Prepare for your move!

Monthly Budget Spreadsheet

The first thing you need to determine is how much you can afford to budget for your rent and utilities. Use this worksheet to estimate what your expenses will be, and then keep track of actual expenses. Consult any information provided by your school or department on what they suggest you allocate for each type of expense. Remember to take into consideration your summer expenses, and whether any funding or resources you may have will need to cover 12 months rather than just the academic year.

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Monthly Cost

Utilities (Electricity, Water, Gas, Internet, Cable TV)  
Renter's Insurance  
Household/Personal Products  
Mobile Phone  
Transportation (Bus, Gasoline)  
Parking (Home and/or Campus)  
Laundry and Dry Cleaning  
Entertainment/Eating Out  
Health, Auto, or Other Insurance  
Other expenses  



Apartment Comparison Checklist

Filling out a comparison chart like this one will provide you with an easy way to compare properties. You can use the following checklist to keep track of the features of each apartment.

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About the Lease

Unit 1

Unit 2

Unit 3

Unit 4

How much is the monthly rent?        
What are the dates of the lease period?        
Which utilities are included? (E.g. Heat, Water, Electricity, Internet, Cable, etc.)        
If utilities not included, what was the average monthly cost of utilities for previous renters?        
Date Available        
Rent Late Payment Charges        
Is subleasing allowed?        
How much is the security deposit or move in-fee? Is it refundable?        
What is the penalty for breaking the lease early?        
How much advance notice is required for lease termination?        
What is the expected annual rent increase?        
Are pets allowed? Which ones?        
Is there an extra pet deposit or monthly fee?        

Apartment and Amenities





Air Conditioning        
Stove / Refrigerator        
Furniture Included        
Condition of Bathroom(s)        
Carpet/Floor Condition        
Ample Closet Space        
Adequate Storage Space        
Balcony or patio        
Laundry Facilities        
Parking Spaces Available/ Monthly Fee        
Guest Parking Available        
Bike Room        
Distance to Campus or Shuttle Stop        
Closest Public Transit        
Closest Grocery Store or Shops        

Moving Checklist

Moving can be a challenging experience. Below are some useful tips for making the process easier.

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One Month Before Your Move


Decide if you will hire movers, or move yourself, and book the service or truck  
Consider the layout/size of your new apartment, and decide what you will bring, leave behind, or give away  
Get boxes and packing supplies  
Contact the utility companies using the information your landlord provided when you signed your lease and begin setting up your services  
Purchase renter's insurance  
Change your address with the postal service  
Begin packing  

One Week Before Your Move

Change your address with credit card companies or any other vendors  
Contact your landlord and confirm the exact time and date of your move, and when and where to pick up your keys  
Reconfirm with your moving company, truck rental, or other helpers about the move day  
Complete all but your final packing  
Register for any new services you plan to use, such as the CTA's Ventra Card, a car share service like ZipCar, or a bike share service like Divvy Bikes  

Move-In Day

Meet your landlord and get your keys  
Take time and do a pre-move in inspection with time-stamped pictures of the unit before you move anything, ideally with the landlord. Take pictures of any damage (like cracking paint or broken door knob), and document any issues in writing to the landlord.  
Be sure you know where your laundry room, bike room, storage, or other amenities are located  


View the webinar on graduate housing for the University of Chicago. Please note: this a previously recorded video, so questions can no longer be submitted as suggested.