Moving in as a couple is a major step in any relationship. Many feel that it is ultimately the best way to get to know a person inside and out. Living together definitely has its perks. You get the pleasure of seeing each other more, creating more memories, and you’ll save a lot of money. Before taking your relationship to the next level, however, there are some things you two want to iron out first. The following is a list of things you definitely want to do before moving in together.

Do it For the Right Reasons

A common reason that couples move in together is convenience and financial savings. Sure, having someone to help with everything from the household chores to the bills can be beneficial, but if that’s the only reason you’re moving in together, it could present a problem down the road.

If the two of you aren’t mentally ready to live under the same roof, no amount of convenience in the world can save the relationship. You begin to depend on each other for those conveniences and essentially feel trapped and miserable.

Make sure that if you’re going to do this, it’s for the right reasons. The two of you should love each other, have spent some time together dating, and developed a strong friendship that will get you through the common challenges of taking up together.

Tuck Money for a Rainy Day

You aren’t taking this step in your relationship with the hopes that it will fail, however, living together is a whole new dynamic and things may not work out. If things don’t work out, essentially, you have to be able to survive on your own.

Some people make the mistake of becoming so reliant on their partners that if things don’t work out, they have nothing of their own. They struggle financially and otherwise to get back on solid ground.

Do yourself a favor and make sure that you have saved at least 3 months’ worth of income in a rainy day fund. This way, should things go sour, you don’t have to feel obligated to stay nor do you have to struggle once you leave.

Decide on Living Arrangements

You should have a conversation about your living arrangements. Will you be moving into your place, their place, or looking at house plans, houses for sale, apartment complexes, or condos for a place that will be both of yours? Who’s name will go on the lease or deed? What happens to the property if the two of you don’t work out?

Failing to ask these questions in advance could lead to trouble down the road. From filing taxes to a bad breakup you need to have a clear understanding as to who is responsible for the property.

Household Budget

Merging finances is one of the biggest challenges of moving in together. You have to feel comfortable enough with your partner to share the responsibility of the household bills. You also have to be able to afford your share of the monthly expenses while still taking care of your personal finances. So, before you move in together or begin looking for places, decide on a household budget. How much can the two of you afford? Who will be responsible for what bills? What system will you use to pay these bills?

Introduce Children and/or Pets

If you’re in a relationship where children and/or pets are involved you want to introduce them to your partner prior to moving in together. It can be a world of confusion if children or pets don’t feel comfortable around your partner and can have a negative impact on your relationship. Start spending more time together as a family so everyone can get used to being around one another.

Take a Trip

Before you decide to move in together as a couple, you should take at least one week-long trip with each other. A weekend getaway may have felt blissful but being in the same space with a person for a week can give you an idea of what it would be like to live with them. If you can’t manage to get through the vacation without some drama, perhaps you should hold off on moving in for a while.

When you’re involved in a serious, committed relationship, it’s only a matter of time before the topic of living together comes up. Before getting caught up in the romance and convenience of it all, make sure that you two are really ready. Discuss everything from living arrangements and budgets to kids and pets before taking this next step in your relationship. In doing so, you create a healthier environment where your relationship can blossom naturally.

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