By Julia Austin
If you and your significant other have recently purchased your first home, first of all, congratulations! You’ve done something many couples can only dream of, while they keep getting rejected for one loan after another. You’re one of the lucky couples.
If you’ve spent your whole life living in apartments until now, home living can come with a lot of surprise—good, bad and interesting ones. Living in a house won’t only feel different because it comes with different responsibilities in terms of taking care of your home, but it will also make your relationship with your significant other feel differently.
After you get over that initial, “We can’t believe all this belongs to us!” phase, you’ll settle in, and see there are some major differences between living in an apartment versus a home. So, when moving from an apartment to a house with your significant other, here’s what to expect.
You’ll actually want to decorate
Unlike in your apartment, you know you’ll be staying in this house for a while. You have free reign to trim the hedges, decorate the living room and renovate the kitchen any way you like. This is very liberating! But it also leads to a lot of debate about paint color, toilet type, garden layout and so on. In your apartment, you both brought a little bit of your own flavor, but you didn’t have much room to play with decoration, so there also wasn’t much debate about it.
You need to fix things yourselves
The landlord isn’t going to find a contractor to fix a leaky pipe. If something is broken, you and your significant other have to find contractors, compare and contrast prices, and handle the project from start to finish yourselves. This can be a bit overwhelming for couples; your partner may want to haggle with contractors while you just want to settle on a price quickly. Your partner may be the avid DIYer but you know that will just end in additional broken pipes.
It can feel isolating at first
You won’t hear the noises of people living above you, below you, and sharing a wall with you. This is certainly helpful if you’re a light sleeper, or if you just can’t stand to hear other people arguing/practicing the piano/playing video games. But it can also feel very isolating at first. It’s just you and your significant other. You can’t step outside on the sidewalk and chitchat with a neighbor at almost any hour.
But there is more of a community
Overall, you’ll find there is a greater sense of community in neighborhoods dominated by houses. In apartments, residents know they won’t be there for too long, so they don’t make as much of an effort to get to know each other. But people living in houses tend to invite each other over for dinner more, get involved in carpools together and throw block parties.
You’ll be ‘the fancy friends’
You may be the only couple in your friend group who has purchased a house. This makes you “the fancy friends.” Don’t be surprised if your friends treat you like you think you’re too good for them. Also, don’t be surprised if some friends ask to borrow money, or live in your guest room.
Get on top of new taxes and fees
You don’t only need to worry about paying rent anymore. Now you need to stay on top of your mortgage payments, homeowner association fees, property tax payments, property insurance and maintenance costs. Make sure to clearly assign the handling of these bills to one or both of you, so you don’t get into arguments about who forgot to pay a bill.
The pressure will be on to have kids
Even if you didn’t move into a house so you would have room to have children, everybody will think that’s why you did. Get ready for all the “This would make a lovely nursery” comments from your mom and the “This is a great yard for kids to play in” from your dad.
Your in-laws will visit more
When you have a large house, out-of-towners feel more encouraged to visit you—for better or for worse. Some friends and family members may have only been able to stand to stay in your apartment for a couple of days, but now, they may come really stretch their legs in your house for weeks at a time.
You could spend more time apart
When you live in an apartment, you naturally spend more time with your significant other. There aren’t many places to hide from each other, so you’re usually in the same room if not just one room apart. When you live in a house, you may find yourself thinking, “I haven’t seen my boo in like, three hours” and yelling, “Honey! Are you alive down there?”
You may not live near friends anymore
Houses tend to exist in the suburbs and apartments tend to exist in the more urban areas. If your friends all live in apartments and you now live in a house, you may live a good half hour to an hour drive from them (depending on traffic). The good news is, when you know you’re going to the city, you’ll make a point to see your friends, and you’ll make sure it’s quality time. When you lived in the city, you may have taken for granted the fact that you could see your friends at any time, and never really saw them.