Whether you have been together for years or your relationship is still new, buying your first home together is a big deal. Here are some tips for purchasing your first home together and what you can do to navigate it smoothly.
Plan & Save
First, having open and honest communication about your finances is vital. Realistically you will need some time to save for your dream home and get your finances in order.
When applying for home finance together, you need to qualify as co-buyers, both having a steady income, a qualifying credit score, work history, and savings. Start by improving your individual credit scores.
Even if you have separate bank accounts, use an app like MyFico, which helps track and improve your finances and credit. If you set clear goals and communicate in a productive manner from the beginning, it will save you’re a lot of stress and disagreements down the road.
When buying a home with your significant other, whether married or not, you need to first get mortgage pre-approval before starting your home search.
Securing a mortgage in principle will give you an idea of what you can afford together and what type of loans works for you both.
A mortgage adviser such as Trussle will do a soft credit check and check your eligibility with 18 different lenders to give you the most accurate picture of what you can borrow together.
Before you set foot in your first home viewing, decide your priorities or must-haves from your new home.
Looking through real estate sites can be overwhelming, with many options that can easily distract. You can easily get diverted by a flashy pool or beautiful decorations but don’t get sucked in by superficial decorations or staging.
Start with what type of property you would like, whether a condominium/apartment or house, and the pros and cons of each. Build your needs and wants list from there, including the school district, neighborhood, repairs, and number of rooms.
There is an app for everything nowadays, even making decisions, Pros-Cons Decision Maker app will help you start building your home list together.
Use a real estate agent
Meet as a couple with your real estate agent, and communicate openly and honestly from the beginning. Approaching a real estate agent with your mortgage in principle and a clear objective shows that you are serious home buyers and will make you far more attractive to sellers.
Professional and experienced real estate agents with Century 21 or similar agencies have up-to-date market knowledge and can help negotiate the best price. It is a good idea to meet with a few real estate agents at the beginning to get a feel for who you could both work best with.
Enjoy the journey
Buying your first home is one of the biggest steps as a couple you will make, so enjoy the process and have fun. It will take some time to figure out what you want and what you need to compromise on in your home search, so have patience and don’t rush into a decision. If you follow these simple tips, you won’t just save time and money but will make the journey more manageable.