NEW YORK â€“ April 24, 2013 â€“ A study conducted by Harris Interactive for Coldwell Banker Real Estate looked a changing marriage trends in America and how they impact the purchase of a first home.
According to the study, the timing of a first-home purchase hasnâ€™t changed a lot over the years, but an upswing in later marriages means more couples are buying a home before they walk down the aisle â€“ if they ever do â€“ or making a purchase earlier in the marriage.
About one in four married couples between the ages of 18 to 34 purchased their first home together before their wedding date, compared to 14 percent of those ages 45 and older. According to the survey, 35 percent of all married couples purchased their first home together by their second wedding anniversary; 80 percent of these married homeowners said it strengthened their relationship more than any other purchase.
â€œWhat weâ€™re seeing is that young couples are switching up the order and purchasing their first home regardless of whether or not they have set a wedding date,â€ says Dr. Robi Ludwig, a psychotherapist and Coldwell Banker lifestyle correspondent.
â€œThis is a huge movement within the American culture,â€ Ludwig adds. â€œWhile younger generations may be focusing more on their career, and in turn waiting longer to get married and have children, they are not delaying their dream of homeownership.â€
Other survey trends
â€¢ 17 percent of all married couples surveyed purchased a home together before their wedding day.
â€¢ 72 percent of married Americans in the South waited until after they were married to purchase a home, compared to 60 percent of Americans in the Northeast.
â€¢ Only 16 percent of married U.S. adults have not purchased a home together with their current spouse.
Ludwig says the tasks involved with a home purchase can strengthen a marriage. â€œ(Married couples) not only learn about each otherâ€™s wishes and dreams during this process, but they also learn how to be practical with each other and compromise,â€ he says. â€œBuying a home has more of an impact on a coupleâ€™s relationship than any other purchase they will ever make.â€ Impact of home buying on a marriage
â€¢ 93 percent of homeowners who purchased their first home while married always planned on owning a home after marrying.
â€¢ 80 percent said purchasing a home with their spouse did more to strengthen their relationship as a couple and family than any other purchase they have made together.
â€¢ Over one-third of married homeowners (35 percent) wish they had taken the plunge (into homeownership) sooner than they actually did.
Ludwig offers the following tips for couples buying their first home together: 1. Decide â€œneedsâ€ vs. â€œwants,â€ and be willing to compromise. Ludwig says itâ€™s common for a couple to uncover conflicting values, interests, likes, dislikes and tastes to come that create tension. But no one gets everything on their checklist, so itâ€™s important to compromise to get a home that pleases both people. Patience, understanding, compassion and compromise are key. 2. Work together to prioritize whatâ€™s important in a home. Make an independent list and compare notes. Even the closest couples are still two people with separate ideas and agendas. Searching for a home can bring up a coupleâ€™s different priorities and ideas about life. Working together to decide what is best for a combined future strengthens the bond between individuals and prepares couples to effectively deal with future disagreements. 3. Be open, honest and organized with finances. This includes the ability to talk about personal savings, debts, budgets and credit ratings. Money is one of the leading causes of marital discord.
4. Think about the future for three, five and even 10 years down the road. Before buying a home, talk about plans for careers, having a family, and what that means in terms of neighborhood and space. For some people, talking about their future needs creates anxiety. Support each other if it does.