There are several milestones in a relationship, and one of the most significant ones is finding an apartment and moving in together. It is a big deal, and it is crucial to do it right! You may have a pretty romanticized image of what life together will look like. The two of you cuddled in front of the TV on your cozy sofa, under a blanket, sipping hot chocolate. But unfortunately, it’s not all rainbows and roses, takeout dinners, and your favorite show in the evening. So, it’s wise to learn about the common mistakes to avoid when moving in together.
This will likely be the first time you start talking about finances. As we all know, money is a fertile ground for trouble. While you were just dating, your worst money-related argument might have been about who would pick up the check at a restaurant or who would pay for the takeout. But moving in together entails a whole other financial discussion. It involves merging the funds one way or another. So, money-related mistakes to avoid when moving in together are an entire category of potential issues. We will go over the most serious ones, covering four of our seven common pain points.
Not Being Honest About Your Financial Situation
Every stable and strong relationship lies on the solid foundation of good communication. Once you start living together, your debts, loans, not-so-great credit score, and other financial troubles become mutual. So, you must discuss the situation and figure out ways to deal with them.
Not Agreeing on the How To Share Expenses
You need to agree on how you will share the expenses. If you make approximately the same amount, splitting the costs 50-50 is the best and easiest way to go. But if there is an evident discrepancy, you may want to develop an arrangement that is fairer and works for both parties. Some couples decide that one will pay for rent and the other for bills or food. Others prefer to share all the expenses equally or at a particular ratio.
Whatever you do, make sure you discuss this openly and honestly before you move in together.
Having a Joint Account
This is a big no-no. While living together means sharing a lot of stuff, it doesn’t mean sharing absolutely everything. Remember, you are still entitled to your privacy, and you don’t need to, nor should you, share your bank accounts. Joint accounts are for married couples. Consider the possibility that you have a nasty break-up, and one of you drains the account in anger.
However, you can get a joint account but use it only for shared expenses, such as utilities, vacations, entertainment, food, etc.
While finances are a significant issue, make sure you don’t count every penny as that can cause resentment. Also, living together is like a preview of marriage. So, make sure you do what feels right. If you decide to keep your accounts separate, that’s fine. There is no need to keep track of every petty spending your significant other does.
Not Consolidating Your Belongings
It’s likely you both come with your own sets of furniture, appliances, dishes, towels, etc. It doesn’t make sense to cram all of that into one apartment. The experts at bestmovers.nyc advise that the best solution is renting a storage unit until you decide whether you will even need those items again. But if renting a storage unit is an expense you are not willing to take on, it’s time to make some cuts.
Therefore, sit and decide what you will sell, donate, or discard. And even if you choose to place some of the stuff in storage, you need to agree on which. And make sure you start with the bulkiest items, such as sofas, beds, coffee tables, etc. Then proceed onto the duplicates, such as cookware, blenders, microwaves, and TVs. That is how you can combine two apartments into one.
Not Dividing the Housework
One of the mistakes to avoid when moving in together is not dividing the chores. So, have that conversation before you take this big step or at least very early into your life together.
Housework is a considerable part of life, unfortunately, and not the most pleasant one. So, it’s not really fair for all of it to fall on one person’s back. Thus, decide who will wash the dishes and who will vacuum. Who cooks when, and who does the shopping? Perhaps arguments about these things are not the most serious ones, but they have the power to turn into something ugly as they breed resentment and dissatisfaction.
You can create a chore schedule. Or if you don’t want anything so strict, discuss your housework preferences. Perhaps you hate vacuuming, but your partner doesn’t mind. So you can handle laundry, which, coincidentally, your partner despises. Compromise is everything. But in order to compromise, you have to communicate.
And if there is no finding common ground, if you are a neat freak but your partner is a messy type, take the easy way out – hire a cleaning service.
Being Together All the Time
Living together doesn’t mean you have to spend every waking hour together. You will drive each other crazy. It’s healthy and necessary to do things separately. So, go out, have a hobby, meet friends. Of course, you will do this together as well, but don’t forget to have your own life too.
If you want to have a healthy relationship, you have to give each other space. Otherwise, your relationship may feel suffocating, and you may start losing yourself in it.
So, now that you know what mistakes to avoid when moving in together, it’s time to do it. Joan Brothers of Manhattan Boutique Real Estate said “We always tell clients it is important to hear what your partner has to say and make decisions and compromises together- that is a challenge when you do it for the first time!”
To put a bow on everything, go to the furniture shop together and buy a piece that you will pick and pay for together. Or get a set of new glasses, a couple of coffee mugs, anything that will symbolize the start of your new life together. No matter how small, this item you picked together will help you turn your apartment into a serene home and make it feel like a shared space.