By Diana McKeon Charkalis
Millennial couples are waiting longer than previous generations to get married, but they’re more likely to move in together, according to the Pew Research Center. So how do you know renting together will work out?
Emotions can run high once the boxes are unpacked, and you realize that maybe you actually did need a two-bedroom apartment. That’s why planning ahead is important. Consider these tips to make your move as smooth as it can possibly be.
Planning = saving money: Patience and planning ahead are key when searching for a new apartment together. If you rush to grab your dream space without consideration, extra costs can pile up if you need to break your current lease, pay double rent or spend more than you can afford due to a super competitive market.
If your main goal is to save money, winter is generally the best time to hunt for a place, according to rent.com. Turnover is slower and there are fewer options to choose from, but property managers may be more willing to give you a deal. If what you value is more choices, summer has the highest turnover and the most availability. But it’s also the most competitive time, so be prepared to act quickly if you find something you love. Also, opting for a longer lease—say, two years instead of one if you can swing it—can be another bargaining tool to get a break on cost.
First impressions count: Present yourself responsibly and consider bringing a reference from your former landlord. Maintaining good credit scores can also help you land the place you want, as most landlords will run a check as part of the application process.
Set the ground rules. Couples discover rather quickly that living together adds a lot of new variables to the relationship. Before you merge into one space, make sure you have clear expectations. For example: Does one of you need a lot of alone time? Does one enjoy playing music—loud—24/7? Do your routines for eating, sleeping and working mesh? What are your definitions of “clean” and “messy”? Who’s paying for what—and on what terms? Take time to sit down and discuss your preferences, behaviors that irritate you and habits you can’t tolerate. Compromise is important but so is getting the deal-breakers out on the table.
Yours, mine and ours. Living together means not only making space for each other, but also for your stuff. Once you know the exact space you’re moving into, measure it out. You don’t want to cram too much into it. This is a great time to pare down and decide what to keep, sell or give away. If you have way too much stuff but can’t part with any of it, consider the expense of putting it into storage.
Sometimes furniture shopping together can help jumpstart a tradition of shared possessions. But that doesn’t mean you can’t keep your favorite coffee cup or that you have to part with your entire record collection.
Insurance tip. Consider renters insurance for protection against fire, vandalism and theft. It’s even possible to get special coverage for your computer. Renters insurance protects your belongings wherever you go. Sometimes, it’s possible to combine renters insurance with car insurance and save money. “We keep a whole life’s worth of things in our homes. Renters insurance is one way you can protect it all without breaking the bank,” says personal finance expert Nicole Lapin.
Did you know your landlord’s insurance covers only the building, not your valuables? Amica renters insurance provides you with affordable protection for all your belongings, along with award-winning customer service.
Visit AmicaQuote.com today to learn more or get a quote from Amica Insurance.
Diana McKeon Charkalis is a Yahoo Storyteller. Her work has also appeared in USA TODAY, Prevention and The LA Daily News.