Deciding to move in together is such an exciting step in a relationship. It’s nerve-wracking and wonderful in all the best ways. My boyfriend, Scott, and I were actually already living together when we decided to live together. Confusing, I know. But, we were living together as friends in a group house for about a year before we started dating. Then about a year after that, decided we wanted to live together just the two of us.
By the time we were apartment hunting, I felt like we had a lot of important conversations that properly prepared us for the transition, and so I wanted to share some of the ones I thought were worth having!
Some of these you might have already discussed or be obvious, but some might be things you haven’t yet thought of, and could help the moving in together process go as smoothly as possible.
Will we be renting or buying?
This will depend on a lot of factors: budgets, how long you plan to stay in the area, and what you both are interested in, just to start. I’d personally recommend not buying unless you’ve been together a little while, but that’s just me.
How long do you want your lease to be if renting?
Different places have different options or requirements ranging from very short term to very long term. Is this a location you plan on staying a while? Often times you can save money with a longer lease. Scott and I saved a bit doing a 13 month lease versus a 12 month lease at our apartment complex.
Where are we going to live?
Think about distances to work, family, friends, gym, and favorite places to visit.
What kind of place?
House, apartment, townhouse?
How much space do we need?
You don’t need to take inventory of all your belongings, although that probably would help, but think about how many rooms do you think make sense? Bathrooms? Kitchen space? Closet space?
Scott and I ended up with an apartment that has 1.5 bathrooms, 1 bedroom, and a den. I needed an additional room because as a writer and blogger I needed a designated office space. The extra bathroom just happened to come with the apartment, but it has been SO SO nice in terms of having a little extra bathroom privacy (which was something that made me so nervous about moving in together!!!) If you’re an introvert you probably don’t want to pick a studio apartment.
Making It Ours
Who will provide what furniture/house things, and how will we go about getting the rest of what we need?
When I went out shopping for house things, I knew I had Scott’s permission to grab anything I deemed necessary. We had an understanding that I wasn’t going to spend aimlessly, but it was fine for me to pick up some stuff. For any bigger purchases I did on my own, I just sent Scott a quick text and he was usually fine with it. Open communication!
Will we do the move ourselves or will we hire movers?
If you have a lot of big furniture pieces, it’s something to consider. Or just thinking about which friends will your bribe with good snacks to help you move.
How should we set the rooms up?
Usually, places are set up with a natural bedroom, living, dining room etc., but not always. And maybe you want to change it up a bit? Also, how will you layout your furniture?
How should we divide up the space or closet?
If you have a place with limited closet space, this is a conversation worth having. Especially if you’re like me and own way too many clothes.
How should we decorate?
How will you decorate? Does anyone have any particular preferences? What about spending preferences? Do you have any pieces of art that you absolutely love and must have hung up somewhere?
How are we dividing up rent and utilities?
This could easily be in the housing basics category as well, because budgeting should be one of the first conversations you have. Absolutely important you be honest with how much you can truly afford, so you don’t end up committing yourself to a place above your price range. I know money isn’t the most comfortable thing to talk about, but if you can’t talk about it, then you might not be ready to live together.
Is it a 50/50 split? If one person makes significantly more than the other, does 50/50 make the most sense? Or should a different percentage of payment come into play. Think about what makes you comfortable, and talk out what works best for the two of you.
Who is in charge of what bills?
Who will set them up? Who’s name will they be under? If you have multiple bills, will one person handle all of them, or will you split the responsibility? How will you go about paying each other back?
Scott and I use the venmo app to split everything we need to, for us this includes utilities, groceries, and some dates, but we’ve discussed opening a joint account for these kinds of expenses.
What additional utilities do we need?
Internet is probably assumed, but what about cable? Is it worth the extra expense? Do you have Netflix, amazon prime, hulu? If so, do you really need cable?
Scott and I decided against cable, because we have Netflix, Amazon, and purchased an antenna to get basic cable – for most sports. Unfortunately, we can’t get baseball through basic cable, so we bought a little radio to listen to games.
Will we share groceries?
Who will do the shopping? How will we split the grocery bill? If we cook shared meals, how should we split those?
When we first moved in together, I did most of the shopping because Scott was busy studying for the CPA exam. I’d just figure out who owed what, and he would pay me on venmo. For our shared meals, I’d split them. After about 7 months living together though, I realized that he ate way more of the meals we split than I did, so we recently had a discussion about creating a joint account where I put in 40% and he puts in 60%.
Should we have a joint money account?
It may not be something you need, but it’s a good idea to have in the back of your mind. I thought about it from the beginning, but it was never all that necessary. Now that we’re starting to make serious future plans, we are moving forward with creating a joint account for our joint expenses. I’m glad we waited though, because now that I’ve watched our expenses the last few months I have a better idea on how to set the account up.
Cooking and Cleaning
Will we eat meals together?
Scott and I eat most dinners together, a habit we formed when we lived together as friends previously, and sometimes I forget how much I love that habit. It’s really nice to have this designated time we spend together, we’re both pretty good about putting our phones away for it too. Life can get really hectic, but we always have dinner.
Will someone cook or do most of the cooking?
Are there any kind of expectations from either person here?
How will we decide who does what chore?
This one I’m still figuring out. If you have decided rent won’t be a 50/50 split, then maybe who ever is paying less can pick up more of the chores. Trust me though, it is very worth having a discussion about this and getting some expectations out in the open. Maybe a chore chart would work, or just designating certain chores for each other. Scott goes through periods of being much busier than I am, so it’s more on me to pick up the slack, but it’s really hard to keep up with it.
What’s your standard of living with cleanliness?
This ties into chore assignments. But if one person likes things squeaky clean, and the other doesn’t notice the mess, what will be the compromise there?
What time do you normally go to bed?
Scott and I go to bed around the same time, but I stay up a little later. He is fine with me being on my phone, but prefers my light to be out, which is fine by me. But if you have totally different sleeping schedules, this is a conversation worth having.
What time do you wake up?
Do one of you wake up much earlier than the other? Will this wake the other? Earplugs might be a good investment.
What is your morning routine?
If you have similar wake times and both prefer to shower in the morning, make sure your coordinate before it’s 7am and you both are sleepy and need to shower.
What are your TV watching schedules?
If you both have something you HAVE to watch Tuesdays nights, how will you come to a compromise on who gets TV control?
Are there any preferences or opinions on having guests over?
Do certain nights not work for you no matter what? Do you prefer a heads up of a couple hours, or days?
What if someone needs alone time?
Scott and I are both introverts, so we did discuss how to handle needing alone time. We agreed to just take it when we need it, and to not be hurt if the other person requests it. So far, it’s worked out totally fine because we already had that understanding to start off with.
How often should we make sure we go on a date?
I’ll be honest, Scott and I aren’t that great about making sure we have date nights. But between being homebodies, busy, and having our regular dinners every night together, it isn’t as necessary for us. But what are you comfortable with? If you’re unable to have regular dinners together, do you want to make sure you have a regular date night once a week, every two weeks, once a month, etc.?
Pet peeves about each other?
If you’ve spent time at each other’s places then I’m sure you can name a few. This is a touchy question, but moving in together means you’re going to be around each other A LOT, so if something really gets under your skin, you might want to bring it up. If you’re boyfriend burps a lot when you visit his place, be prepared for 10X more of this (learned from experience, sorry Scott.) Also, be prepared if your s/o has something to bring up!
How should we handle getting into fights
If you’ve been together a while, you probably have a good idea on how you two fight and resolve your conflicts. But, being in a shared space can intensify things a bit, so might be wise to devise some kind of game plan. If you’re someone who needs space after getting into a heated argument, make sure you’re clear about that.
Trust me, fights will happen. They will happen about the stupidest of things just because you now will be living together. After a bad day at work, the littlest thing might set you off. It can be easy to take things out on your significant other when you live together. Talking about this kind of stuff ahead of time can help stop it in its tracks, or help to resolve things a bit more easily. But don’t go into living together thinking “we won’t be that couple” because every couple is that couple.
What are the sexpectations for when you live together?
This was something that I was nervous about. I worried that all of the sudden it would be expected of me to have sex every single night just because we lived together. Which realistically, would probably never be the case for me. So, I talked to Scott about it. He laughed, because he knew it was unrealistic as well. We talked about how many nights a week would work for each other. I’ve never once had my previous worries realized.
Things that make you nervous about moving in together?
Get those little nerves and anxieties out in the open! They’re much easier to deal with that way. Perhaps your significant other will laugh and you’ll realize just how ridiculous it was for you to worry, or you’ll talk through it, and come up with a way for you to feel less nervous.
Straight up, I was most nervous about sex and the bathroom. Yep. Putting this on the internet. But, it’s true! In nearly all my living situations I had my own bathroom, so the nerves were real. We talked about both things, a bunch of times, before the move in date. It helped SO much in easing my nerves, and I highly recommend doing that. Besides, if you have these worries and you can’t bring them up to your significant other, it might be too soon to move in together.