How to Make a Home with Your Partner without Breaking Your Bond
Guest Article by Natalie Jones at homeownerbliss.info
There are a few big milestones in a couple’s life that might cause friction and test the relationship: weddings, first-time parenting, and buying a house. These events signify major life changes, large expenses, and big decisions. They can lead to high stress and unbreakable tension. How do you get through these significant life transitions without losing your relationship in the process? Specifically, how do you buy a home together without causing irreversible damage to your bond?
Be clear and upfront about your financials. Home buying is a time when the truth comes out about your financial state, because the cost of a home isn’t cheap. When you buy a house together, a mortgage company looks at your income, assets, and credit score. Anything that you hadn’t been upfront about to your partner will come out of the shadows. As a result, a fight could ensue about money and trust. Have an honest, open conversation with each other about where you both are financially before any of this happens. It’s always better to tell each other face to face than to find out about it when the lender rejects your loan application.
Focus on your agreements. No two people will ever agree on everything, and this rule certainly applies to lifelong decisions like buying and decorating a home. Make sure to zero in on what you both mutually want, and find ways to put the disagreements to the side. It might mean that you have to give up things that your partner won’t agree to bring into the home, but you don’t have to get rid of those items. You can store those extra items until there’s a good time or place to bring them in. Storage units in Seattle have cost about $92.97 during the last six months, so this extra expense could bring peace to your relationship.
Be willing to compromise. As the Rolling Stones song goes, “You can’t always get what you want.” One of you might want a backyard while the other one wants a pool, and one of you might want a kitchen island while the other wants a half bathroom downstairs. It’s not always possible to find a house that fits everyone’s checklist, but you both can have some of what you want if you’re willing to give up other features. Do some research on the cost to add on features to keep the experience a smooth one.
Make personal sacrifices for the greater good. Sacrifice means giving up frivolous spending to save money for the house. Home ownership expenses don’t stop after the sale. While you might spend less on mortgage, money will be spent elsewhere on home maintenance and renovations. In fact, the Balance asserts you should plan on spending 1 percent of your home’s value on repair projects each year; since Seattle homes currently average a listing price of almost $665K, having $6,650 set aside for home projects each year is a safe bet. With that in mind, it’s only fair that both parties agree on what’s okay to spend. One way to handle it is to open a joint bank account for homeowner expenses and use individual accounts to spend on whatever you choose.
Bring in an objective third party. Neither one of you is right, and neither one of you is wrong. Your wants and opinions are perfectly valid, even if they conflict with what your partner wants. It’s easy to become attached to what you thought your dream home would be, and it sometimes takes an objective person to help you put things into perspective. A friend, relative, or real estate agent could help you decide which features are important right now, and their perspective can help you make a choice that’s best for you and your partner.
Be forgiving. There will be fights - plenty of them. You might really dislike each other at some points, but it’s important to apologize and forgive each other. As this process unfolds, remember that the tension is temporary. Your disagreements don’t have to tear you apart, and your bond is stronger than the differences that you have.
There will come a time when the house is bought and you’re all moved in. When that day comes, enjoy this first home that you’ve made together. The stress that it took to get there will become a distant memory, and many joyous memories will be built in your new family home to take its place.
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