Are you and your significant other thinking about buying a home together? Guest writer Natalie Jones offers 3 discussions that you need to have first!
Buying a home together is a huge step in any relationship. However, many couples find that house-hunting is more stressful than they anticipated. Each person has their own ideas of the perfect home and the right amount to spend, but since you’re buying together, you have to find compromises you both can live with. Purchasing your first home as a couple can lead to a lot of arguments if you’re not on the same page. Before you start house hunting in earnest, there a few conversations you need to have together.
The Budget Talk
Buying a home together is a huge financial commitment, which means couples need to be completely transparent about their finances. If you’re still uncomfortable discussing finances with your significant other, that ends here. Applying for a mortgage together will expose every aspect of your finances, including how much you earn, how much debt you’re in, and how you’ve managed your credit. Surprises during thepre-approval process will only lead to arguments, so lay everything on the table before meeting with lenders.
Anhonest discussion about finances also allows you to set a home-buying budget that works for both partners. The price of your home affects not only your monthly budget but also your long-term financial goals, so it’s critical that you’re both comfortable with the price.
If you’re not sure what a sensible home-buying budget looks like, calculate your shared monthly income. Then, determine what you can afford to spend each month. Lenders recommend spending no more than31 percent of your monthly income on housing. Remember that housing costs aren’t just your mortgage payment. You’ll also be responsible for property taxes, insurance, HOA fees, and repair costs, so factorthese expenses into your calculations.
The Dream Home Talk
One of you dreams of a quaint cottage with a white picket fence, while the other imagines a modern home and a minimalist aesthetic. One person wants to live in the bustling downtown, while the other prefers a big suburban lot. These might sound like irreconcilable differences when it comes to buying a home, but most couples can settle on ashared vision for a house. Dave Ramseyrecommends writing your must-have lists separately then coming together to find the common ground. Ideally, you’ll have a handful of features that are important to both of you.
Once your shared priorities are established, do a cursorysearch to see what’s available that meets your criteria and your budget. Researching the local housing stock allows you to work toward realistic compromises instead of arguing over hypotheticals.
The Offer Talk
After viewing all the houses on your list, you’ve found the right one and you’re ready to make an offer. Unfortunately, your significant other isn’t so sure. To overcome this hurdle, Realtor.com suggestsrating each home you view on a scale from one to 10. A rating system makes it easier to tell if you genuinely don’t like a home or if it’s simply nerves and indecision getting to you.
Couples also disagree on how aggressive to be when making an offer. Rather than squabbling over numbers, let your real estate agent guide your decision.Market conditions are the biggest factor to consider when setting an offer price and your agent understands the local market best.
Buying a home with your partner should be exciting, not a source of conflict. While you can’t prevent every minor disagreement in the home-buying process, tackling these three conversations head-on prevents serious arguments from derailing your home search.