Purchasing a home with a partner is one of the biggest milestones you can reach in life. After all, a home is not just a physical space, but also a reflection of your lifestyle and aspirations. Whether you’re buying your first or second home, or maybe just making an investment purchase, it’s not something to take lightly. Here are some important questions to ask to make sure everyone is on the same page and has the same expectations so the home buying process is both enjoyable and successful.
Why are we buying a home?
What is your motivation for buying a new home? Is it because that’s the next step? Because everyone else you know is buying? A mortgage is a long-term financial commitment. There should be a lot of careful consideration made before taking this step. Be honest with your reasons for wanting to buy and be prepared to talk it through with your partner.
How are our finances?
Discussing money can get tricky. Since there are a lot of financial responsibilities that come with buying a home, this conversation is unavoidable. You want to make sure your finances can manage a major expense. You will need to be upfront and lay out all the details: discuss your income, current expenses, credit score, and all of your debt. This is the same information mortgage companies will assess when reviewing your mortgage application so it’s worth being candid now to avoid any unpleasant surprises later on.
When it comes to buying a home, it’s important to have a clear understanding of what you can afford. Mortgage pre-approvals are helpful but base your buying budget on just that. Owning a home is more than just the mortgage payment: there are also utility bills, maintenance and repairs, property tax, and insurance. Carefully review your income and expenses (including any debt) and calculate how much you can comfortably afford, including how you’ll save for the down payment.
You should also discuss how housing expenses will be split. There isn’t one right way to split expenses – whether it’s 50-50 or a proportion based on income. Just make it clear from the beginning and have ongoing conversations to make adjustments as financial circumstances change.
Where do we want to live?
As you start building a life with someone, an important question to consider is where you both see yourselves being the happiest. This conversation can reveal a lot about your priorities and values as a couple. Perhaps you both love the bustling lifestyle of the city and can’t imagine living anywhere else or maybe you’re both drawn to the calmness and greenery of the suburbs. It’s important to uncover these preferences early on, even if it causes a slight contention.
When searching for a new home, it’s important to recognize that you and your partner may have vastly different priorities when it comes to what you want in a home. You may be dreaming of a spacious living room that can comfortably host all of your friends and family, while your partner might have their heart set on a luxurious, state-of-the-art kitchen. Taking the time to sit down and separately list out what each of you values in a home can be a great exercise in compromise. By comparing your lists and boiling them down to the essentials, you can identify deal-breakers and areas where you’re willing to compromise. Ultimately, this process can help you find a home that truly meets both your needs and desires.
What happens if we break up?
Talking about the end of a relationship can be uncomfortable and emotional, but it is an important conversation to have if you are considering purchasing a home together. Life is unpredictable, and even the strongest relationships can face unexpected challenges. It is essential to speak with a legal advisor to understand the complexities and potential consequences if you are unmarried, but married couples shouldn’t ignore this step either. Developing a house ownership agreement can help you address crucial details upfront, such as how you will split costs, allocate ownership percentages, deal with disputes, or handle a breakup or death. While you may never need to use this agreement, it’s reassuring to know that you have a plan in place.
Buying a home is one of the biggest investments that you will make with your partner, so it’s important to navigate the process with mutual respect and open communication. We hope you’ll consider S&A Homes when you’re ready to buy a new construction home. To learn more about our amazing new home opportunities where we build in Central and South-Central Pennsylvania, including build on your lot and quick-move in homes, call 1-855-SAHOME1 or visit SAHomeBuilder.com.