Getting ready to purchase a home with your spouse is an exciting and nerve-wracking step in your relationship. After spending time getting to know one another and making a commitment through marriage, you’re finally ready to intertwine your finances and find a place to call home. Whether you’re more excited or anxious about this next step, this post is for you. To make the home buying process as seamless as possible for purchasing your first home as a married couple, we’ve outlined four tips below.
1. Determine whether or not you’re ready in your relationship
For many, marriage signifies the ultimate commitment in a relationship; while legally-binding and symbolically significant, investing in real estate can be an even bigger jump. Besides having finances in the game, buying a home involves lots of other handling of assets, too. What’s more, the process can be seriously taxing if you’re not ready.
If you and your partner have lived together and are in alignment as far as living standards, expectations, and communication styles go, venturing into real estate may be a perfect next step for the two of you. On the other hand, couples who are struggling with finances or can’t find common ground in common area cleaning may want to wait out this step.
Wherever you are on the spectrum, know that homeownership is entirely possible for you and your partner. More time often means more certainty and in turn, more confidence.
2. Assess your finances as individuals and as a couple
If after examining your relationship you decide you’re ready to buy a home, it’s time to assess your finances both as individuals and as a couple. Most homebuyers need to get financing through a mortgage lender in order to buy a house, therefore, you’ll need to ensure your financial history is intact enough to qualify.
Here are some tips to help you properly vet your own finances:
- Check your credit score: For a conventional loan, most lenders require a minimum FICO score of at least 620 while FHA loans are between 500 and 580 depending on the down payment. Consumers are entitled to one free credit report per year but most banks and credit card issuers provide some form of credit reporting to members.
- Review your down payment budget: The higher down payment you’re able to make, the better. Putting more money down on your dream house will allow you to save money in interest on your loan. Experts generally recommend putting down around 20%.
- Consider loan terms: Unless you purchase a property outright, you’re likely to spend between 15 and 30 years paying off your mortgage, depending on your loan terms. To help you better plan for the future, use a loan repayment calculator.
3. Identify and agree on a budget early on
Anytime you’re combining finances with someone, it’s important to make sure you’re on the same page as far as budgets go. Buying a house is a big investment, so you want to be sure both parties are comfortable spending an agreed amount before you proceed.
Once you’ve identified and agreed on a budget, it’s time for the fun part…searching for your dream house! As you create your wish list, consider these features:
- Neighborhood — is it walkable to restaurants, parks, and other attractions?
- School district — a good district can be great for your kids and it also increases property value.
- Commute — how far is it from your work and what is the traffic like?
- Growth — is the area up and coming or is it at a standstill?
4. Choose your real estate agent carefully
Some buyers choose to go it alone while others enlist the help of a realtor to support them through the homebuying process. If you align with the latter, you’ll want to be thoughtful of who you choose to help. When it comes to finding a realtor, look for these characteristics:
- Negotiating skills
- Good fit for your personality
- Successful statistics both buying and selling homes
- Good reviews from people in your desired area
- Strong work ethic
- Good connections
We hope these tips soothed some of the stress associated with buying a house as a married couple. As you embark on this exciting journey, remember to enjoy this special time with your partner!
Thanks for stopping by today, I hope you’ve enjoyed this post.