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10 Questions You Should Ask Before Moving in Together

A person's fingers painted to look like a stick figure couple in love.
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Making the decision to move in with your significant other isn’t something to take lightly. My boyfriend and I moved in together almost a year ago, and while it’s ultimately been a good thing, it involved some decidedly not-so-sexy planning and difficult conversations that almost sent me running to a nunnery.

Here are 10 uncomfortable-but-necessary questions you need answers for before you sign that lease with your boo.

1. What is our ultimate goal of living together?

This is a difficult conversation to have, but it’s crucial. You need to know what both of you expect from this situation, whether it’s just to save money on rent, to get to know each other better and see where this goes, or to get started on the rest of your life together (potentially with a wedding or other commitment down the road).

If you aren’t on the same page, this could cause some serious issues, so this should be the very first question you should ask yourself and your partner.

2. Do either of us have any debt? 

Moving in together isn’t the same as getting married, and just because you’ll be sharing an address doesn’t mean you’ll be forced to share debt, but debt still matters. If you see a future with this person, it’s smart to get an idea of where they stand financially. Having debt isn’t a dealbreaker, but just be aware that a good chunk of their income is probably going to be spent paying that off every month.

3. What are our sources of income (and are they stable)? 

Hopefully, if you’re considering moving in together, both of you already have secure jobs and enough income to cover all of your expenses. You should also make sure that both you and your significant other (S.O.) have rainy day accounts, so if one of you happens to lose your job, all the stress doesn’t land on the other person.

4. How are we going to divide up the bills?

How you divide up rent and utilities is really up to the two of you. Although different couples divide bills in different ways, the most straightforward solution is to split expenses equally. That means when you’re looking for a new place, you need to pick something you can both afford to pay for.

5. Who is going to buy groceries?

Unless the two of you eat out all the time, you’ll be making regular trips to the grocery store for food, cleaning supplies, and other household items. You don’t want one of you to end up bearing the brunt of all the household expenses, so you should have a conversation and set up a plan for how much each of you are going to spend. Come up with a reasonable budget for all of your needs, then divide it up based on your respective incomes and other expenses.

6. Who’s going to do what around the house? 

If you are the better cook, then perhaps your partner can help out by doing the dishes. If you like your clothes washed a specific way and your partner does as well, maybe each of you should stick to doing your own laundry. For every chore inside and outside the home, work out who is going to do it, so it doesn’t turn into a fight.

For example, my boyfriend and I share a house with a huge back and front yard and a garden. Before we moved in together, we decided that I am responsible for most of the inside chores while my boyfriend does most of the outside chores. That system works wonderfully for us.

7. Are we going to have a joint checking account?

If you’re not married and not planning to get married in the near future, you may want to maintain some of your privacy when it comes to your finances. Yet, having a joint checking account can make paying bills much easier since you only have to worry about drawing money out of a single account.

Work out a solution based on what you are both comfortable with. If you aren’t comfortable sharing your accounts yet, you can maintain your own checking and savings accounts in addition to the joint one. If you want, you can go all-in and totally combine finances. Whatever you choose, make sure you know the benefits and the drawbacks before heading to the bank.

8. Do we have a similar living style? 

If one of you is a neat freak and the other can go six months without changing the sheets on the bed, it can cause a rift in your relationship. One of you will probably start picking up slack for the other and you could end up developing some resentment towards them because you feel like you’re always cleaning up after them. Having different living styles isn’t a deal breaker, but you need to discuss these things first so you can reach a peaceful compromise before any issues arise.

9. What are our expectations of one another?

What do you want a typical day to look like at your house? If you’re ready to move in with your S.O., you may not want to go out and party almost every single night. So, you need to talk to them about your expectations, and also ask them what their expectations are of you. For example, if you work in the town you live in, but your S.O. commutes an hour each way, your S.O. may expect you to be the one to wait for the AC repair guy.

10. What would happen to the apartment/house if we were to break up? 

It’s not something you want to think or talk about when you’re about to take this next step in your relationship together, but you need to talk about it. Who keeps the apartment? Would you both want to leave? Settle it now, and you’ll thank yourself later, both emotionally and financially, if the worst should happen.

Last modified on November 9th, 2016

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