by:Anne Miller-courtesy Realtor.com
Fall in love, get married, buy a house. You’ve accomplished the first two, and now it’s time to set your sights on the third. Are you ready?
A home purchase can be one of the biggest decisions a couple makes, aside from getting married and having kids. You two will have to make a lot of choices, and differences will crop up. Learning to prioritize will help keep the home waters calm while you make this investment in your future.
Here’s what to think about:
What You Want: She wants outdoor space for cookouts, he needs a quiet home office. One of you wants to live in a walkable area, while the other wants a large front yard. Start your lists before looking and you will save precious time.
What You Don’t Want: Look around your current digs. What drives you nuts? He might loath the kitchen cabinets that never stay shut. You might long for a more comfortable bath. Figuring out your biggest current peeves can identify your priorities.
Wants vs. Needs: The home office may be a deal breaker—it’s his livelihood, after all—but is the cookout space really a need? Finding the perfect home with every tiny detail you both long for may be as much a fantasy as a marriage with no arguing. It has probably happened, but it’s not likely. Take another look at that want list—what can you live with compromising on?
Budget: Depending on where you live, mortgages can cost you less than rent. But you will need to save for a down payment. Plus, you willl have to factor in taxes, utilities and upkeep, not to mention new furnishings. What can you afford? How much debt are each of you comfortable with holding? How much are you willing to compromise on your bottom line? You two might have different answers. Better to reach an agreement now than face a surprising disagreement in the middle of negotiations with a seller. Or, even worse, surprises after you buy that you can’t afford.
Be realistic: The five-bedroom stunner in the best school district in town might bust your budget, but your hypothetical future children makes it a good investment, right? Not so fast. Those kids could still be years away, but your finances, and the time it takes to keep up such a large house are daily realities right now. A home investment for the future doesn’t mean mortgaging the present, and you may not be able to predict what you will really need five or 10 years down the road.
Prepare to compromise: With your spouse, and with some aspect of your new home, be ready to give in to other perspectives and realities. Sure, if you have $10 million to throw at a property, you can probably get everything you want and then some. But most of us have limits, and being able to find the perfect house in the perfect neighborhood for the ideal price might prove unrealistic. Understanding that you will likely need to compromise at some point may head off major disagreements when the time comes.
Agree on a REALTOR®: You will be working closely with your spouse, sometimes sharing your innermost desires for your future together. You will want to find someone you can trust to have your best interests at heart. And you’ll want to find someone who you both agree with. A great REALTOR® can also tell you if your needs will work with your budget for the area of your dreams.
Need a Realtor? Call Lisa at 512-423-5781