USF Apartment Move-In Checklist

Congratulations on your new USF apartment!

Now that you've found your place with, there are just a few things you'll need to do before you settle into your new home.

Sign Your Lease and Take Care of the Paperwork

Don’t just sign your lease agreement - READ it. Yes, it’s a long document, but it has a lot of important information in there, including…

● Parking restrictions
● Pet regulations
● Infractions that could get you kicked out of your apartment

This document outlines the rules and agreements you and apartment management agree to follow so it helps to understand the contents. It will also provide you with the information you need to one day move out of your apartment, so keep a copy of your lease in a safe space to reference later.

Set a Budget

Setting up your first apartment means taking on additional expenses like bills. You may need to set up accounts in your name for utilities (see below) and you may be required to pay additional fees upfront like a security deposit and pet deposit (if applicable). You may want to make a simple spreadsheet to tally your expenses like credit card bills, groceries, gas, and even any tuition you're paying to understand what you'll be spending on rent and other costs so you can live comfortably. If possible, make a savings plan. Even a few extra bucks a month can act as a safety net in case the unexpected should occur.

USF Apartment Living Room

Stock Up on Some Essentials

You're in luck! With your handy student ID, you're now likely eligible for some sweet discounts at great retailers. This can help you stock up on household essentials and even score some furniture and decor at a discount. While some apartments come furnished, you may want to spend a little extra to make it feel like home.

Here are some must-haves you might add to your list:

  • Furniture for bedroom, dining room, living room
  • Bedding such as sheets, pillows, pillowcases, comforter
  • Pots and pans
  • Dishes
  • Utensils and flatware
  • Cleaning supplies including a vacuum
  • Microwave
  • Coffee maker
  • TV
  • Coffee table
  • Rugs

If you want to save some cash, ask family members if they might have any of these items lying around — you’d be surprised at some of the items you might score! The more of these items you can begin to gather, the less you’ll have to buy once you move in. Or, check garage sales or flea markets for unique finds that might not break the bank.

Prepare for Moving Day

When you sign a lease on an apartment, you’ll receive your move-in date. Decide if you're planning to DIY your move with family and friends or if you'll be hiring professional movers. Either way, stay organized but using a system of boxes and bins to organize your belongings. A good method is to pack by room - so put bedroom, kitchen, and bathroom items in their own boxes. Also, consider packing in smaller boxes. These are much easier to carry, especially to second and third floors, and do a better job of protecting breakables as your likely not to over-stuff them. Pro-tip: keep a small box or piece of luggage aside with essentials you'll need for a few days before and after your moving day. Nothing is worse than having to rummage through your well-packed boxes for a toothbrush, change of clothes, and that important folder with your new apartment documents.

Transfer Your Utilities

You likely needed to have the electric set up before you signed your lease, but in the event you didn’t, you’ll want to make sure you’re all set with…

● Electric (TECO, for most of Tampa)
● Water - this is often managed by your apartment, though not always
● Cable and/or Internet

Even if it isn’t required by your apartment, it can also be a good idea to explore your options for renter’s insurance, which can help cover you in the event of a disaster, whether that means a break-in or a hurricane.

USF apartment living room

Inspect Your Apartment

The apartment management team will give you paperwork to fill out, generally within the first two or three days of living in your new apartment, where you evaluate the condition of the various rooms. The expectation is that you will casually review the space, but use this opportunity to become intimately acquainted with your new apartment. After all, you don’t want to be charged for damages at move-out that were there when you moved in!

Take the time to examine the smallest details of your apartment, such as...

● The sealing around externally-facing doors
● The shelves within the kitchen and bathroom cabinets
● The blinds on all windows and sliding glass doors

This is in addition to the overall state of the rooms, appliances, flooring, etc. Go through your inspection thoroughly and note as many things as you can on the form, adding additional paperwork if you need to. This is time-intensive, but it will get the management company involved if anything needs to be fixed immediately, and it will cover you when you move out since you’ve documented any potential issues that you didn’t cause.

Make It Your Space

Recruit some friends to help move your bulkier furniture (and take care that they don’t damage the walls or staircase), and settle in! This is your space for the remainder of the lease, so you want to make it feel like yours. Check out online marketplaces and local thrift shops for some great finds to make your new apartment feel like home.

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