Combining Households? Here’s What You Need to Know.

Perhaps you’ve discovered this article because you find yourself in a relationship that makes you very, very happy – happy to the point that you’re considering moving in with the man or woman of your dreams. If so, congratulations! Love is wonderful, and there’s truly nothing in the world quite like it.

Maybe you’re young, and unencumbered, and falling in love for the first time. On the other side of the coin, perhaps you’re 30, 40, or 50.  Perhaps each of you already have homes full of furniture, full-time jobs with retirement accounts, pets, and well-established daily routines. If all of this sounds familiar to you, you may be asking yourself – how do we go about combining our lives, and everything they entail? That question is certainly a reasonable one, and at GayRealEstate.com, it’s one that we’ve heard often.

While love is certainly wonderful, the truth is that like anything in life, it’s not without its own particular kinds of stress. Despite how much you may love someone and want to be with them, there are still plenty of logistical matters to think through. This can be true if you live in the same city, and it is certainly true if you’re in a long-distance relationship that will require one or the other of you to relocate across the country.

The good news, however, is that no matter how far apart you may live, or how complicated your life may be, it doesn’t mean this transition can’t ultimately become the start of a wonderful new chapter in your life. When you think it through carefully, and take the necessary steps to combine your households after thoroughly planning ahead, it can be a very positive and life-changing experience for both of you.

What sorts of things should you consider, as you think about combining households? At GayRealEstate.com, we have been fortunate enough to help many couples, just like you, transition from two households to one.  Here are a few helpful tips that we’ve learned along the way:

  • Living Arrangements: Perhaps first and foremost when merging your households and your lives is deciding which house you will actually live in. If both of you own a home, your first step should be to discuss which of the two homes is the more ideal spot for you to reside as a couple. For some, this may be dependent upon a job – perhaps one partner is able to work from home, while the other has to be on-location for his or her job. In other cases, it might be dependent upon family circumstances – does one partner have young children who are happy in school and used to a daily routine? In other cases, perhaps it’s more about location – where do you, as a couple see yourselves living? Where, ideally, would you like to be? You may also take a look at the markets in your different communities – is one market better for selling right now than another? All of these factors are important, and can be helpful to consider as you decide whether to sell or rent out one or both of your homes, or buy a new one entirely.
  • Envision Your Space: It’s likely that if each of you have lived on your own for some time, you’ve likely accumulated a good deal of furniture and other household belongings. As you prepare to combine your households, it only makes sense for each of you to consider paring down some of your own belongings so that together, you can combine the things that you truly love into one happy home. For example, when you’re living together, chances are that you won’t need two toasters, two coffee makers, or two master bedroom sets. Think carefully about which items have personal meaning and value and keep those, but be willing to discard or donate some of the rest. Work together to make the space you share peaceful, happy, and personal to you both.
  • Planning for Pets: Do you, or your partner have a pet (or several pets) that you love? If so, you may be worried that your pet might not like your partner’s pet – that they might literally fight like cats and dogs. While this is an understandable concern, the good news is that gradually, most pets do adjust. It is best to be patient, to not try to force the pets to spend too much time in close quarters at first, and to reward them for instances where you do see them behaving well and getting along together. Eventually, your pets will likely adjust, and you can all have a happy home together.
  • Thinking Through Your Financial Future: As you initially begin testing the waters of living together and all that it entails, it is generally wise to keep the majority of your finances, retirement accounts, and investments separate. As your relationship deepens, or if and after you marry, you can decide how much you want to comingle your finances.  For some couples, particularly those who come together after both are financially established, some make the choice to keep the finances they accumulated prior to moving in together in separate accounts, but to combine their incomes to contribute toward their home and lifestyle moving forward. In truth, each couple, and each set of circumstances is different, and an arrangement that might be perfect for one couple may not work out well for another. Often, as you try to determine what is best for you as a couple, it may be wise to meet with a financial advisor who help you understand your options and decide on what’s best.

If you, or the special person you love find yourself considering selling an existing home and relocating, at GayRealEstate.com, we’re here to help. If you’re both considering selling and buying a new home together, we’re here to help with that too. With our helpful free relocation kit, free seller’s market analysis and buyer’s representation, and access to a network of talented and experienced gay, lesbian, and gay-friendly real estate agents across the country, we’re here to make your buying, selling, and relocating experience the best it can be. Wherever you ultimately decide to begin this chapter, we can point you toward an agent who will be able to help. Congratulations on the love you’ve found, and the life you’re working to build together. We would be honored to help. Call us today 1-888-420-MOVE (6683).