Moving to a new house, apartment or condo can be very stressful. With every move comes planning, coordination, meetings with lawyers and the manual labor of setting up and moving furniture.
When you move in with a significant other for the first time, this stress can double, as you are combining two home’s worth of belongings into one and learning to share a space with a significant other for the first time. But for every discussion about whose coffee pot stays and whose gets put on the curb, there are many more exciting memories to be made, like hanging photos of vacations you take together and learning how to decorate as a couple.
Here are a few tips to make your first home together a stress-free one.
Decide your budget before you start looking
Real Estate and home design television shows make it easy to believe that every home you see will have a gourmet kitchen, open-concept floor plan and a newly-renovated master suite, but that is very rarely the case unless you have a seven-figure budget.
To avoid falling in love with a home you cannot afford, you and your partner should discuss finances, bills, debts and credit scores and determine an iron-clad budget before you look at any listings. This way, you can avoid stretching your budget too thin or racking up any credit card debt.
Pick out neighborhoods together
Another decision to make before looking at listings is to choose a neighborhood or two (or three) that you two want to live in.
When narrowing down desired areas, it is important to factor in taxes, commute times to work, average prices of listings in each area and local amenities and more. Once you have weighed the pros and cons of each and settled on a location, the real fun of house hunting can begin.
Give each other alone time (and space)
After you and your significant other find your first place together, you will experience the changes, perks and downsides of living with a partner. While this will be a mostly happy time in your relationship, there will be times when you want to spend quality time with yourself. In these instances, it is important to have a space that you feel belongs to you as an individual, and is not a shared space.
Carving out a corner to turn into a reading nook or setting up a home office where you can relax is beneficial to both you and your partner, because it encourages individuality and promotes a healthy balance in your relationship.
Eat one meal together every day
Most millennials working long hours, and many more have unpredictable or varying schedules, making it more difficult than ever for couples to spend quality time together at home (and no, sleeping doesn’t count).
Encourage spending quality time together by browsing kitchen or dining room tables so you find one that you both love and commit to eating one meal together at it daily. This will foster a positive environment for genuine, face-to-face communication, promote healthy eating habits, and solidify one of your first family traditions.
Divide up chores evenly
The worst part about living with another person is that two people means twice the amount of clean up. There are two sets of dishes to clean after every meal, toothpaste has to be replaced twice as often, and laundry piles up faster than you can believe. These are some of the reasons to discuss household chores as soon as you move in together, and set up a system of how (and by whom) they will be completed.
If you hate taking out the trash but do not mind cleaning the bathroom, vocalize your preferences and be open to completing dirty jobs if your partner has an extreme aversion to some.