What to Consider When It’s Time to Cohabitate

published Jul 18, 2017

The prospect of moving in together opens up a lot of questions. How soon is too soon? Who should pay for the new couch? Whose spaghetti strainer should we keep and whose do we toss? There are a million things to consider when putting both of your names on the mailbox for the first time.

We rounded up a panel of seasoned cohabitators to share their moving-in stories and helpful cohabitating tips. Use their advice once you get the keys, but when it comes to finances, property features, and scary words like landlord, make sure you check out this guide to the most important things to know and do before moving in together.

1. See the space together

If you’re working on a tight timeline (and who isn’t?), it can be tempting to divide and conquer when it’s time to look for a new place. It can also be a big mistake. Plan to divvy up apartment showings if you need to, but make sure you both visit the space together before signing a lease. Though you may love a building’s close proximity to the train, the constant transit noise may be your partner’s nightmare. They may need four closets and central air, when all you may need is a set of drawers and a fan. Sometimes, you don’t know what you do or don’t want until you see it.

2. Purge before you merge

Make sure there’s enough storage in your new space and discuss what to get rid of and what to keep before packing it all up and moving it to your new place. If you want to be really precise, measure the cubic area of you and your mate’s existing closets and pantries, add it up, and compare it to the volume of storage space in the new place you’re considering.

3. Make a financial plan

Decide how you’ll pay utility bills, buy furniture, etc., before you sign a lease. Or, opt for a rental that has utilities included to help your budget. This helps prevent any last-minute misunderstandings or missed payments. When you’re looking at places, ask what utilities are or are not included in the rent and discuss other “hidden” costs like move-in fees, so everyone’s on the same page.

4. Share a to-do list

Use an interactive moving checklist or a note-taking app that lets you share updates in realtime to make a list of everything you need to do before, during, and after move-in. Include tasks like scheduling an appointment for internet installation and following up with past landlords on your security deposit refund. This way you can assign tasks and check them off as they’re completed so nothing falls through the cracks.

5. Enjoy!

Before your move, talk about what you love doing best together. Watching movies? DIY projects? Working on a balcony container garden? Don’t ignore those favorites when you’re looking for a new place. Instead, make it a priority to find a space that will help you maximize your time spent doing the things you love together.

(Image credit: ForRent)

This post is sponsored by ForRent.com and was created by Apartment Therapy’s Creative Studio.
Thank you for supporting the brands that make Apartment Therapy possible.