How Soon is Too Soon? 15 Questions to Ask Before Moving In
It’s probably time to change the old nursery rhyme—first comes love, then comes...moving in together! More and more couples are deciding to shack up, and it’s a super exciting step. If you’re considering moving in with your partner, it’s important to be on the same page about a number of factors, from finances to future goals.
No matter how long you’ve been together, making the big move is a whole new ball game that has potential to make or break your relationship. Before signing the lease, take some time to evaluate your relationship up to this point. Have you practiced cohabitating already? You’re basically considered “lived together” if you’ve spent four or five nights a week together without going back and forth. If you’ve given yourselves a trial run, you probably have a better idea of whether or not you’ll get along in your new place.
Along these lines, what has your arguing been like? Have you gotten into any big fights yet? Even the happiest of couples are bound to fight, so if you haven’t worked through a big argument yet, it might not be time to share a living space. (You don’t want your first real fight to make you realize moving in together was a bad idea.)
To help you make your decision, here are 15 questions you and your partner should consider before moving in together:
1. What Is a Budget That Works for Both of Us?
Before jumping on Zillow, be sure to agree on a reasonable budget that works for both of you. How much rent can you realistically afford? Do you both have a secure means of income, or do things have the potential to change? Are you trying to save up to buy a house at some point?
Try not to think too far outside your means. It can be tempting to pick a place thinking, “ I’m sure we can make cut backs to afford it.” Not likely to happen! (And a quick way to get yourself into debt.) You should also be sure you’re familiar with each other’s spending habits and financial history (including credit scores) to make sure you’ll be able to keep up with payments.
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2. How Will Utilities Be Split?
Are you splitting them down the middle or will one of you pay more? What if an emergency pops up? Will both of you be on the lease? Sure, it’s not the sexiest topic to discuss with your future living mate, but it’s essential to have a solid financial plan in place to avoid conflict after you move in.
3. Where Do We Want to Live?
It’s all about location, right? Do you want a place smack in the middle of the downtown nightlife, or somewhere more secluded? It’s also important to think about how close you want to be to your office if you’re busy with work all the time, and how far apart you want to be from family members and friends.
4. What Type of Living Space Do We Want?
Are you into apartment living, or would you rather try a condo or townhome? Maybe a house for rent? Think about how big of a space you want and how many beds and bathrooms you need. You should also consider whether or not you want things like a balcony, patio, or backyard. Make a list of your “must haves” and the things you could do without.
5. How Will Tackle Chores?
It doesn’t sound like the most important question right now, but chores can cause a lot of fighting if you don’t have a plan. You could always split up who does what (maybe you do the dishes and they clean the bathrooms), or you can tackle them together whenever they pop up. It’s important to share your expectations with each other about how things will get taken care of.
6. Who Will Buy New Furniture?
Even if you have enough furniture between the two of you to get started, there may be a need for new furniture down the road. Maybe your current furniture will need an upgrade, or you’ll want to switch up the decor.
Either way, it’s important to decide how it is going to be purchased. Will you go in on it together? Or is one of you more capable of spending the money? How will you decide what furniture is necessary and what can wait?
7. How Will We Handle Conflict?
You are going to fight. It happens to every couple! How do you plan to deal with it when you don’t have your own place to escape to? The way you communicate and handle conflict are big indicators of whether or not your relationship can weather tough times, especially when living together.
You’ll need to make a loose, conflict “game plan.” Do you stay and work it out during an argument or is it okay for one of you to leave to clear your head? Set realistic boundaries and be open about your needs.
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8. Any Big Pet Peeves?
Everyone has pet peeves, and they have the potential to become extra annoying when you’re living with someone. Be honest with each other! What might set you off after move-in day? Dishes left in the sink? Clothes all over the floor? The AC set above a certain temperature? By airing out any potential grievances, you’ll save yourselves from a lot of bickering.
9. What Are the Living Space Deal-Breakers?
Think about what is crossing the line in terms of sharing a place together. Is it okay for friends to crash on the couch? Can family stop by unannounced if they want? What about working from home? How much alone time will each of you need? Take some time to think about what you consider to be “off-limits,” and make sure you’re on the same page about it.
10. Are Pets Allowed?
If one of you has a pet or you want to adopt one together, you’ll need to think about everything that comes with it, including who is in charge of cleaning up after it, whether it’s allowed on the furniture, and how vet costs or pet insurance will be covered. Most importantly, who will keep the pet if you break up? (Not that fun to think about, but it needs to be addressed!)
11. Why Do You Want to Move In Together?
You shouldn’t be moving in together for the wrong reasons. If you’re getting a ton of pressure from friends, family, or each other, it’s probably not the best idea to share a living space. It’s also not likely to last if you’re moving in for convenience reasons, rather than because you truly want to. You both need to be completely honest about why you want to move in together to make sure it will work out.
12. Where Do You See Us in the Future?
A lot of people view moving in together as a precursor to marriage, so the topic of your future together is bound to come up. This goes back to determining the reason you want to move in. Where do you see the two of you down the road? Is this a trial run before marriage or are you just “seeing where things go?” Either way, you’ll definitely need to be on the same page about future plans, since it can wreck your cohabitation if you’re not.
13. What Do You Consider a Successful Relationship?
Part of talking about where you see yourselves in the future is determining what a successful relationship looks like for both of you. You’ll need to check in with each other after moving in to make sure things are still on the right track. What does that look like? Are you spending healthy time apart? Are you willingly opening up to each other about everything? What does a healthy relationship look like in your eyes?
14. What Happens If End Things?
It’s a bit of a downer to think about, but you’ll need to have a plan for if things don’t work out. Will one of you immediately move out, or will you stick it out for a while in the same place? How will you divvy up shared assets? You don’t need to get into super specific details, but at least have an idea of what will happen if you happen to break up.
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15. Are You Truly Excited About Moving in Together?
This might be the most important question! Are you 100 percent psyched to find a place together? It’s normal to be a little nervous, but if you have full-blown anxiety or mixed feelings, then it might not be the right time to move forward. If your partner is being a bit standoffish or non-committal, it’s probably best to give them space and hold off until you’re on the same page.
When you’re considering moving in together, remember that it should feel right! If something feels off, take a step back and make sure your relationship is stable enough to take the next step. On the other hand, if you’ve answered all of these questions and are ready for matching keys, then happy moving!
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