“I am not a big advocate of living together before marriage. It can be the right thing, but it can also leave two people stuck together who have not figured out what they really want out of the relationship” –Emily Yoffe
You are in love and you suppose that you are ready to take your relationship to the next level. Why not move in together, right?
Sure, moving in and living under the same roof might sound like just the start of a blissful journey. But it can easily go south for the both of you. On the plus side, it might mean lesser outlays as you would have to jointly spend on any expenses you might have. Furthermore, it basically means waking up next to your significant other for the rest of your mornings. Based on all that, it could only be a great thing, right? Well, not necessarily so. Living under one roof with your significant other without the benefit of marriage could be a double-edged sword. It might potentially open you up to issues you might never have had before, cause undue stress on your relationship which might cause your eventual breakup. The truth is, living together is still a huge responsibility for the both of you that requires a lot of forethought. It is not something you decide on a whim, but something that demands contemplation.
After all, buying a home (albeit an exciting milestone in a couple’s life) is unquestionably one of the pivotal events that would significantly change the course of a relationship. Take note: It is not always butterflies and breakfast in bed in the morning. It means disclosing credit scores, committing to mortgage payments, splitting up household payments—not exactly the best scenarios for romance, right? In any case, if you are convinced about taking this plunge with your partner, here are some of the vital things you ought to discuss before making that move. So that whether you are moving to a condo in Cebu City or elsewhere, you would both know what your responsibilities are and where you stand so as to avoid potential conflicts in the future:
What are we willing to sacrifice to make this happen?
Regardless of what your viewpoint is, living together connotes a huge sacrifice on both of your parts. Unless you are absolutely loaded, then there is a likely chance that the both of you would need to make certain concessions to turn your dream home into a reality. Would this mean staying in during Saturday nights? Foregoing new movies in favor of saving up? Whatever your compromises you might make, be sure you are willing to discuss them with your partner. Furthermore, ensure that they are on board with it as well.
What are our non-negotiables?
Take note: Your home is a joint investment. In this regard, it is best to be on the same page about what you want and what you do not with your partner. To avoid potential conflicts, establish what each of you cannot live without and then start compromising on what you want. Decide what you will never compromise on and what would be major red flags.
Are we having kids?
Sure, a single bedroom studio condo unit sounds just about right for the time being. But what if you wish to expand your family? Where are your going to put your little tot to sleep? Sure, for the first twelve months, your child can share the room with you. But what happens when you need your own privacy as well? Have an honest conversation about how you see your family growing and consequently, how much space you would eventually need for the growth.
Are we willing to do renovation work?
Apart from creating the home of your dreams now, you need to have a clear understanding of each other’s vision for your new home. Know where you want to take it in the future and what your plans would be. In this way, you would be able to alleviate future stress and mitigate the expenses—especially if you possess the foresight of where you wish to take your plans for your home in the future. Sure, a fixer-upper home might look great for your wallet right now, but would you be willing to put up with that kind of lengthy work? Moreover, do you have the patience for it? Decide what you are comfortable with and make sure your partner is okay with that as well.
What if things do not work out?
While this is a prospect no one would want to discuss, it needs to be addressed. After all, it is best to be prepared should the unthinkable ever happen—no matter how much of a downer this topic can be. In any case, if things do not work out between the two of you, what would your plan be for the home? Should you see it and split the value? Would there be a buyout agreement? While having a prenuptial agreement might not exactly be the most romantic of things to discuss, it is nevertheless a smart move. Talk to a lawyer and consider adding clauses to a prenup or post-nup so that if things get rocky in the future, both of you would hold your end of the bargain.