Buying A Home As Newlyweds or as a Couple
Buying a home is a big step. It’s likely the largest purchase you’ll ever make and you want to do it right without regrets or mistakes. Buying a home with your partner or spouse can have its own issues and challenges.
As a new couple and first-time home buyer, you’ll want to have a good discussion about wants and needs. It may be time to compromise, so choosing your must-haves and wants from the start can help narrow things down. Maybe he wants a large garage or finished basement and maybe she wants a remodeled kitchen or bathroom.
Try to decide which favorite items on each list can be settled at a later date. Can you remodel the older kitchen next year or can you build a larger garage? As a first-time home buyer, you may be in a bit of a lower price range and there may be a few limitations. You may find all your dream items in one home or you may have to sacrifice something. Knowing what you want early on is helpful.
Get a Realtor/Buyer Agent that is experienced and someone you click with. Your agent will be your advocate, eyes, ears and brain behind the entire process. It’s invaluable. Make sure your agent doesn’t charge “junk/processing fees” or locks you into a binding agreement. Also avoid the national websites. The Zillow, Redfin, Trulia home search style websites can be a trap. Not only do they often have outdated information, but they will share your information with multiple agents. Some of those agents will represent the seller of the home and not you. You’ll get texts and spam constantly. No one wants that. Your agent should be the only person you call if you see a home online or driving around. If you contact a different agent or request “more information”, they may represent the seller and you may be losing negotiating power. I would be happy to explain this further and answer any questions. Contact me anytime.
Some couples have differing views on their future. Hopefully there’s not too much in the undecided column, but life tends to throw us curve balls sometimes unexpectedly. While house hunting, try to envision your next 4-6 years. Kids? Aging parents that my need to move in for a while or permanently? Home office? Pets? You may not know what’s in your future, but if you know for sure some of these may be a strong possibility, you’ll want to shop according to your next 4-6 years of life.
If you’re not planning on having children for a while, you may want to bypass good school districts or ultra low-crime areas that tend to be more expensive not only in property value but also taxes. Buying a lower priced home now can allow you to save for your next home. The average home buyer lives in a home for 4-6 years. You may be unique and want to stay in your home forever. Land may be a good option in this case. You’ll be able to expand your home with an addition, build a larger garage, etc.
Aging parents or perhaps you’ll need a room for a family member? Many people don’t think of the future in terms of handicap, mobility or needs of someone in their family down the road. This will help guide you in finding the right style of home. Ranch and bungalow homes offer bedrooms and baths on the first floor and in a bungalow you will often have additional bedrooms and a bathroom on the second floor. Colonial homes will typically have the bedrooms and sometimes a bathroom upstairs.
I’ve helped many first-time home buyers that initially thought they wanted a certain city like Lakewood or Rocky River but after having a good discussion, realized they weren’t planning on having children for quite a while. Many have ended up buying a home in West Park or the west side of Cleveland for a few years and then moving on. It’s an option and can put you in a position to be able to save for the future home.
Some newlyweds haven’t lived together yet and don’t really know what to expect or what they’ll need. Communication is key when it comes to making a good decision. Talk, talk and then talk some more about what you think your days and future will look like. Will he want a couple large dogs down the road? Will you have a large enough yard and is it fenced? Will you be able to fence the yard down the road? Will you be entertaining often? Will she need a home office or craft room? Perhaps an extra bedroom or room in the home will be needed and it’s possible a small home will suit your needs with less upkeep.
When it comes to chores and upkeep of the home itself, it’s a good idea to discuss who will do what and how things will be handled. Often times it’s the mundane chores of life that cause tension and stress in a relationship. It’s just not worth it. Decide upfront how things will be done. Sometimes having a good handy person to call can save a lot of time and stress and sometimes doing a project together can bring a couple closer. Only you know your relationship and what will work best.
So what are the most important things to consider and do when buying your first home together as a couple?
- Don’t buy beyond your budget.
- Communicate and know your needs/wants.
- Have an experienced Ohio Realtor (Buyer’s agent) to help guide you through the process.
- Decide on an area and home based on your next 4-6 years together.
- Be ready to compromise a bit if necessary.
If you’re buying a home in the Northeast, Ohio area, (Cleveland and surrounding suburbs) I would be happy to assist you. I’ve helped hundreds of happy home owners over the last fifteen years and I’ve dealt with all types of situations, personalities and challenges. I’m 100% free to work with and have great local experts in the field; lenders, title companies, inspectors, contractors, etc. Feel free to contact me anytime, I’m always happy to answer questions and help in any way!
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Cecilia Sherrard is a full-time Realtor in the Cleveland, Ohio area with RE/MAX Real Estate Group. Assisting home buyers and sellers in all areas since 2002. Cecilia Sherrard’s Bio