Congratulations! You’ve found love, and now you’re searching for the perfect place to call home together. You are smart and savvy, and know that buying a house is always a momentous and significant purchase. Home buyers pour a lot of time, energy, thought and care into choosing their new abodes, which can cause a lot of stress and anxiety. But not for you! You’ve heard too many stories of couples who start to squabble when dealing with major life and financial decisions. You are determined to get through the process with as much grace and humour as possible, and come out on the other side with a beautiful home and your marriage intact. Fortunately for you, we have some helpful tips for buying a home with your wonderful significant other.
1. Talk it out. This is a simple step that can yield such dramatic and positive results. Before you even begin to look at homes together, sit down individually and really think about what you yourself need and want in a home. Make two lists, one a “need list” and the other a “wish list”. For example, if you can’t live without air conditioning, put that on your “need list”. If you’d love to have a lake view from your kitchen window, add that to your “wish list”. Be reasonable and thoughtful with your needs and wishes. Then, get together and compare. This will help you as a couple to understand each others’ desires. If you don’t match up completely, don’t despair! Discuss calmly with your partner your reasons for each item on your list, and listen as they explain their side. Be open and willing to compromise. So simple, and so important.
2. Go back to the future. As you go over your lists together, you may find it helpful to discuss how your pasts have affected what you wish for and what you feel you need. For example, if you mother and father always had separate bathroom spaces, you may feel that you need at least two bathrooms. And don’t forget to look to the future. How long do you plan or hope to stay in this home? How will that affect your “need” and “wish” lists?
3. Do your homework. Now that you have a good idea of what you and your partner are looking for, look at homes for sale online to get a good feel for what kind of neighbourhood you are interested in, what kind of homes are available in your budget range, and what sort of amenities are nearby. Go into your search well prepared and informed.
4. Find a great realtor. Take a lot of pressure off of yourselves by enlisting the services of a great realtor you both trust and like. Read this article on how to choose a realtor. Let the professionals handle all of the details that might otherwise lead to conflict, confusion, and aggravation while you two handle your already busy schedules (and maybe make time for a date night).
5. Money, money, money. No one likes to talk about their finances. It makes us feel vulnerable and defensive. But here’s some straight talk: you and your partner need to talk about your money and get it in order before purchasing your home together. It’s that simple. Get everything organized so that you don’t spend all of your money on new furniture and lower your credit rating right as you need it to be great to get a good rate on a mortgage. Having your money figured out in advance will make you both less anxious about this major financial decision, and probably bring you closer in your relationship as well.
6. Set a spending threshold. Once you’ve talked openly about your finances, and now that know your partner’s needs and wishes, set up a budget with clear parameters. Set a spending threshold for your home itself as well as for all the fun, extra things that come with purchasing a home. These include the fabulous furniture, paint, and art you’ll want to fill your space with, as well as any renovation costs.
7. Be patient. Finding your dream home can sometimes take a while. Don’t settle for a home too quickly if it’s not quite right. You didn’t settle for your partner, so why settle when it comes to your home? New homes go on the market all the time, and tomorrow might be the day yours appears. Be patient!
If the process ever becomes too overwhelming, or seems like it’s dragging on forever, take each other out on a date. Spend some time talking about other topics, or remind each other of the fun things involved in home buying. Talk about what colour you’re going to paint your walls, how close it is to that great restaurant you both love, or how that one room will be perfect for a nursery. Talk about the future, stay positive, and stay connected. In the end the rewards will be well worth the wait and effort!
By HomeFinder’s Erin Tenhage