Getting married and buying a first home are two of the most stressful events a young couple can undertake, yet newlyweds consistently take on these goals back to back – often within the same year. We’ve created these home buying tips specifically with newlywed couples in mind. We hope you’ll learn from the mistakes we’ve seen some of our buyer couples make when purchasing their first home together!
Both Newlyweds Should Make a List of Must Haves in Their New Home
This is not a dream list of wants but rather features that you must have in your home together. Examples can include a fenced backyard for your dog or a walk in closet in the master bedroom. Once you’ve each made your list, compare them to see which features are shared and which ones are different.
Choose Your Trade Offs
Which features are most important and which ones can you live without? If you and your hubby’s lists are exactly the same, then congratulations! You’re a rare couple! However, almost every couple has to choose among homes that don’t have every single thing on their list. And this is true for couples in the million dollar range, too. Perhaps Home A has the fenced backyard you need but only a one car garage. Or maybe Home B has a two car garage, but the kitchen needs updating.
Communication is key during this part of the home search – both with your Realtor and with each other. The buying process is always easier and less stressful when we’re all on the same page. Your Realtor might be able to solve some of the problems you encounter. For example, if a home has all of your must haves except a fence, she can recommend a good contractor to install one post closing.
Get Pre Approved Before You Start Scheduling Showings
Before you start seeing homes in person, it’s important to talk with your lender so that you know what price range you should be considering. It’s impossible for newlyweds to know their borrowing power when they’ve never bought a house together. Your lender will be able to look at both your credit reports, talk with you about monthly payment amounts you’re comfortable with, and find the right type of loan for your financial situation.
From experience, I can tell you that it’s better to go through the pre approval process before you start scheduling appointments to see homes. Especially when comparing Charleston homes for sale, a $300,000 price range yields very different options than a $225,000 price range. After viewing the $300K homes and getting a buyer’s hopes up, it can be hard to swallow the difference in the finishes and locations of a $225K home. However, if you start out in the right price range, you’ll have a more realistic outlook on the types of homes that meet your budget.
Make Sure That Both Parties are Happy with the Home
This is going to be your first home together as a married couple, and you want to make the best decision possible. Sometimes I see a husband or wife making all the decisions or feeling stuck with more of the responsibility. This imbalance can cause frustration and resentment at a time that should be full of excitement and pride. My best advice is to choose your battles and ensure that both buyers feel confident about the home they choose.
Remember That This is Probably Not Your Forever Home
Newly married couples tend to have an overwhelming amount of financial obligations compared to the income they earn. Whether you’re paying off student loans, wedding costs, a much deserved honeymoon, initiating retirement plans, or saving money for a baby, understand that your first home together probably won’t be your dream home. Instead, think of this purchase as an investment or a stepping stone. You might have to settle for vinyl siding or less square footage, but the great thing about real estate is that you can always sell your home and buy a bigger one.