Thursday, June 18, 2020

My Experience Moving Across Country

It is coming up on one year since I packed up and moved from Buffalo, NY to Dallas, TX. It was a whirlwind of a few weeks when I moved. I was excited about the move but also VERY nervous about it. I felt like I could have used some tips and advice on where to even start. So I wanted to share everything I did when moving. Things that worked well and things that I would have changed! Once I accepted my job I had to hit the ground running to find an apartment and move within a month to start my new job. 

How Did I Find Apartments To Tour? 
Since I didn't know the city well at all I used an apartment locator to help curate a list of possible places for me. I had never heard of this service before but most bigger cities have apartment locators. They work with you to come up with a list of available apartments. The one I worked with did not charge a fee but instead, when you sign with an apartment you listed the locator company. They then received a small commission from the lease I signed. 

They sent me a long list of places within my budget and that fit the criteria I wanted. I will say some were no's right away but the list I got was VERY long. I want to say there were at least 25-30 different places on the list. Another challenging part is that I only got the list shortly before I moved because if they sent it too early then there is a chance most of the places would be unavailable to tour.

How Did I Pick My Apartment? 
I started with the things that were a must and the things that would be nice to have. For me, I wanted a one-bedroom not a studio which is more money. The top things I was looking for was a large walk-in closet, parking garage connected to the apartment, washer & dryer hookup, and good reviews from the management company. The things that I wanted but wasn't a must was an outdoor balcony, upper floor, and pool. Everyone is different with what they want in an apartment so you have to think about what is important to you personally. 

I was so worried about not knowing what apartment to choose but the moment I saw the one I ended up picking I knew it was the one. It checked all the boxes and the color pallet was so my style. The cabinets were light and bright which is what I prefer. 

What Was I Looking For In An Apartment? 
A lot of apartments have the same amenities so it is really up to preference and what you want. I would say for me I have way too many clothes so a big closet was at the top of my list. The other thing I was looking for was a decent sized kitchen and washer/dryer hookup. I think pretty much every apartment complex in Dallas has a pool so that wasn't an issue. Also pretty much all of them have a parking garage. 

Some other things to think about that are easy to forget... 
  • What is security like (key-fob, desk concierge, etc.)?
  • Can you put nails in the wall? 
  • Is trash picked up at the door or do you have to put it somewhere? 
  • Additional fees on top of rent (pest control, trash, water, etc.)? 
  • Are pets allowed and the fees involved? 
  • Is there a separate elevator for moving furniture? 
  • How are packages received? 
  • Maintenance procedure if something is broken? 
  • Is there an additional fee for parking? 
Did I See The Apartments In Person? 
Yes, my mom and I flew down for a weekend the week before I was planning on moving. I had a very tight timeline because of my job. If you have more time to space everything out it would probably be much less stressful. We flew down on a Friday night and spent all of Saturday touring five different apartments. It was SO HOT the day we did all this but we got it done in a day. Our flight back was not until Sunday night so we went back to the apartment to look at it and finish signing some of the paperwork. 

I was torn in the beginning about whether or not it was worth paying for a flight to fly down to visit the apartments. I will say for me it was 100% worth it. The pictures online of most places were not at all up to date. It just helped so much seeing the places in person with regard to the location and layout. 

Did I Rent A U-Haul Or Use A Moving Company? 
This is a tricky decision to make. So because I was moving to a different state and would be leaving the U-Haul in a different state they were going to charge me a "drop fee" with a bunch of other additional fees on top of the already expensive rental. For me, I just graduated from college and didn't have any furniture that was of any value. So I decided it was not worth the money it would cost to move the furniture. For me, I decided to pretty much buy everything once I got to Dallas other than my clothes, shoes, kitchen stuff, wall decor, etc. I will say my car was literally packed to the top. Nothing more would have fit. Space bags were my best friend for fitting all my clothes in!

Where Did I Get My Furniture From? 
I ordered a bunch of stuff on Amazon and had it delivered to my apartment. On Amazon I ordered a rug, kitchen stuff, a mattress, and bed frame. The mattress in a box is the BEST and the bed so comfortable. For the big furniture, my family made a trip to Ikea to buy pretty much all my furniture other than my couch. My couch I bought from a local furniture store online and it surprisingly was exactly what I wanted. If you are moving to DFW I highly recommend Savvy Discount Furniture. We rented a large U-Haul type van for the day because we were buying so much at Ikea. The one thing that would have made it easier would have been renting the U-Haul for two days because we hardly made it in time to drop it back off. 

I will say I was super OCD about the Ikea part so I had pretty much pre-picked out everything I wanted to get ahead of time. I changed my mind on a few things once I saw the stuff in person but for the most part, I got everything I had already had in mind. I printed out everything I wanted and the model number to make it easier to pick stuff once in the warehouse. 

How Many Days Did I Drive?
My dad drove with me and we split the drive into three days and two nights. My mom had already reserved hotel rooms which made it easier! 

I hope you found this helpful! I plan to do more apartment and moving posts in the future. Let more know if you have any additional tips or questions for me. 

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