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Moving out: The checklist for the first apartment of your own

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Bye bye Hotel of Mom and Dad – and into your own four walls: Freedom calls! But this new phase in your life also brings obligations and costs with it. What do I need to know so that the move to the first apartment of my own or together with a roommate is a success? We've put together six tips. 

1. The furnishings: Go shopping with purpose

A bed, the number of the pizza delivery service, and a beer in the refrigerator is all you need for the first night – but if you want a bit more comfort, you'll need a few extras. Your best approach is to go from room to room: What furniture do you need in the lounge, what appliances in the kitchen, what equipment for the bathroom? If sharing with roommates, what's already available? Internet checklists are a good starting point. 

Before you head for the stores, it's advisable to draw up a budget list. At the start, it needn't necessarily be designer furnishings; secondhand furniture from the thrift store, or on Ricardo, Tutti & co. will be fine and won't break the bank. Before you buy, be careful to check the measurements against the floor plan of the apartment: Even the smartest kitchen table is no use if it doesn't fit the available space …

2. The list of defects: It pays to be fussy

The previous tenant has finally moved out and the day of your move has arrived. But before you start moving in with your belongings with the help of your friends, the landlord or administrator has to carry out the official handover of the apartment. Stay alert during this meeting: Check all the rooms carefully and make sure all visible defects are noted on the handover protocol. Otherwise, when you move out, you may be forced to pay for damage that you didn't cause yourself. The meter readings for electricity, gas and water should also be included in the protocol. If you discover any additional defects after moving in, you can send a list of these to the landlord in a registered letter within ten days of receiving the keys and they will be added to the protocol.  

To make sure the internet and TV are connected up on time, you should contact the suppliers a few weeks before moving in.

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3. The rental guarantee: A lot of money doing nothing

The rental guarantee offers the landlord security in case you can no longer pay the rent or the apartment is damaged when you move out. Normally you have to pay two to four months' rent into an escrow account to cover this. And the money stays tied up until you move out. If you don't have this amount of money available, there is an alternative: rental guarantee insurance. It takes over if the landlord has justified claims for damage or rental arrears. 

4. Change of address: So you don't lose touch

You may have moved in, but there's still lots to do, and maybe your WLAN isn't up and running yet: To make sure that the internet and TV are connected on time, you should contact the suppliers a few weeks before moving in. By the way: Don't forget to register with Serafe – as you have to pay radio and TV fees once you've started your own household. If you're sharing with roommates, expenses like these can be shared. There are others who will need to know your new address: health insurance fund, residents' registration office (Einwohneramt), Department of Motor Vehicles (Strassenverkehrsamt), employer, banks and cellphone provider. And so that your post doesn't continue to arrive at your parents' home, you can set up a redirection order.

If you're sharing with roommates or have cheap secondhand furniture, you can only insure your personal belongings – such as your diving gear, your racing bike, or your cellphone, laptop and digital camera.

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5. Household contents insurance: From your sofa to your racing bike

New furniture, a big TV, a nice sofa – over time, your apartment fills up, and the value of your personal possessions increases. Perhaps it's worthwhile taking out household contents insurance when you move in. It pays benefits if, for example, your valuable jewelry is stolen in a break-in, if the apartment burns down, or if the basement is flooded. If you're sharing with roommates or have cheap secondhand furniture, you can only insure your personal belongings – such as sports equipment like diving gear or an expensive racing bike, or electronic appliances like laptops, cellphones and digital cameras. 

6. Personal liability: For bigger and smaller mishaps

There's one type of insurance that's almost obligatory when you leave home – personal liability: It pays benefits if you accidentally cause damage to others – for example, if you damage a friend's car while parking, or if you're on your bike and collide with a pedestrian who subsequently sends you a bill for expensive medical treatment. In extreme cases, such claims can quickly amount to millions.

Personal liability insurance also makes sense for tenants: It covers – among other things – damage to the rental apartment that you cause yourself and that can prove costly – for example, if a pan falls onto the stove and leaves a crack, if the awning gets broken during a party, or if a perfume bottle falls onto the washbasin and damages it. At the latest when you move out and do the final inspection with your landlord, you'll be glad you are properly insured. The insurance also helps you defend yourself against unjustified claims.

Suitable insurance for the first apartment of your own

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