Warmer weather means moving season is upon us. Moving in the summer months is much easier, since you don’t have to contend with snow on the roads or other bad weather. Many people often move in together at this time of year, what with the school season ending and wedding season beginning. Plus, they can enjoy the summer months in their new space. If you and your partner are planning to consolidate your households, here are a few logistics to consider when choosing your new home, furnishing your space, and talking about money.
Determine Your Home’s Needs
Once you have decided to share a home, the process of picking out your new abode begins. While some decide to have one partner move into the other’s place, it may not feel like a shared space. Getting a new home together gives you both a chance to begin a brand-new journey. If you’re moving in with friends, you’ll have to make similar considerations. The tricky part is finding the Goldilocks Zone that meets all your needs.
Discuss the features you will each need—this gives you a starting point in your apartment or house hunt. You may have a large project which necessitates a garage or a hobby that requires a yard. If you like cooking together, a larger kitchen can make that happen. If you prefer to relax on your own from time to time, find a dwelling with enclosed rooms, like a den or reading nook.
Be honest about what you need in your life, even if it seems trivial. For someone who unwinds with a bath on a regular basis, a stand-up shower just won’t do. Knowing you value natural lighting crosses most basement suites or ground floor apartments off your list. Speaking up about your deal-breakers not only keeps you from moving into a place that doesn’t suit you; it can speed up your search by limiting the amount of properties you look at.
Location, Location, Location
The perfect place is only perfect if you’re happy with the neighbourhood. Reflect on your lifestyles and examine how they might fit in to the surrounding area. You may want to be near grocery stores, shopping areas, or local restaurants. Or, your preference may be a location that is off the beaten path, near parks or rivers, or close to the edge of the city for easy getaways. You also must consider your commute. If your drive to work means you’ll be getting up an hour earlier, is it still your perfect home?
Inventory Your Belongings
If you have each already spent time living on your own, it’s likely that you have most of the things you already need. When consolidating your items, take stock of what you can get rid of without affecting your lifestyle. Two coffee makers, for example, are probably unnecessary unless they serve different functions, like a French press for the daily cup of coffee and a drip machine with a larger pot for company. Taking an inventory of what you own before you move it all into the same house can save you a lot of unpacking headaches.
While it’s nice to have your own things, the easiest way to decide what to keep is by deciding what is in better shape. Even if you are accustomed to sleeping on your ten-year-old mattress, it makes more sense to keep the 3-year-old mattress that doesn’t have the nest-like indentation-for-one in the middle. Choose the appliances that work best, the furniture in the best shape, and the fixtures that are the least dated.
Compromise is Key
It’s doubtful that any one of you is interested in throwing away all the items you already own. This means that you should decide which possessions you are not willing to part with and which ones you could live without. This way, you won’t feel taken advantage of, nor will you domineer the belongings in your shared home.
Repurpose, Sell, Donate
If you have items you no longer need, you may be able to find other uses for them. The older mattress makes a perfect guest bed. A second dining room table may be the right fit for a work or craft table, or even a desk. If you truly do not have the space, consider placing the item on an online marketplace. Your old table lamp may be someone else’s new favourite addition to their bedroom. Or, if you’re not interested in reselling, you may be able to donate these goods to a local charity. Be sure to find out their rules for donating, as charities can’t accept everything, such as used mattresses.
Discuss Your Finances
Money is one of the few conversational taboos left. Even in this modern age of openness, it is not always comfortable or appropriate to discuss salaries, savings, or expenses. That said, if you’re in a relationship, there are important times to do so If you have not broached this subject yet; make a point to talk about it before beginning your cohabitation. This way, you can have clear expectations on both sides about your current savings and/or debt, how you will split the costs of the household, and what money is just for yourself. If you are living with a roommate, it’s still important to talk about the expectations and responsibilities when it comes to splitting your bills.
Savings & Debt
If you’re a couple and one partner is paying off a student loan, it may mean that overall spending needs to be lowered to accommodate debt payments. Alternatively, if a partner has a large sum of money in savings, does that immediately make it shared income or is that for their personal use? Talking about these expectations is vital to avoid miscommunication about the purpose of these funds.
If you’re living with roommates, make sure you give your cohabitants a general idea of how much money you’re able to contribute to bills based on your monthly income, savings, and debt.
Splitting the Costs
In a relationship, sharing your wealth is part of living together. Bills, groceries, rent, or mortgage payments must be paid, and there are various ways to split the cost. The most common way to do this is to add up all the bills every month and each pay half. You could consider assigning the bills—a simple way to avoid the monthly math. Or, if you don’t mind the math, you could even base the split on the income of each partner. For example, if you make 70% of the household income, you can pay for 70% of the household bills.
Alternatively, roommates may choose to split costs based on the space you’re each using. If one person gets the better parking space, maybe they could also contribute more to the rent payment. Regardless of how you decide to make that partition, be sure that each of you is on the same page.
Not all your money should be locked into household expenses. If you’re a couple, private spending is important for independence in a relationship. Spending your own money without justifying it to your partner (or yourself) is good for your mental health, which is essential to a healthy relationship. Go ahead: buy that takeout for lunch, those shoes, or a new gadget; just ensure you’ve met your household obligations before you spend that money.
Consider the Logistics Beforehand
While these may seem like topics of conversation you would normally bring up with your partner, talking about these things before you move in can help make the transition go smoothly and maintain your relationship in the long-term. If you’re moving in with a friend, make sure you discuss your living habits and outlook for the near future to make sure you both have clear expectations for your cohabitation.