Monday, 26 March 2018

10 Questions to ask before you move in together

Moving in with a partner can be as exciting as it is daunting. You will both have expectations of what living with your boyfriend/girlfriend is going to be like, different experiences of family homes whilst growing up, and different habits that you display within the home, which aren't always as positive as we would like to think. At the same time you are about to get a space you can truly call your own, with one of your favourite people by your side there every day. Having moved in with my partner in October, there are a lot of things we discussed prior to moving in together, and a lot of things that we probably should have discussed which have come out in petty arguments since!

  1. Will we be renting or buying?
    Buying was not a realistic option for us when we moved in together as we both had too much debt to consider getting a mortgage, let alone getting a deposit together. What we should have discussed is when would we like to buy? so that we could put a plan together for that. 

  2. How long will we be renting for? / Do we need furnished?
    Furnishing an entire property can add a few thousand pounds to renting, but also opens up your options of where you are looking, and how much you are paying. Have a think about how long you are going to be in the property and if it is worth getting furniture for that amount of time. I want to move across the country within the next 2 years, so a 12-month lease that came furnished allowed us that flexibility. 

  3. Where are we going to live?
    With many people this is a straight-forward answer, however neither me or my partner have any ties to the city we live in, or know many people in the area, so we were pretty flexible with where we were going to look for houses, but still had to consider things like my commute to work, accessibility for public transport, and distance to our parents home (I like to be no more than 90 minutes drive from my home town). We also had to consider the area of the city and neighbourhood. 

  4. Do we have any requirements (pets/parking etc)
    I was very insistent that wherever we moved had a garden, a bath,  parking for my car, and would accept my pets. Other than these things I didn't care if I lived in a shed or a mansion. It is likely that you and your partner have different ideas about what you are looking for in your new home, so make sure that you have a list of features your new place "has to have" before arranging any viewings.

  5. What kind of place?
    This is where you get to consider whether you really wouldn't mind  if you ended up in a shed or a mansion. I think both me and my partner both knew deep down  that we wanted a house rather than a flat or shared accommodation, but in the end this wasn't one of our main concerns when looking. 

  6. How much space? How will we divide this?
    I have learned from my mistakes in the past, and am well aware that I need copious amounts of space to put my copious amounts of stuff. When living in a house share I burst out of my room and into the communal living area with all of my belongings just because I needed storage. I knew what I needed for my belongings, and knew that I wanted space to grow into my environment. We essentially needed at least one spare room just for me.

  7. How are we going to split the cost?
    Moving house is expensive. The deposit and first months rent alone can be more than the average annual salary, and that is without considering any estate agent fees, or 'basics' that you may need for the house. Knowing who is paying for what before committing to moving or signing papers can really help prevent any arguments at this stage, and help you negotiate who gets what back at the end of the tenancy.

  8. How do we split bills? Will it be a 50/50 split, or will one of you be paying more towards this than the other? this can be an important question to ask before moving in, and it is worth thinking about how the dates of the bills work alongside your paydays and whether this will impact your ability to contribute (It is worth noting that most direct debits can be moved if you contact the company). You should also consider the "hidden bills" such as food, toiletries and cleaning products for the home, Netflix and broadband subscriptions, or insurances which will be bought for you both to benefit from.
  9. Who will cook? Clean? Take the bins out? Splitting the chores is usually one of the top causes of arguments in any shared house, and just because you may be moving in with the love of your life it will be no different. It is worth having a conversation about what level of clean you expect the house to be kept in and which jobs you agree to do before you move in, but also expect negotiations along the way. There may also have to be times where the 50/50 split is more like a 90/10, but that's just part of human relationships.
  10. What is your routine?Whether you work completely different hours, one of you works away, or simply one of you is a morning person whilst the other is a night owl, knowing each others routine is important before you move in. This prevents arguments about the simple things like when you want to go to bed, take a two-hour bath and binge watch friends, have some "you time", or even have the girls over. Plus, you can use your routines to schedule some time together each week and plan activities.
Since moving in with my boyfriend I have found making compromise to some of my routines has been tough, and we have had our fair share of arguments (mostly about things I find stupid) along the way I wouldn't change the last few months of my life for anything. Getting it right can be tough, but with a little conversation about the important things it can definitely be worth every second. 


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