Congrats, you are ready to move in with your significant other! Whether you just made the decision, or are apartment hunting again, looking for apartments with your SO is a completely different beast than looking for yourself. After recently finding my first apartment with my SO, I have compiled a bit of advice and insights from the process to help you on your journey.
Before you even begin to hunt, figure out your numbers and wishes. One of the great things about moving in together is that now you can take that monthly rent and split it in half! Because of this, you may be finding yourselves in better financial situation than before, often allowing you to get more of what you want in an apartment. However, don’t get too excited because half the cost means having to deal with twice the personalities. Before getting started, have a conversation with your partner and talk through what you are actually looking for.
Start off with the logistics: What part of town? How many bedrooms? Combined budget? Are pets a concern? Parking or public transportation?
Then move to the wants: Walk up or elevator? Eat in kitchen? In unit W/D? Is air conditioning necessary? Fitness center?
Finish off with style: New construction? High ceilings? Old school charm? Stainless steel? Cottage-y feel? Urban vibes?
If you are anything like my SO and I, there will probably be one of you who heads the hunt (probably the one who is reading this). I found that having one person be the “point-person” for scheduling tours and communicating with rental agencies made the process easier. However, if you and your partner are amazing schedulers, then more power to ya, my friends.
As for the actual touring portion, make sure that as often as possible you are scheduling tours when you both can be there. If one of you cannot be there, try to wear their hat as well as yours when touring and take pictures. I repeat, take pictures! While you’re at it, take notes over key information (lease start, utilities included, etc). It’s often hard to remember small details later in the day. If it works out that you both are there, learn the “2 Block Rule”- while you are within 2 blocks of the place you’re touring, keep your poker face on. Whether you are IN LOVE with a place or can’t get out of there fast enough, stay courteous and attentive throughout the tour. If you give away you’re disposition, it can work against you.
The Big Decision
This is it. It’s the big decision. It’s time to kick your compromising skills into gear. If you don’t have a clear favorite, narrow it down to your top three choices. From there you can refer back to your “logistics/wants/style” choices and do a pros vs. cons sheet for each one. And before you sign on the dotted line, remember that you are entering into a legal relationship between you, your SO and your new landlord, so make sure you understand all your obligations to all parties.
In the end, whether you chart it out or flip a coin, keep your goal in mind – a home where you and your SO will start making memories together.