It’s not uncommon in this day and age for couples to delay marriage but move forward with their lives as a couple, and buying a home is definitely one of the most significant steps of couple-hood. However, as magical as it may sound, a couple that buys a house together before they are ready can find themselves in a world of grief. So before you get into that homeownership arena, here are a few things the two of you should discuss beforehand:
1.) Keep the payments low. Money issues are the number one item of tension in a relationship, so you’ll want to keep the money side of things rather light. It’s recommended that a couple planning to purchase a home keep their payments below 25% of their income. This should give each person enough breathing room to keep from feeling trapped by their monthly payments.
2.) Weigh each of your opinions equally. A home is a huge purchase, so both of you have an opinion. That means location, thesize, the amenities, everything needs to be discussed between the two of you. There may be other areas in the relationship where one person often dominates (picking a place to eat or choosing which movie to see), but buying a home is not one of them. If both of you do not speak up about your needs (and both of you do not listen to your partner about their needs), everything is sure to backfire later.
3.) You have to talk about money. One common problem many couples have when discussing finances is…they don’t. It’s not romantic to talk about money, so the subject often gets swept under the rug. This is simply unacceptable in this situation. Both of you need to address how you will pay your monthly mortgage payment, as well as utilities and potential repairs. And who will you divvy up the payments? Do you want to proportion your payments, as in if one of you makes twice as much as the other does that person pay double the house payment? Or should everything be split down the middle, 50/50?
4.) Consider using a mediator. People often think of mediators as a person that is brought in when two people are too immature to handle things themselves, most often during a divorce, but a mediator is much more than that. A trained mediator in this situation would be used as a third party to bounce ideas off of and gain a third perspective. They can guide you to solutions you might not have considered on your own and they can level an argument before it gets out of control. Plus, it’s an instant way to prevent stalemates by having a third, non-biased opinion on tough to talk about topics.