Location: Irvine, California
Size/Type: 3 bedroom apartment (approximately 1400 square feet)
Length of Residence: 8 months
As soon as I graduated from high school, I was determined to move some place very far away. I shocked everyone and took a leap of faith and moved from a small town in Wisconsin to California. I had been using an online roommate service to try to find a place. Within no time I had found two roommates and decided on my first apartment, without even seeing it in person.It was a big change of pace and transition from my parents' house to living on my own in a big city and with two other girls who I barely knew.Being under 21 and very naive, I was so lucky to have landed a great place with two wonderful roommates.
What I loved about this home: The apartment complex was less than 10 years old, so everything felt new and clean. As a single girl living on my own for the first time, it was reassuring that the complex was gated. My apartment was directly across from the pool and hot tub, which was a great place to relax after a long day at work.
What changed when I moved on to my next home: After less than a year of living in my first place, one of my roommates was getting married and moving into her own apartment with her soon-to-be husband. Unfortunately, we couldn't just replace her with another roommate because she worked for the complex and we were paying a discounted rent. I was dating someone in Los Angeles and constantly commuting there for the weekend, so I decided to find a place closer to him. After looking for my own place for a few weeks, he asked me to move in with him (8 years later we still live together in the same place).
Everything changed when I moved into my new place (or should we say, my boyfriend's place). It is very different living with roommates than living with a significant other. We were building a home together and had to discuss both of our routines and requirements for cleanliness. Living with a boyfriend/girlfriend can make or break the relationship, so it was a big challenge adapting to my place and keeping the relationship alive.
Best bit of advice for people moving into their first home: Have fun!! Don't get hung up on not having enough money to decorate your place all at once. Buy pieces over time until you fill up your home with furnishings you love.