing to back you up.
Step #6: Choose a Moving Company
Unless all you have is a few boxes of clothes, you should consider picking a local moving company to help out. We know you’re thinking, “moving companies are expensive!” But let us remind you of a few things:
- The right moving company will help create a plan that fits your budget
- Moving furniture is not a one-person job, and even if you enlist friends, improper moving could get your home, your furniture, or one of you hurt!
- On that note: moving furniture ruins friendships. Think of the “pivot” moment from Friends.
- Using a reliable moving company means you won’t have to drive an enormous rented truck down the freeway– which you’ve never done before.
Step #7: Start Packing
When you’re moving out of your parents’ house, packing is more than just throwing everything you own into boxes. You need to decide what’s coming with you, what’s staying with mom and dad, and what needs to be donated or thrown away. To ensure the safety of your belongings, you’ll also need high-quality packing supplies, which you can get from your moving company!
Step #8: Prepare for the Move
Before you move, make sure you are prepared for everything that comes along with moving. If you’ve never lived on your own before, you might not realize that there are extra steps outside the actual move that you need to consider. The main two are, changing your address, and buying the essentials for keeping your space clean, safe and livable.
To learn all about changing your address, voter registration and car details, check out our guide to Changing Your Address in Ohio. For a handy list of new home essentials, which can double as a “how to move out of parent’s house checklist” here’s an extensive checklist from Bed Bath & Beyond.
Step #9: Moving Day!
Moving to a new home can be stressful, so try to take it one step at a time. If you’re using a moving company, make sure you’re home to supervise the moving process. If you’re moving everything yourself, take your time and frequent breaks so you don’t get overwhelmed. And remember, you don’t have to unpack everything on the first day!
Step #10: Drink Some Champagne, You’re a Real Adult.
You did it! Take a moment to breathe in and relish in having your own space. You can now eat and drink what you want, stay up super late playing video games, and have your friends over anytime. You also get to cook and clean for yourself, and pay all your own bills! Don’t worry, you’ll get the hang of it because you are finally a real adult.