Are you ready to take the next step in your relationship and buy your first home as a couple? If such a project appears very exciting on paper, it generally also comes with its share of hoops and hurdles. No matter the intensity and depth of the love you share, reality can be slightly less glamorous than what you might have expected.
Indeed, when buying a home with a partner, it isn’t all rainbows and unicorns. You will need to prepare yourselves for a few complicated, heated conversations, and be ready to compromise. You will also need to anticipate the worst that could happen (like unexpected job loss or a change in your financial situation). In other words, to successfully buy a home as a couple, the key is to communicate and anticipate.
Set a budget (and get pre-approved for a loan)
Before you even discuss what your dream house might look like, you need to figure out what you can afford. How much deposit have you saved? How much can you borrow from the bank and under what conditions? Can you benefit from grants like the first home loan deposit scheme?
When doing the maths and writing your figures down, try to be realistic or even conservative. The aim is to come up with a budget that will allow you to enjoy the same lifestyle, but without putting too much mortgage pressure on your shoulders, and on your relationship. A general rule is to make sure that repayments won’t exceed 28-30% of your take-home pay.
Know (and agree on) what you want
Now that you have a set budget and, therefore, a better idea of what you can afford, the fun part can begin. But before you start hunting for the house of your dreams, you will need to know and agree on what exactly you are looking for. Couples often believe they are on the same page but then realise once they start the visits that this is far from being the case.
House hunt with a plan
House hunting can be as exciting as it can be depressing. Competition can be harsh, making finding and securing your dream home a real challenge. So be ready to embark on an emotional roller-coaster.
But that’s not it. More than likely, it will take you a few tries before you find a home for which you might think about making an offer. For this reason, house hunting can also become very time-consuming. This is why you need to have a precise plan and stick to it. We buy houses in Peachtree Corners
When doing your research, set up alerts on real estate apps and websites, and register your interest with your local LJ Hooker real estate agent to be notified when something meeting your criteria comes up on the market. You will save some precious time and energy by narrowing down your selection as much as you can. Focus on homes that meet all your must-haves and pay attention to your deal-breakers, no matter how great the place might seem otherwise.
Make the right offer to secure your dream home
You finally found your dream home and feel ready to take the plunge and make an offer. Most likely, you will either buy by private treaty sale or at auction. But how do you give yourselves the best chance to secure your new love nest?
If you’re buying by private treaty, coming up with an offer can sometimes be tricky. You will need to figure out if the price asked for the property seems fair, and agree on how much you are willing to offer. Depending on the competition, on the information you managed to gather about the seller, and on how much you want this home, you might want to try to seal the deal and make your best offer straight away. This will limit the risk of losing the property to another buyer.
Protect your future (and prepare for the worst)
Sometimes, couples grow apart and split up. But that’s not it. Even if it’s not as fun as discussing how you will arrange and decorate your new home, you need to think about protecting your asset. Think about how things should work if you become (temporarily) unable to pay your mortgage back: separation, redundancy, loss of job, illness or even death. For all these reasons, it is crucial for unmarried couples to address any potential hiccups they could face down the track. That means not only getting all the right insurances, but also putting everything in writing in a co-purchase agreement in case of a breakup.