What Do We Want In A Home?
For whatever reasons you decided on as a team, the home search is officially on! Before setting up meetings with realtors or diving into your savings accounts, psychologist Yvonne Thomas, Ph.D. recommends taking a step back. Even if you are on the same page about why you want a home, now you need to answer the “what” by identifying your top priorities for your future purchase.
If you’ve ever watched a house-hunting television show, you know what to think about: location, size, amenities, age of the property, and (of course) price. Be prepared for a heated discussion, since it’s unlikely you and your number one will agree on every little detail. The purpose here is to see if you can find a way to meet in the middle, without losing your temper.
“By discussing these types of details and deal-breakers, the couple can pinpoint whether they are aligned enough or not on what they are ultimately looking for in a house to purchase,” Thomas says. “This is where working together and compromising is very healthy and necessary.”
What Is Our Budget—And Timeline—To Save?
Now that you have a ballpark estimate of your price range, it’s time to team up and decide how you’re going to save for a down payment. There is no magical percentage a couple needs to put down, but it’s usually recommended to come with 20 to 30 percent, so you are paying interest rates for a shorter period of time. It is possible to save up enough cash for this investment, especially with two incomes, but it takes work from both people.
According to Thomas, your first goal is determining how you’ll work together to make your house dreams a reality. As you go line-by-line through expenses, speak candidly about what you are willing to give up. Can you get by on just Netflix, and skip Hulu, for a year? Could you go out to dinner once a week, instead of twice? Do you really need to stay at a four-star hotel, or could you get by with a three? These cuts should be balanced between you and your partner since no one should have to carry the burden alone.\
Los Angeles Therapist, Yvonne Thomas is quoted in “7 Money Conversations Every Couple Should Have Before Buying A House Together” on realsimple.com