City or country? Lake or ocean? Modern décor or vintage? Sometimes couples just can’t see eye to eye on their dream home.
Before you call off a deal based on whether a home has a basement or, say, an open-plan kitchen, you should have a heart-to-heart talk about each person’s definition of the home they want and which features are most important.
Below we give some tips on how to compromise when shopping together, with diplomacy and grace.
When you’re ready to start looking, get pre-approved for a home purchase loan at loanDepot first in order to clarify your budget and optimize your bargaining power.
Discuss all the details
Long before you take the plunge and purchase a home together, you’ll want to have some honest and open conversations about what kind of home you’re looking for. What’s your price range and why (i.e. what expenses do you have to take into account)? What’s your ideal location? Big yard or small? How important is a neighborhood’s proximity to public schools? How safe is the area? Do you prefer, say, a ranch home or a colonial? All of these questions can help paint a picture of your dream home so that you and your buying partner are both fully aware of what the other wants.
Next, listen to the other’s description of a dream home and find common ground where you can. For example, if you both want to buy in a suburb and want more space for the money, that’s a good place to start. If one person is set on the city and another favors the country, you might want to meet somewhere in the middle. In this phase, look for home features that you both desire and then start to shape your search from that. Don’t forget to research and discuss commuting time and costs. The reality can be more expensive than you realize.
Sometimes, Realtors suggest that each person list the top 10 or 20 features that would make up their dream home. Then, compare lists to find similarities – which will guide you on what to focus on during your home search.
Put it into context
No one has a crystal ball to predict the future, but you’ll also want to discuss your expectations around how long you’ll stay in this home. If you’re looking to purchase a starter home that you’ll outgrow once you have children, it might be easier to compromise on certain things. However, if you’re looking for your forever home, you’ll want to take a stand on the features that are truly important to you.
Distinguish needs from wants
Eventually, you’ll have to draw the line between which features are needed to close the deal and which ones you would like, but can live without. Have your partner do the same. Then, you can set a list of goals that might help to make those “nice to have” features a reality in the future. For example, if a finished basement is “nice to have,” you can settle on an unfinished basement that you can renovate in years to come. In fact, setting goals for your home from the get-go is not only helpful for staying on track for home improvements and budgeting, but can be fun and exciting too.
Test the waters
If you’re having a difficult time compromising or meeting in the middle, tour a few homes with a promise to keep an open mind and minimal expectations. This can help clarify the realities of what you can afford and you may find you are not responding emotionally to certain features the way you expected to. For instance, maybe you thought you wanted a large yard, but find yourself drawn to neatly landscaped town homes? Or, once you’ve walked through a few homes, you begin to see how difficult a larger home might be to keep clean?
Be candid and honest about your own feelings and be willing to admit you’ve changed your mind about certain features. The priority is for you both to be happy with your choices.
Lean on your real estate professional
Don’t be afraid to tap your real estate agent for advice when you and your partner are having a difficult time agreeing on your home search. Your agent has in-depth knowledge of the local housing market and can provide sound advice on what types of features will have the best resale value in the future. He or she will also have a pretty good idea about what’s attainable within your budget.
With these tips in mind, you and your significant other could soon be well on your way to finding a dream home that meets both of your wishes. Keep in mind that a house becomes a home from the people and the memories shared in it. In other words, any home has the potential to become a dream home over time.
Published Feb. 1, 2018
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