Moving in with someone is a big decision and if you aren’t ready for, it can mess up even the best of relationships. Here’s a good checklist for you and your partner to go through before signing that joint lease. Articulate at least one reason besides convenience and finances to move in together. ● It sounds small but having a reason beyond convenience is very important. You should be moving in because you and your partner want to foster another level of intimacy in your relationship, because you’re ready to share even more of your lives with each other. Save enough money for three months’ rent. ● This is both a standard good practice, and also security in case something goes wrong. We all want to believe the best, but it’s better have have a backup plan to prevent anyone from being hurt or left out in the cold. Reach an agreement on how rent/mortgage and household expenses will be split. ● I know first hand how difficult it can be to talk about money, but it’s crucially important. You both need to know and agree how you’re going to divide expenses and have a clear plan going forward. Discuss your financial situations in detail. ● As before, this is important specifically because it’s hard. Money so often gets wrapped up in emotion and becomes a point of uncomfortable defensiveness when it doesn’t have to be. Being open and honest and coming to a mutual understanding is incredibly rewarding as well as practical. Take the time, however much you and your partner need. Be in agreement about potential future steps in your relationship, like marriage and kids, and when you'd like for those to happen. ● Nothing is going to be more awkward or unpleasant than one person dreaming of white picket fences and cradles while the other person is only dreaming of you mini-vacation next month. Being on the same page and the process to get there is an important step in your relationship. Discuss how household chores will be divvied up. ● Just like dividing your financial responsibilities, dividing household chores is just an important. Maybe one of your really hates vacuuming, while the other can’t stand mopping. Before moving in is the perfect time to decide who’s in charge of what and how you want your living space to be. Clean out your closets and get rid of all the crap you no longer want or need. ● There is no reason to drag unnecessary baggage from one attic to another, and moving is always the perfect opportunity to de-clutter! Celebrate a one-year anniversary together. ● Now this one I will agree is debatable. Sometimes true love finds you and if you’ve completed the rest of the checklist successfully go with your heart and your gut. As a rule of thumb though, waiting at least a year before moving in is a safe bet. Go on a trip together. For several nights. Preferably one that requires a flight or two or a long time together in a small, confined space, like a car. ● Have an idea of what you’re getting into. Spending time with someone is very different than living with them, even if that’s only for a week or two. Be comfortable doing all your private bathroom activities in each other's homes. ● If it doesn’t feel like home, and you can’t get yourself to a place where you’re comfortable enough to think of it as a home away from home, that’s a sign that something else is going on with you. Spend a whole week together. ● This doesn’t necessarily have to be a trip somewhere, it can be as simple as a stay-cation in one of your homes, just something so you have an idea of who your partner is when they let their hair down. Negotiating space takes practice, and practice makes perfect! Introduce your pets (and your kids if you have them!). ● Obviously if it’s just you, yourself, and your partner this isn’t necessary, but if one or both of you has a furry friend or even a child knowing how they’re going to get along is invaluable. Decide whose furniture you're keeping. ● It’s the advantage of combining homes, you have two of (most) everything to choose from, but trying to keep both of your couches and beds is a bit excessive. Decide what’s important to each of you and drop the rest. Pick out some new sheets and bedding that complements both your tastes. ● Combining your old things is important and fun, but building a new life together is equally valuable. Take this opportunity to have something new together and to create a space that represents you and your partner equally. Have an exit strategy. ● It’s a conversation no couple really wants to have, but having it is just as important as being able to. Clear communication and a clear understanding of what to do in case of a breakup isn’t just recommended, it’s necessary. Who keeps the space if you split? What happens to the deposit? There are plenty of questions to ask, and doing it now can help you prevent it from ever happening.