3 must do steps to prepare for buying a house
Discussing money is an important step when planning to move in with a partner. Money can be a cause of stress and disagreement for many people so it’s important you and your partner are upfront and proactive when it comes to money discussions. While moving in with a partner is exciting and little bit romantic, it’s still important to cover off on the ‘business’ end of things – that way you are both on the same page should you need to make a financial decision together. We’ve put together a list of things to discuss together before you move in.
Sharing your financial history with your partner could help to prevent surprises down the track, and will also help you to understand why your partner shares a certain stance when it comes to saving, spending and borrowing money. Consider discussing things such as debts, spending habits and pitfalls.
Look at how much money you are making as a couple. This might help you to decide how you will split expenses, and will help you to set realistic joint financial goals. It will also help each of you to understand each other’s personal situation and why each of you may have certain expectations and goals when it comes to finances.
Discuss each of your own personal financial goals and see if there’s any similarities. It’s good to have personal financial goals, but it is also important to both get on the same page when it comes to joint goals. For example, if a joint financial goal is to save for a house then you can start to look at high interest savings accounts to make as much interest you can as possible.
How you will split living expenses fairly is a good topic to agree on before moving in together. While you may change your minds about this once you’re living together, it’s good to get on the same page to begin with.
Whether you are both renting, both buying the home or one of you is buying and one is paying ‘rent’, it is a good idea to look at what kind of insurance you need. Depending on your stage of life and what you own you might consider home and contents insurance, contents insurance, life insurance and motor vehicle insurance.
A will takes effect if you die and covers how your assets will be shared, and who will look after your children if they are still young. A will can cover what, if any, trusts you want established and whether you’d like any money to go to charities. It can be a good idea to reconsider your will as you go through major life events (such as moving in with a partner).
A power of attorney is a formal document which authorises another person to make legally binding decisions on your behalf.
For more information about wills and Power of Attorney talk to a solicitor and visit the ASIC’s Moneysmart website.