Buying a house together is an exciting prospect, whether you’re experiencing the first rush of newlywed bliss or you’ve just committed to move in with someone you love. Just make sure the home search doesn’t derail your relationship! With a lot of discussion and a little effort, you’ll be able to find a place you both love. If you settle on some details before you start looking for a home together, you’ll save some time, too.
Look at your habits around the house. How often do you need to work at home and how much private space do you need to do that? How much do the two of you like to entertain? Does one of you like to go to sleep a little earlier, while the other prefers to stay up and watch TV or do laundry? How do you feel about long, uninterrupted baths? Do you prefer to dress out of the clean laundry basket or put things away in closets and dressers? Ask yourselves how you’ll be able to do the things that are important to you in your new space, without wanting to kill each other.
Have a good long talk about neighborhood. If you’re already living in the same neighborhood, and you both like it, this one should be easy. But if you aren’t, and you have different feelings about how close to work and other places you want to be, this could take some discussion. If one person has a long commute and the other one is home by six pm every day, who cooks?
How much space do you need, and how much can you afford? If your partner needs space for things you don’t, you aren’t allowed to complain about it. Your needs are hers or his, and vice versa. His dog is your dog, so you may need a larger, fenced in yard. Her need for a home office is your need, even if the space is dedicated to her work and you can’t use it. You’ll need to figure out how to live in harmony. Sharing a bedroom doesn’t always mean you need just one. If his out of town relatives will be coming to stay, a spare bedroom is essential. If she snores during allergy season, your happiness, and sleep schedule, will be preserved by another bedroom for an occasional retreat from the noise.
Looking at a fixer upper? How you feel about DIY? Talk about how much you can fix yourselves, and how much you want to. There are expenses associated with owning a house that you don’t have as a renter. Even if you both owned homes, you may have different views about when to DIY and when to call a repair person. If you’re planning on remodeling together, know each other’s expectations.
So, are you ready? Your home search together will be fun, and probably a great bonding experience, but it helps to go into it with open eyes!