4 Fights All Couples Have When Buying Their First Home
First comes love, then comes house hunting heartbreak. Don’t get us wrong—it’s all fun and games popping in and out of open houses, but if your S.O. doesn’t agree with your taste in kitchens or you fall in love with something slightly outside your budget, all bets are off. According to a new survey from Lending Home, 60 percent of home-buying couples admit to tense times during their real estate search. Here, the four most common fights and how to resolve them.
How Much Debt to Take On
Running the numbers is hard. It also requires total transparency. But assessing your debt-to-income ratio early, say, on a $400,000 house, is essential so that you’re both on the same page about your finances and how much wiggle room you really have. (Remember that there will be additional costs like legal fees and moving expenses, so you can't have every last cent going toward mortgage payments.)
The Style (and Location) of Your Future Home
Your hubby wants a starter home, but you’re more interested in a gigantic fixer-upper. You’re down to invest in a cute pied-à-terre in the city whereas your spouse is ready to relocate to a cabin in the woods. In this department, communication—and compromise—is key. It’s not that you can’t find a middle ground—you both just have to be willing to hear each other out on what that solution may be. (And spend a day or two indulging his hunting cabin dream before putting your foot down.)
How Big the House Should Be
Truth: Just because you prequalify for a $2 million mortgage doesn’t mean that’s the type of investment you want to take on. There's a common misconception (well, in America) that bigger is always better. But unless you're really down for furnishing, cleaning and maintaining a seven-bedroom, 4,000 square-foot mansion, it's often more trouble than it's worth. Talk with your partner about what your space needs really are and what the upkeep would be on a such an investment.
How Much Time to Devote to DIY
Some people love to fill their weekends with Home Depot runs. (We applaud you.) But if you—or your partner—don’t envision yourself replacing the countertops casually on a Saturday, you need to be up front about it from the start. And if you are down for some DIY, just be sure you’re both clear on what those home renovations will entail, not just from a financial perspective but also in terms of time. (Cue the honest assessment from a contractor you trust before going through with the sale.)