The big step of moving in together as a married couple can come with the same butterflies you get when walking down the aisle. You can make the transition easier by doing some work and having certain conversations before you move.
Finances, personal needs, and living style are all things to discuss before you break out the bubble wrap and start packing.
In the whirl of practical and emotional issues surrounding living together, there’s the actual “living” part. You should decide the concrete (or hardwood, laminate, granite . . . ) details of where and how you are going to share space.
Someone’s Place, or Somewhere New?
A first decision is: does one person move in with the other, or do you find somewhere new? Do you want to save money now and buy something else together later? Does either have a space you both like that accommodates the other’s stuff and your life together?
Whatever you decide, at least one of you may need to sell your home fast. Having a great realtor speeds up and simplifies this process, but there are other helpful strategies to follow so you don’t feel stuck when you’re ready to move forward.
One is to make inventories of your separate possessions and compare lists. There’s no need to move duplicate items, so you can sell or donate them. Also compare your inventories with the wedding gift list for the same reason.
Home Sweet Home
Have conversations with your new spouse about these issues when you choose a home and/or move:
- Current and projected future income
- Savings available and debts outstanding (credit cards, student loans, etc.)
- Goals for spending and saving (balancing current desires and future dreams)
- Where you’d like to live, where you’d like to wind up eventually, and what type or style of home you’re looking for. In these areas, discuss what are acceptable compromises and deal-breakers for each of you.
- What are each of your requirements for the new abode, such as office space, personal space, and pet space?
Being honest here will prevent living together from being derailed by surprises and disagreements.
Bills and Budgets
Answer budgeting questions before you have a household together. Will you split big costs evenly, such as a down payment, mortgage, rent, maintenance, or renovation? If not, how will you divide them?
If one or both of you are selling a home, how will you allocate these funds in your shared life? Will you have a joint bank account along with personal accounts, and what will it be used for?
What do you need to buy together for your new home? What possessions just won’t fit anymore? If you feel attachment to certain belongings, such as a music collection or a favorite couch, this can get emotional. It’s time to be sensitive and communicate.
One way to negotiate the merge is for each partner to label what they most like or don’t among the other’s possessions. Another way is to keep some items for now, with an agreement to replace them within a certain time. A third is to start with all new stuff.
How are you going to split daily expenses, such as utilities and groceries?
If either partner’s child will live with you part or full time, how will you meet those expenses and responsibilities? Will any current pets be the responsibility of one or both of you?
Keys to Success
These conversations may take longer than Saturday morning coffee, and they may even be difficult to have. But don’t trample over them in your rush toward wedded bliss. Being honest about these issues is vital to moving forward successfully.
Remember that you’re partners, not housemates; the decisions you reach need to work for you as a couple. Being on the same page, or at least knowing what pages you’re both on, will make creating your new home easier.
If that new home also involves buying together, or selling someone’s place, finding a top realtor in the area will make things much easier there, too. And you can probably save the issue with the direction of the bathroom tissue roll for later.