The decision to leave home is different for everyone. People move out for many different reasons including:
There is no right time! When you are thinking about leaving home for the first time, consider the pros and cons in order to make an informed decision.
It is normal to feel excited and scared when thinking about moving out. It can be a major life change, and you might not know where to start. Here are some tips!
This will help you figure out if you’re ready to move out right away or if you need more time to save up. Try this budgeting tool by the Government of Canada to help you out.
Be sure to include all the expenses that come with moving out as well as those that you will have to pay every month. You may need to create a budget for the move, and a monthly budget for your expenses.
For the move:
On-going monthly expenses:
Before you start searching for properties, it’s helpful to decide how much you can afford and what your monthly income looks like. You can ask yourself questions like: How much money do I make each month? Do I earn a regular paycheck (e.g., weekly or monthly)? What is my credit score? Landlords might ask these questions too. Some landlords will check your credit as part of your rental application and some won’t.
Your credit score is a three-digit number that comes from the information in your credit report. It shows how well you manage credit and how risky it would be for a lender to lend you money or rent an apartment to you. Your credit report is started when you borrow money (like a student loan) or apply for credit for the first time (like getting your first credit card). Read more about your credit score here and here.
As well, if you have no credit history, or have had credit trouble, a landlord may ask you for a guarantor. A guarantor is usually a parent or guardian with a good credit history. The guarantor agrees to pay for you if you’re unable to pay your rent.
You might be looking for an apartment, condo, or perhaps a room in a home. Before you start, here are some questions you will want to ask yourself.
Once you have a better idea of what you are looking for, there are a few different ways to find a place to live.
All that’s left is to reach out to the listings that you like and wait for them to invite you to a viewing. Make sure to bring a parent or trusted friend with you, especially one that has moved out or rented before. They can help you notice the pros and cons of each listing. As well, if you reach out to someone via Marketplace or Kijiji, it’s best to go with another person in order to be safe. When considering an apartment or condo building, do some online research to read tenant and former-tenant reviews about the property management company or landlords.
Let’s say you’ve found a place you want to live! The next step is to secure the listing with a security deposit and sign a rental agreement.
A rental agreement, or lease, is a contract between a landlord and a tenant. The landlord grants the tenant the right to occupy a rental unit. In return, the tenant agrees to pay rent. The contract may also include other terms and rules. When you sign a rental agreement, you’re agreeing to respect those terms and rules. It is important to know your rights as a renter so that you manage a landlord who might be trying to take advantage of you. You can read about the Alberta Landlord and Tenant Act here.
A written rental agreement is an official record of what you and the landlord agree to. If there’s a dispute later, the rental agreement helps to settle it.
If you have a guarantor, the landlord will have them sign an agreement that describes their responsibilities. Your rental agreement should include:
If you have decided to live with a roommate, it’s a good idea to sit down and figure out a roommate agreement as well.
Make sure you have a discussion about the following points to avoid any problems in the future:
Make sure you understand what you’re responsible for and what it takes to be considered a “good roommate”.
If 2 or more tenants sign the same rental agreement, each is equally responsible for payments and damages. If each of you signs separate rental agreements, you’re only responsible for what’s in your own written agreement.
If your name alone is on the utility bills, you must pay them on time. Missing a payment for your rent or utilities could hurt your credit score.
Check out this Government of Alberta resource on landlord and tenant rights and responsibilities. It includes tips on working out bills when roommates are involved.
The next step is to get ready for the move. This can include deciding what you want to bring with you, what you need to purchase and plan for moving day.
We suggest taking a look at the floor plan of the rental unit, or perhaps taking pictures of your room and other spaces you will be using. This will help you visualize what you need to bring and if there is anything else you need.
If you’re moving out for the first time, you may need:
Whether you are getting rid of things you don’t want to bring or you are looking to buy, there are lots of great places to sell and buy items second-hand. This is not only a great way to stay within your budget but it is good for the environment as well.
Remember to go with another person when going to meet up with someone to buy or sell something second-hand. If no one is free, be sure to tell someone when you are going, where you are meeting, and any information about that person – just to be safe. As well, be sure to bring hand sanitizer and wipe down things with disinfecting wipes!
If you are moving into an apartment or condo building, you’ll have to reserve an elevator. Most buildings allow you to hold an elevator for two or three hour slots. Always secure a time slot before planning for the big day!
Some people reach out to moving companies to help them move, but this can be pricey. You can find a list of reputable movers on the Canadian Association of Movers website.
If you have friends and family willing to help you out, be sure to follow these tips.
Leaving home for the first time is a pretty big deal! It can be exciting and scary all at the same time. Just like when you are making other major life changes, it is important to think about how you will maintain your mental health.
Here are some helpful suggestions.
Try to get enough sleep
With all the things that you will need to do and the excitement, sleeping at least 6 hours per night may be difficult. Remember that it can make a big difference in your ability to handle the ups and downs of the process.
Make sure to take the time to check in with yourself and how you are feeling. If you notice some early warning signs that your health might be suffering, follow through on your daily self-care plans.
Ask for help
Don’t be afraid to reach out for help. This can be emotional support or someone to help carry a couch! Almost everyone moves and so you are always able to return to the favour!
Moving out may be a long process. Plan to celebrate the steps along the way so you can keep track of your progress and take the time to enjoy the journey.
Check out our Groups and Workshops for more real life, skill building help! We also have private, free virtual appointments available with our Mental Health Therapists, Peer Support Worker, and Employment Support Worker.
Renting your first apartment or house – Canada.ca
Renting Your First Apartment I AMA
Credit report and score basics – Canada.ca
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All information on this site is intended to provide assistance and guidance but cannot replace the care of a medical professional.