You’re already happily cohabitating or engaged, and you know that you’re both in it for the long haul. It might seem logical to take the next big step into *drum roll…* homeownership!
With mortgage rates at an all-time low, couples are buying homes left and right. Buying a home on your own is a massive life step, so naturally, buying one with the love of your life is bound to feel all the more butterfly-inducing.
If you’re considering taking on the commitment of owning a home with your significant other, there are some important factors to ponder before you sign above the dotted line.
Be absolutely certain that you’re willing to invest in more than just property.
Buying a home together isn’t just a monetary investment. It’s an investment into your relationship and your future as a unit. It’s a social, legal, and financial plunge that you need to confirm you’re both ready to take.
Talk *finances* to me 😉
It takes a certain level of intimacy to talk about money openly and honestly with your partner. Everyone has their own relationship with money, and our attitudes and feelings toward it are often deeply ingrained from the fiscal behaviors we learned growing up. Perhaps you reliably stow away 30% of each paycheck, or maybe you’re at the other end of the spectrum and recently started sending your packages to the post office instead of your home so that your s/o stops raising an eyebrow at you while you guiltily bring in your weekly Amazon hauls.
Even if it makes you uncomfortable, conversations about money (yes, plural) need to happen before you decide to get a home with your partner. When it comes to qualifying for a mortgage, everything is on the table, from student loans to credit card debt.
So, if you’ve got any blemishes on your credit history, it’s best to fess up now. It’s likely the most significant financial decision that either of you will ever make. Addressing things before you’re wholly financially entangled gives you the chance to take on any potential issues together.
If you’re holding off on the nuptials, know what to expect.
More couples than ever are shopping for a home in lieu of a sparkly engagement ring. According to a new homeownership report by WalletJoy, 72% of non-married Millennials said that they would purchase a home before getting married, and 38% noted that they would buy a home with a partner to whom they were not married. For their part, 66% of non-married Gen X-ers agreed, along with 64% of non-married Boomers.
It isn’t the wrong decision to purchase a place as a couple when you aren’t married, but there are fewer safeguards for unwed couples if all doesn’t go as planned. This article from Forbes gives unmarried couples a comprehensive list of the unique considerations to take into account before purchasing a home together.
Compromise is Key
It’s common for couples to bicker during the homebuying process. But you can work together to avoid disputes.
Like all things in a healthy relationship, house hunting requires communication and compromise. These tips will help you and your partner collaborate to find a house that both of you adore while continuing to adore one another.
Create individual lists of what you want.
You and your partner should make a list of your 10 must-haves and then compare. The lists should include things like price, location, size, and anything else you deem essential. When you’ve finished your lists, compare them. Find out where your commonalities are and go from there. If you don’t have at least five home features in common, make a list with 20. Then, you can distinguish your needs from your wants.
If you can’t seem to find common ground initially, take a step back and reassess in a week or so. If this person is who you plan to spend the rest of your life with, your partnership is more important than arguing over a game room (even though it would be super cool to have one).
Stay within your budget.
Money-related stress can put a strain on the healthiest relationship, so don’t get in over your head by overspending on a home. Consider both of your incomes and savings, and then think about how you’ll maintain your ideal lifestyle post-purchase. Once you create a budget, don’t stray from the said budget.
It’s also important to have some money set aside for maintenance. Owning a home means you’ll need to be prepared for a few unexpected repairs.
Don’t forgo the home inspection!
It’s easy to gloss over the seemingly tedious steps when you’re eager. But even if the house appears to be perfect, you absolutely must have a professional home inspector look it over. There’s a lot that can lurk under a glossy veneer.
The septic tank may overflow only after you’ve officially closed. You’ve just popped open the too-expensive champagne bottle, and good god you haven’t even begun to unpack but all of the boxes are spread throughout the house. The boxes will soon be floating.
If that imagery wasn’t enough to convince you, google “home inspection horror stories.”
Don’t make mountains out of molehills.
If you hate the carpet and your s/o is okay with it, don’t make it a dealbreaker. Carpet can be replaced.
If a home has everything on your co-created “must-have” list and isn’t over budget, you can replace some of the more superficial features down the road. Have patience with the house hunting process and each other.
Being open and honest about everything from finances to the vision of your perfect home will give each of you a glimpse into what’s important to the other. You may not get everything on your wish list, and that’s okay.
Once you’ve settled on “the one,” let us help with the rest. As the nation’s most recognized and trusted local movers, Colonial Van Lines stands by our customers from the beginning to the end of the move.
Remember, it isn’t the beautiful house or the idyllic neighborhood that makes a house a home (although those attributes certainly don’t hurt); it’s the love of the people inside of it. Happy house hunting!
Contact us for a free rate quote. At Colonial Van Lines, we keep it stress-free, straightforward, and affordable.