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First off, congratulations! Moving in with a significant other is a big step in a relationship, and it will allow you to get to know each other more intimately. That's not to say it isn't without its challenges, so it's great that you are already looking ahead and doing your best to prepare. Before you choose one of the apartments in Gainesville to call your own, I would definitely discuss the following:
- Your finances. I cannot stress the importance of this enough. You don't want to be looking at luxury Gainesville apartments when you really should be reviewing your options under $500 per month. Dig deep into your finances, looking not only at what sort of wages you expect to make, but also any debt and credit scores either of you might have. These things could impact your ability to move into certain apartments, or they could drive up the cost of moving in by increasing your security deposit. Decide how it makes sense to split your housing-related expenses, since going 50/50 on everything isn't always the best or most fair option for both of you. These can be hard discussions to have, but it's better to have them before you move in together.
- Your needs and wants. Once you've got your budget established, it's important to figure out your needs and wants. Maybe you've always dreamed of a two-bedroom apartment where you convert the second bedroom into a photography studio/craft room/what-have-you, but it's much more important that you focus on the things that are most important to the both of you, like the location in relation to school or work, or whether or not it's one of Gainesville's dog-friendly apartments. Once you've met the qualities you need, then you can look at some of those bonus features, like stainless steel appliances or that extra bedroom.
- Your assets. Think less "stocks and bonds" and more "sofas and bookcases." Take a look at what furniture you both have and where there are duplicates or missing items. Consider the space you'll have to work with. In a one-bedroom Gainesville apartment, it might not make sense for you to have two beds, but you could certainly use the other bed in a guest bedroom. Determine whether you want to put surplus furniture in storage or try to sell it through services like Facebook Marketplace. Then figure out what you need that complements what you already own, like lamps and decor. Purchase your missing pieces, but make a backup plan for who will get those purchases in the event one of you moves out. It's like insurance - you don't want to use it, but it's better to have it.
This article from Forbes has some great additional discussion points to prepare you for moving in together, so I would go through them with your SO as well. And remember through all of this: moving is stressful for everyone; if you can get through this together, there's probably not much you can't brave as a couple. Good luck with this big step and your big move!