Moving in together for the first time is a serious step in any relationship.
Whether you’re buying or renting, here are our tips for finding the perfect home moving in together and making it a smooth transition.
1. Nut out the numbers (money)
In real estate it often comes down to the money.
Mixing love and money can be risky, so budget should be your very first discussion: who will pay what? What savings will you both contribute? How will you document it? Will you both be on the lease or mortgage and why? What will you do if you hit a financial snag or unforeseen event – like illness, injury, change of market conditions, break up, or job loss?
Make sure you have factored in the cost of living as well as the rent or mortgage: bills, utilities, food, transport, health, expenses and spending. How much can you really afford to pay? And the all important real estate question: What will it buy you?
A dose of real estate realism is essential at this stage of your planning.
2. Draw up a checklist of where you both want to live
You’ll need to work out what your joint vision of the perfect home looks like to you – and you should do this together. This may mean compromising on your own individual property dreams and ideas.
Ask yourselves: Where do you want to live? What kind of property? Do you each have a different wish list or do you both agree? What are your must haves? What is not negotiable?
For instance, he wants a garage or shed for his bikes and a short walk to the beach; she wants peace and quiet and a decent kitchen; he wants two bathrooms; she wants cafes at the end of the street.
See if you can create a checklist together of 3-5 essential features to look for in your property search, but be prepared to be flexible. The perfect property rarely ticks all the boxes.
3. Negotiate the moving in together
Effective negotiation isn’t just a good tool for relationships – it’s essential in real estate too.
And one man’s trash is another man’s treasure. In property terms, the “perfect” property means different things to different people.
It’s highly likely you’ll have some differences of opinion in what you like and dislike when you’re looking online or at open homes.
Work out what your deal breakers are, and be prepared to negotiate on the things that are not crucial to you. But don’t overcompensate by compromising on everything to make your partner happy – you both need to be happy to create a happy home together.
4. Take a step back and reassess the future together
It’s exciting to plan a future together, but before you take the financial and emotional plunge, take a step back and reassess. Ask yourself:
- Are you ready to make this move?
- Is it the right time for you – financially, and in terms of your relationship?
- How are you currently living? Does it need to change?
- What works and what doesn’t about the property and location?
- And, finally, will buying or renting a property together enhance your relationship and lifestyle or put a strain on it?
Regardless of how long you’ve been together, don’t be afraid to test the waters with a trial period before you make the final commitment. And make sure you talk about keeping the lines of communication open to resolve any issues or differences of opinion before they get out of hand.
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