Home Buying as a Team: 4 Tips for a Smooth Decision
Anyone who has bought their own home will tell you it is a very subjective process. When you are buying a home with another person, you may face differences of opinion that make choosing a house more difficult.
Settle these four things before you start your search, and you will have a much smoother buying process.
Establish Full Financial Honesty
Buying a home is typically an opportunity to you look at your finances more closely than you have in years. After you've decided on a home is not a good time to discover that you or your buying partner have not been on the same page about your use of money. Studies indicate that money is the biggest stressor in a partnership. Put the stress of home buying together with some oversights in financial disclosure, and you may have a volatile situation.
Before you even start thinking about buying a home, obtain full copies of your credit reports, print out all credit card and bank statements, and show every detail to each other.
Prioritize Wants and Needs
You want a big yard, and your buying partner would rather have a smaller space that is easier to keep. Not all of your desires and expectations will be mutually exclusive like these, but you still need to find a way to prioritize everything.
It may make sense to create three lists:
- things you need and will not buy without
- aspects that are nice to have but not 100 percent necessary
- features you do not care about
Be sure to prioritize all of the items on each person’s first list. The others will be easier to negotiate, since such amenities are not generally deal breakers.
Work as a Team
Home buying duos should keep in mind the fact that they are buying as a team. It helps to avoid common pitfalls that often occur during the home buying process, such as arguing over who is spending more time shopping for a home, or who kicked in the most money for the down payment. Go into the decision with clear-cut expectations for each person, and stick to them.
If you find that the process is creating more conflict than you expected, take home buying off the table for a month or two, or schedule a few sessions with a mediator of some sort to help you get back on track.
Define Veto Power
When you are trying to buy a home, the only thing less convenient than having to back out on the process is to make a purchase that one of you did not want. Home buying is a huge financial commitment for decades, unless you are paying cash. It is absolutely vital that both parties are 100 percent on board.
That does not mean that each person has to be completely delighted with every aspect of the home, nor does it mean that one person gets to veto every suggestion from the other without offering alternatives. However, it does mean that if one person thinks buying a certain property is going to be a bad investment, you should move on to other options.
Since financial issues can lead to big disagreements in partnerships, and buying a home is one of the biggest financial decisions you will make, it makes sense that you should do what you can to decrease the conflict up front. Get these four items in order before you buy, and you will be able to go into the decision making process with confidence.
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