Five money questions to ask before moving in with your partner


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So you and your partner have decided to make the big leap and move in together.

While this arrangement provides much to look forward to, you have probably already realised that there is a lot more to it than just moving your stuff to a new place and deciding who has what storage space.

While it can be seen as a major romance killer to discuss it, it's important to understand the financial and legal implications of cohabitation.

5 important questions to ask before moving in with your partner

A poorly planned move-in can put tremendous strain on your relationship, so it's best to work out these details ahead of time to avoid disagreements in the future.

It's one of life's biggest decisions, so ask these five questions before you move in with your partner:

  1. Do you know their financial past?

It's almost impossible to move in with someone, especially your partner, without having the "money talk".

So set aside some time to have a talk to your partner about their complete financial picture: income, credit score, any credit card debt, student loans, assets such as savings and investments and any other financial obligations.

If you're looking to share an apartment, a good credit score is essential. If you have one partner with a fantastic credit score and the other with a poor one, you may just miss out on a great place!

  1. Are you both writing your names on the tenancy?

If you are moving into a newly rented place it's important that both parties sign the tenancy.

By doing so you both have an equal right to live in the property.

If the agreement says you are joint and severally liable for rent, the landlord can choose to pursue either one of you for any damages or rent owed. By having both signatures on the tenancy, you are both liable for the rent.

  1. If it's your home, do you expect them to contribute to your mortgage?

If it's your home, consider if you would like your partner to contribute to the mortgage.

This can be a tricky question. However, it seems only fair if they are moving into the home that you purchased that they share half (or some of) the overall costs. The amount they contribute to the mortgage can also depend on each partner's income.

  1. Will expenses be shared?

Electricity, internet, water and groceries are just some of the monthly costs that will need to be paid when cohabiting.

It's important to discuss if you will split them 50-50 or if you will set up a joint bank solely for rent so both can contribute income every month by a predetermined date. A shared bank account can also simplify mortgage payments with a single direct debit.

  1. In case of a relationship break-up, what are your options?

No couple wants to speak about a future that might not include one another. That said, having a break-up plan is always a good idea.

Couples can sign a legal cohabitation agreement when they first move in together, providing each with some protection should the relationship end. If you decide to sell your house or apartment after a break-up, experts can help ease this process.

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Anne Grobler is an OpenAgent expert.