So, you’re taking your relationship to the next level and moving in together. Proposing is easy compared to this momentus step in your relationship! Many couples view moving in together differently, so it’s important to know the ground rules of moving in to avoid future problems or coming home and finding your belongings on the street.
The biggest question to be prepared for is “What is the relationship level after moving in together?”. Where is this change in relationship leading the both of you? Engagement? Marriage? Don't be scared...this is your new reality. The key is being prepared and having a well thought out plan!
It's time to get real and take your hopeless romantic hat off for 5 minutes so that you can answer some questions that will eventually determine this big question: to live together or not to live together?
Rent: Will the rent be a 50/50 split? Does the person with the higher income pay a proportional amount or the whole bill?
Does the rental lease need to be adjusted to include both of your names?
Who is legally liable for the rental lease?
Mortgage: Will the property title be changed to include both of your names? Will the both of you be paying the mortgage (which involves it’s own series of ownership questions should there be a breakup or serious injury)?
Who does the shopping?
Who pays for the groceries?
Who gets to eat the last Oreo cookie?
Who’s responsible for the grocery list to make sure you don’t run out of maple syrup when preparing a Sunday morning brunch for two?
Whose name will the bills be payable by?
Will the bills be a 50/50 split? Does the person with the higher income pay a proportional amount or the whole monthly utility bills?
Where will the laundry be kept before laundry day?
Who will do the laundry or is each person responsible for their own?
“If you mess it up, you clean it up”, isn’t always going to work. Will you decide on a mutually agreeable cleaning day or will one person be responsible for the tidiness of the household?
One man’s organization is another woman’s mess, how will you decide who is right?
“A place for everything and everything in it’s place” is a good way to keep your place neat and tidy.
Home cooking: Who cooks? Who orders delivery food (and pays for it)?
Visits By Friends
You can’t have ‘quality time’ if you have an open door policy for drop-in friends, can you?
Decide and define who, when and how often friends can come over. Remember to keep some time for just the two of you.
Whose going to be responsible for the dog’s messes, the cat’s litter box?
Feeding and walking are also regular chores that may be easily agreeable to share but can become an inconvenience later on. Be sure to decide clearly the pet responsibilities.
Are kids involved? There can only be one disciplinarian even both of you will have parental responsibilities. Be sure to be very clear how the kids should be handled or you’ll be guaranteed to have trouble.
Individual vs Combined Property
If the relationship breaks up do you leave with what you entered with? What about purchases made together? An early agreement in this very touchy subject can hopefully avoid legal hassles later.
Dizzy yet? Moving in together is a big step in any relationship so make sure you think these important things through. It's also important to start your new adventure off with a positive start so hire a great moving company ;)