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Tips from entrepreneurs for your first apartment


A move can be an exciting time, whether across town or perhaps to an entirely new continent, but there's a lot to consider. Everyone has an opinion from their own experience, but it could be years old or not relevant for where you're moving.

We thought we'd change everything up and pull in advice from entrepreneurs, a group that is mostly known for getting their start on coffee shop wifi but also has experience (and some tricks) for your first apartment.

We spoke to six YC founders and entrepreneurs to get their input on the move.

Alex Hilleary from Gather:

On moving to Ohio

  • People listing an apartment or a house love to tell you there are more bedrooms than there really are, so make sure you see each room and think about how feasible it would be to turn it into a bedroom.
  • It's much easier to look for a new place when you're in that city. I had to fly to my new city for 24 hours just because the landlord made me sign the lease in person.
  • Facebook Marketplace will be your best friend for the next 3 months.

Cedric Dussud from Narrator:

On moving to Seattle, Washington

  • Take photos of everything on the day you move in. Documenting the exact state of the apartment will be extremely helpful later on. Landlords will attempt to hold back as much of your security deposit as possible when you move out. Be sure to read up on the laws around the security deposit process.
  • For example, in CA you are entitled to an itemized list of issues found and the amount being taken out for each. The landlord has a fixed amount of time to send you that list and refund your deposit. Every time I've moved I've had to push back (a little) on security deposits either being unfairly docked or not given back in a timely manner. If you know your rights it's easy to (kindly, but firmly) explain your expectations and get back what they owe you. Having all your documents in order helps when looking for an apartment in a competitive city. Have printouts of proof of income, proof of employment, etc ready with you when you apply.

Alana Laverty from ZeroDown:

On moving to New York City

  • Make a rough list of what you’re looking for in a home but be realistic and willing to sacrifice some as finding an apartment with absolutely EVERYTHING you’re looking for is very rare.
  • Take photos of the entire apartment right before you move in - so that you have records of any damage and can avoid having it deducted from your security deposit when you move out.
  • Check out the entire building - trust me. If the basement feels sketchy or looks like a dungeon and it’s the only place to do laundry, you’re going to want to know that ahead of time!

Pasha from Forage:

On moving to Sydney, Australia

  • My main tip: before you move in, get the floor-plan for your place and then create a 3D version of it in a tool like Sketchup.
  • Make a bullet list of all of the things that you'll do at home (home exercise, tv placement, work setup etc) - and then design and choose the right space and furniture for it. When you start to move into your new apartment - you can rest easy knowing that you've set up your home to be useful to you!

Arjun Mahadevan from StartPack:

On moving to San Francisco

  • The market can move fast!
  • Have all of your documents (bank statements, lease agreements etc) ready to go so if the landlord likes you, you can move fast and secure a great apartment :)

Kam Leung from Papercups:

On moving to San Francisco

  • Stay organized!
  • Use a doc and keep track of all the places you've seen and how you feel about each place and be ready to move fast especially in hot renter markets.

If you have additional tips and you want the chance to be featured in a future post, reach out blog@safelyfinance.co and let us know!