Moving in with your partner is a significant milestone in any relationship, marking a new chapter of shared experiences, challenges, and growth. It’s a decision that holds both excitement and the potential for transformation. The prospect of creating a harmonious and loving home together can be exhilarating, but it also requires careful consideration and open communication. From aligning on values and priorities to establishing a solid foundation of trust and understanding, moving in with your partner is a journey that demands thoughtfulness, compromise, and a shared vision for the future. Whether you and your partner are looking to move to an apartment in Austin, TX, or purchase your first home in Spokane, WA, on Redfin, we will explore professional insights to help navigate this new life transition.
1. Talk about the reasons you want to move in together
Open and honest communication about wanting to move in together is essential for a successful relationship. It allows both partners to express their desires, expectations, and concerns in order to create a solid living arrangement.
“It’s important to talk about the reasons you want to move in together. Is the driving force behind finding a place together to pay one rent or mortgage instead of two, or are you already spending so much time at one or the other’s space that the next logical step is to move in together,” shares Mac Stanely Cazeau of Therapy is For Everyone.
“If you want to find the perfect place with your partner, you both need to sit down and have a chat to know what you both want. It is also helpful to go a little deeper in your explanation. While at first glance, you may have a different point of view and want to dismiss your partner’s ideas. If you listen long enough, it will make sense why their preference is so important,” adds Rabbi Shlomo Slatkin of The Marriage Restoration Project.
2. Make sure you have a clear why
Having a clear reason for wanting to move in together is important as it helps ensure both partners are on the same page and have aligned goals.
Dr. Juliana Hauser notes, “Make sure to be clear about why you are wanting to make this progression in your relationship and your current intentions for taking this step. Moving in together changes the relationship dynamic. Have a plan for support as your relationship progresses.”
3. Figure out what your top priorities are
Figuring out your top priorities is important as it helps you identify and align your values and goals with your partner. It allows for effective decision-making, compromise, and a better understanding of each other’s needs.
Persia Lawson says, “One of the most important things to consider when buying a property with your partner is what each of your top priorities are – which you’re flexible on and which are non-negotiables. For example, does one or both of you need to be within a commutable distance to work? Would you prefer a period home or a new build? Is it important that the property has outside space? There will, of course, always need to be some level of compromise for both of you.”
4. Practice good communication skills
Practicing good communication skills is essential in any relationship, including when living together.
“Making any decision as partners, especially buying a home, requires good communication, notes Nancy Landrum, MA, Author, Relationship Coach, and Creator of The Millionaire Marriage Club. “Both must be truthful at the beginning to state clearly what is important to each. Take turns sharing your wants, your financial contribution to the project, and listen to your partner’s needs and wants before finding a solution that meets most of each person’s needs.”
Couples app Flamme App shares, “When looking for the perfect place with your partner, open and honest communication is key. Start by discussing your preferences, needs, and priorities for the living space. Ask each other questions about must-have amenities, desired location, and budgetary constraints. Consider creating a shared budget and discussing how to split rent and expenses fairly.”
“If you are starting a life together, you will need to learn how to communicate respectfully and when to compromise. Consider this when one of you falls in love with a place, and the other one hates it. How can you find a space that represents both of your needs? Where can you meet the other person halfway,” adds Dr. Paulette Sherman, relationship expert, author of, ‘Dating from the Inside Out,’ and the host of ‘The Love Psychologist,’ podcast.
5. Approach the situation with curiosity to find the core value
Aligning core values is vital as it lays the foundation for shared beliefs, priorities, and a common direction in life.
“When differences do come up, we encourage you to slow down and ask why is this so important you,” remarks Susan at Thrive Inc. “Remember this is a person you love or care about, and when something they want is very different than what you want, it’s not about compromising or settling. It’s more important to get to the underlying core value and talk about that. Using curiosity opens the space for a new possibility, greater intimacy, and clarity.”
6. Set aside time to brainstorm
Consider brainstorming together when making joint decisions about moving in together as it encourages collaborative problem-solving and fosters a sense of shared ownership in the process.
“Set aside time together for some brainstorming and dreaming. Get aligned on your core features and must-haves in a home, and make two separate lists with your individual preferences, desires, and nice-to-haves,” shares Cora Boyd, Dating-Relationship Expert. “Once you’ve identified your mutual must-haves and your separate nice-to-haves, you can use this as the guidelines for the homes you tour together.”
7. Ask what your non-negotiables are
Specifying your non-negotiables is important when considering moving in together as it helps establish boundaries and ensures that your fundamental needs and values are respected.
Rich Heller, founder of Rich in Relationship, says, “From a place of vulnerability, start your home selection journey by asking, ‘What are the non-negotiables for each of us in our new home, and why do these matter so much?’ This question allows you to delve into open and honest conversations about what you each value in a home, revealing deeper values and desires.”
8. Paint a clear financial picture
Painting a clear financial picture allows both partners to have a comprehensive understanding of the financial responsibilities, commitments, and expectations, ensuring effective planning for shared expenses and financial goals.
“You both need to have a clear financial picture that includes what resources you each have available in order to cover the costs of moving, paying deposits, other essentials needed for the actual move, and ongoing expenditures like rent, utilities, credit card payments, car payments, etc. Each of you needs to know what you will be bringing in monthly in relation to the total amount of monthly debt obligations. It is essential to decide upfront what each of you will be contributing to the monthly expenses and know ahead of time if that is going to be a 50/50 split or some other arrangement that works for both of you,” recommends Shannon Cyr, The Relationship Coach for Men.
9. Figure out your ideal layout and square footage
Figuring out an ideal layout and square footage helps ensure that the living space meets the needs and preferences of both partners.
Heather Dugan, author of The Friendship Upgrade and a wellness & engagement coach, notes, “Consider how well the defined spaces will fit your unique needs. Do you want to encourage overnight guests or fall back on the ‘no extra room —sorry’ excuse? And while merging your lives into one beautifully appointed, amenity-rich rental can be thrilling, the long-term health of your relationship will be enhanced by preserving some degree of personal space for recharging and maintaining the individuality that first drew you to one another.”
10. Recognize the three roles of your relationship
Rebecca Mullen Coaching notes, “There are 3 roles inside your relationship: partner, lover, and friend. When you’re choosing your apartment, it’s tempting to fantasize about all the exchanges in the home you’ll now share. You’ll want to be friends in your new home, sharing stories about the kind of day you had. But picking your first apartment together means you’re entering into the partnership of your relationship where you’ll help each other. Partners pay bills and clean toilets.”
11. Remember, your home needs to shelter you as a person and as a couple
Having personal space in your home is important as it allows each individual to have a sense of privacy, independence, and a space to unwind.
“When making the decision to find your perfect place with your partner, it’s important to remember that your home needs to shelter both you as a couple and each person in meaningful ways because it can affect the course of your relationship. Have open and honest conversations about your expectations, preferences, concerns, and how you desire to feel in your home by talking about matters such as geographical location, outside and inside home style, finances and budgets, household responsibilities, routines, habits, personal space, and long-term goals,” shares Teresha Young, Relationship Master Coach.
12. Consider establishing a joint bank account
Establishing a joint bank account is important when moving in together as it encourages collaboration in managing finances, creating a sense of financial unity and accountability within the relationship.
“Once you’re living together, I recommend having a joint bank account to cover your joint expenses, including rent,” recommends Couples Financial Coach.
13. Divvy up tasks and chores
“It’s smart to sit down together before moving in and identify who is responsible for what routine task and chore,” remarks Washington, DC-based Licensed Psychologist Angela Snyder, Psy.D. “You will likely find that each of you has preferences for what’s tolerable that help make these decisions easier. For example, one person’s hatred of folding laundry might be soothing and enjoyable to their partner, while another’s anxiety about sorting and shredding mail is found satisfying by the other.
When you encounter tasks that neither of you likes, she recommends creating an experimental plan of who does what for a month or two. Then check in with each other to reevaluate how effective and sustainable this strategy is along with how you’re each feeling about it.”
14. Be proactive and consider a counselor before the move
Considering a counselor before moving in together is important as it provides an opportunity for both partners to address any unresolved issues, enhance communication skills, and strengthen the foundation of their relationship.
“The biggest advice I would give couples who are moving into a new home together would be to be proactive and consider seeing a couples counselor together before you make the move. A counselor or therapist can help even healthy and happy couples build conflict resolution skills, learn how to compromise effectively, and navigate tricky conversations like finances. Plus, a professional can help you troubleshoot unforeseen issues when they inevitably come up,” says Theresa Benoit, LMFT, owner of The Relationship Therapy Center.
15. Don’t forget, honesty is key
Being honest with each other about the move is important as it establishes trust, enables open communication, and allows both partners to express their feelings, concerns, and expectations.
Jaime Bronstein, Licensed Relationship Therapist and Author of “MAN*ifesting shares, “Honesty is key. Be truthful with one another about what you’re looking for. Establish your personal and shared priorities for your home. Be patient, and don’t settle. Trust that you will find the right place at the right time, just like how you found each other.”