The Joys and Challenges of Moving in Together

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The excitement of moving into a new property is multiplied when you’re also moving in with new people. It’s a key rite of passage, from shared university accommodation through to those first nerve-wracking days spent living with your partner. Sooner or later, cohabiting outside the parental home is a step we all take, which is why it’s crucial not to spoil the fun by making avoidable mistakes…

The practicalities of moving in with new people vary according to each unique set of circumstances. A five-bedroom student house in multiple occupation (HMO) represents a very different prospect to a brand-new Cruden home bought with a long-term partner. However, some principles remain the same, including the importance of good organisational skills and financial management…


Arguments about money have derailed many budding relationships and ruined good friendships, but it’s easy to squabble about bills without a detailed plan of action. To begin with, create a spreadsheet listing all the household’s anticipated expenses, and agree how these costs will be split. A cohabiting couple might already have a joint bank account, but will every standing order and direct debit be paid from this account? If so, will incomings always be enough to match outgoings? What happens if there’s a surplus, or a shortfall? It’s useful to have a contingency fund set aside, and it’s usually easier if one person takes charge of paying one-off invoices, negotiating new contracts, etc.

Property Management

Every home requires ongoing maintenance and management, from setting up broadband contracts through to replacing blown light bulbs. This can often be handled on an ad-hoc basis, but it’s easy for everyone to assume someone else will do it. Before moving in, talk about who has a good memory for dates, who’s handy on a stepladder and who can charm trades people into reducing their quotes. Try to imagine likely scenarios and come up with a pre-emptive plan of action – who orders a replacement key if someone loses theirs, who pays for it, and so on.


If you’re moving in with friends, classmates or workmates, cohabiting involves treading carefully through the minefield of other people’s personal lives. The intense first stages of a new relationship don’t lend themselves well to communal lounges and shared bathrooms, so consideration is required for other occupants. Equally, it’s not fair to maintain old habits by inviting all your mates round if your new partner is trying to study or sleep in the next room.

Plasterboard walls don’t block sound very well, while parking often becomes an issue if guests begin treating allocated spaces and driveways as their own. The issue of food ‘disappearing’ from fridges is a particularly thorny one, best addressed by allocated shelves, sticky labels and frank discussions - or a webcam? - or mini-fridges in each bedroom?

Space allocation

Does someone’s fitness obsession entitle them to fill the hall cupboard with gym equipment? Who gets to use the allocated parking space if everyone drives? These and many other issues need to be sorted out before moving in together. Space-hungry hobbies and large collections of belongings might even steer you towards choosing a particular property, such as a flat with his-and-hers wardrobes or a house with a garage. New homes tend to provide generous storage as standard (especially in kitchens), but full-height freestanding cupboards and shelving units can be invaluable for fitting several lifetime’s worth of belongings under one roof.

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