Guest Blog by Natalie Jones
Occasionally, I receive requests to share guest posts by various writers. I love doing this because, as a writer myself, I enjoy sharing other people’s thoughts and insights. This post doesn’t have anything to do with what I usually write about, but it is interesting, nevertheless, and so I wanted to share. I recently went through the experience of purchasing a house. It can be stressful, challenging, intense, and ultimately, rewarding. My husband and I bought a fixer upper. It’s a lot of work, but also fun to transform the house into our own vision. This article is very informative about purchasing a home. And because my husband is transitioning into another career as a realtor, I found it especially interesting.
A Team Effort: How Couples Can Avoid Conflict During the Home Buying Process
Buying a new house is one of the most consequential decisions you and your partner will ever make. It’s not like choosing between a cat or dog for a pet or even what kind of car to buy. It’s probably the biggest financial investment of your married life, which means conflict is a possibility unless both of you are on the same page and remain honest with each other from start to finish. Buying the home of your dreams isn’t worth much if your relationship suffers irreparable harm over an experience that should bring you closer together.
Get on the Same Wavelength
Couples often have different ideas when it comes to selecting a new home. One of you might be on the same page as far as location goes but be miles apart concerning how much house you can afford. One might want a split level, whereas the other may prefer a ranch-style home. Some couples have different ideas about what to do with a home. You and your spouse may diverge on any number of points, which is why it’s important to have a very open and frank (though respectful) discussion before jumping into such an important, life-changing endeavor.
Belongings and Storage
Belongings, especially those the two of you can’t seem to agree on, can also be a source of conflict during this process. Your spouse’s grandmother’s creaky old bed may be more valuable as an antique than as a piece of furniture. Either way, consider putting anything you’re having trouble deciding about in storage until you’re both on the same page. Before you make this decision, consider if you have room in your budget to rent one; for example, a five-by-five unit in Colorado Springs costs on average $42.11 per month. You may also need a rental truck to move your belongings, which can run you around $19.99 per day (plus mileage).
Know Where You Stand
Order your credit reports and go through them item by item, checking for inaccuracies that need to be cleared up. Be aware, however, that you may come across something your spouse wasn’t aware of, a financial mistake you made before you and your spouse even met. Remember that what happened years ago isn’t what’s important. Knowing how your credit profile affects you and doing something to improve your standing is what matters.
Consult a realtor and mortgage loan officer to get an idea of what you should be concerned with (and what items should or shouldn’t be challenged). The next step is to assess your financial position, including debt-to-income ratio, and any additional sources of income. Factor in the cost of home repairs, which you can count on facing at some point, and create an emergency fund. Some experts advise setting aside 1 percent of the value of your home.
An Agent You Can Trust
There’s no substitute for an experienced, sympathetic, and friendly real estate agent. Your agent is an advisor, mediator, and advocate during the home buying process, and a source of valuable information for both of you. A good agent can also act as an arbiter when you and your spouse disagree over some point. Ask friends and co-workers about agents they’ve worked with; chances are, someone can put you in touch with the right person, but it’s important that both of you feel comfortable with whomever you choose to do business.
A Team Effort
Bear in mind that this should be a “team effort,” not a task for one of you to dominate while the other concedes. You’ll probably live there for many years, and you want them to be happy ones. So, adopt the position that your partner’s wishes and concerns are as much yours as theirs.
Honesty: It’s the cornerstone of any successful marriage, and it will serve you very well during the home-buying process. Being honest about your finances, wishes, and dislikes will make it much easier to navigate what can be a tense and anxious experience. Remember that finding a home that makes you both happy is your ultimate objective.
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