Searching for a new apartment with a significant other can definitely pose a challenge. Or it can prove to be a bonding experience. Either way, we’ve figured out some tips to help you have the smoothest search possible. Follow our guidelines below to help ease the process of apartment hunting with a significant other.
1. Decide what each of you requires and wants from an apartment
Even if this isn’t the first time you and your partner will be living together, you should still discuss what you both are looking for in a place you want to call home. You are moving for a reason, and that reason could be anything: the wish to be closer to work, a desire for a bigger kitchen, or a need for an extra bedroom. Listing your requirements for a new apartment will also help you narrow down your search. Think of how you spend your day at home. Do you work from home? Or perhaps you love to cook? Maybe the shower is your zen zone? Certain rooms are likely to stand out to you more than others and they will matter to you in your new home.
For everything to be fair, make your lists independently of each-other, writing down things that you absolutely need in one column, and things that you’d like the new place to have in another. Compare and contrast your ideas and look for the best fit. You might have to compromise, but at least you will be clear on what is being weighed in the decision.
2. Be honest and be prepared to disagree
You’ve found a place that has wooden floors and a fireplace, and you’re beaming. In your mind, you already know exactly what couch will perfectly sit the two of you by the fireside. So, you keep quiet about the fact that the kitchen is too small for your liking, and you’d rather check out more apartments. It is absolutely natural for you to not want to hurt your partner’s feelings. Yet, think of it this way: you keeping your honest opinion to yourself defeats you having made your lists in Step 1. Plus, in the long run your feelings about that small kitchen will spill and might cause a bigger conflict.
3. Settle on what items you want to get rid of during the move
Prior to moving, discuss what furniture you’re keeping, which items you’re tossing, and what memorabilia is staying with you. Not only is this important for a calmer move, but you will also know exactly how much space you’ll need your new apartment to have.
4. Location is just as important as the place itself
Neither of you wants to stand in traffic for 3 hours a day just to get to and from work. To make both of you as equally available as possible, in case of emergency, unforeseen developments, or just to walk the dog, try to find a location that’s optimal for both of you. The surrounding area near your future home is extremely important. Consider how close or far spots such as a grocery store, hospital, or even a laundromat are.
5. Talk of the budget
You and your partner probably don’t have identical jobs and salaries. Discuss how you will be paying for the apartment and how much each of you can afford. Remember to include utility and other bills when talking about budgeting. This will also help you keep in mind all the extra expenses and narrow down your options.
6. Check both of your credit scores
This one may seem obvious, but check that you can afford the places you’re looking at. You and your landlord want to be sure that you will not default on your rent payments. Checking your credit scores ahead of time will give you a good understanding of what you can expect in your apartment application process. Will you need a cosigner? Are there any red flags to explain in your credit history? Knowing the answer to these questions and more are all things that a timely credit check can alert you to.
7. Make one of you the contact person
You’re probably going to be applying to a few properties when apartment hunting with your significant other. If both of you are receiving phone calls from all of them, things might get a little confusing. If you have quite a few properties you’re attempting to secure an apartment with, you can split them evenly between the two of you. For example, if there are ten landlords you’re dealing with, have five of them reach out to you, and five to your partner.
8. Tour only when both of you can make it
Both of you need to see the place. Otherwise, you run the risk of one of you falling in love with an apartment, talking it up to the other partner, and then realizing that it was actually a good fit only for one of you. Plus, the two of you probably have had your own fair share of apartment experiences or household inconvenience. So, while touring one of you might notice or ask something that the other didn’t think of. It’s always good to have an extra set of eyes around.
9. Remember to have your pet’s documents ready
We all love our pets, they’re part of our family. Maybe you’re thinking about getting a fur baby once you move. Maybe one of the reasons you’re moving is to find a pet-friendly apartment! Whatever the reason is, don’t forget to ask whether the places you’re checking out are pet friendly.
If you’re moving with a pet, remember to have their paperwork ready for your potential landlord. With all the forms you need to gather during a move it is easy to forget that your fully best friends also has paperwork that your landlord might like to see.
10. List your top choices
Once you’ve looked at all of the prospective places, have each of you make an independent list of top three apartments and discuss. You’ll most likely have a least one you overlap on.