So you’ve met that special someone, and you’re ready to move in – congratulations! At this relationship stage, you’ll likely be looking to rent a home together before making any big (as in real estate) commitments. While renting can be a considerably affordable option (especially when you’re splitting housing costs), the big move can come with considerable sticker shock.
Also read: The Cost of Love in Canada>
If you’re both coming from your own household, it can be a process of merging two separate lives into one shared space. While which drawer to keep the can opener in and what kind of couch to get for the living room are definitely decisions you’ll have to make together once you move in, you might have some even bigger — and more daunting — decisions to make before you pick up your new keys.
When you’re going from two households to one, there are many financial factors that will need to be considered and budgets to be made. Here are a few things to consider when you’re making the big move to live with your significant other:
1. Rent Splitting
This might seem easy — you split the rent two ways, right? Well, there are probably more things to consider than the base cost of monthly rent. Now that you will be sharing financial responsibility for an apartment with your partner, it’s a good time to sit down together and create a monthly budget of your living expenses.
You don’t need to include every beer out with the guys or every trip to the nail salon on a shared budget spreadsheet, but you should account for all the expenses associated with housing.
Those expenses include rent, utilities, cable, Internet, and landline costs, parking fees, and anything else that you need to pay monthly to keep living in the apartment. Once you have all the costs written down in a budget spreadsheet, you can talk about splitting everything 50/50 or having one person cover certain expenses while the other person pays the rest.
Also read: Here’s Where it’s Cheaper to Rent Than Buy>
2. Moving costs
Even if only one of you is actually moving, there will still be costs involved. Moving isn’t cheap — you will need supplies (boxes, packing tape, bubble wrap, etc.) and you might need to rent a moving truck. Depending on how you plan the move, you could need to hire help to lug boxes to your new place.
Don’t forget to account for these costs when you consider moving in together. If one of you is moving into the other’s existing apartment, will you still split moving costs? If you are both moving to a new place, will one person have significantly higher moving costs than the other — say, from an out-of-town move?
Long before moving day, sit down to together and make sure you both know how much you need to put aside.
3. Breaking a Lease
If one — or both — of you are breaking a lease in order to move in together, there could be significant financial ramifications. Each province has different tenant and rental laws, but you could easily be penalized one or more months rent or lose your damage deposit.
It is important to do your research before securing a new place and knowing what your rights are as a tenant when you are in an existing lease.
4. Damage Deposits
If you are both coming from previous rentals and are not breaking leases, you may receive your damage deposit back from your landlord. If you’ve left your apartment in good condition and you do receive your deposit back at the end of your lease term, you can use that money towards your next damage deposit.
If you aren’t coming from a rental or will need to forfeit your damage deposit from your previous rental, you and your partner will need to budget and save for a new damage deposit. Damage deposit rates vary from province to province, but you can expect it to be around the same cost as one month’s rent.
5. Finding and Furnishing Your New Apartment
If both you and your significant other are coming from your own apartments, chances are you’ll have to compromise on a location that works for both partners and you’ll also have more furniture than you need for your new place. Finding a new apartment that works for both of you can be done with some research, patience and compromise. Apartment finders are a great place to start your search. RentSeeker.ca offers a powerful apartment search engine with lots of listing and the ability to filter by bedroom type, price and even proximity to university or college on their Student Housing page.
When you are making a budget, be specific about who will pay for which item or whether you will split all furniture costs down the middle.
Price points on furniture can range anywhere from inexpensive (think Ikea) to very expensive (think Restoration Hardware), so do some research on what you will need, make a list, and search out stores that fit your budget.
Moving in ith your significant other is a very exciting point in your life. If you take all the costs into account and budget well, you can make the move with confidence in your financial planning.