Buying a home can be, at turns, exiting and harrowing. On the one hand, the prospect of owning property is cause for celebration. But the realities of finding a suitable place to live and the thought of taking on 30 years of debt can definitely set you back a step or two. And the truth is that shopping for a home as a couple can be both more complicated and more rewarding, depending on how you handle the situation. That said, if you go into the process with a few simple guidelines to follow and some tips and tricks to help you out, you don’t exactly have to reinvent the wheel. You can ensure a positive experience is had by all and that the result is a house you can both call home. Here are a few helpful hints to get you going when you house hunt with your honey.
- Get on the same page. You really shouldn’t start looking at property until you agree on what it is you’re looking for. Both of you should start by making lists of wants and needs. Then compare your lists. You’ll probably have some of the same items, which you can transfer to a master list. And you’ll likely each have items the other didn’t think of, but agrees with. From there you should negotiate the priorities for the remainder of your lists. Armed with the knowledge of what you both want, what you both need, and what you can compromise on or live without, you should have a pretty clear path moving forward.
- Get pre-approved. This is a good idea whether you’re looking for a house alone or as a couple. Pre-approval not only clues you in to exactly what you can afford, but it also makes it easier to put in a bid on any property you fancy. Some sellers won’t even entertain a bid from a buyer that isn’t pre-approved for a mortgage loan, and that could mean losing out on your dream home to a buyer that’s better prepared.
- Get the right apps. There are so many mobile apps designed to help you in your house hunt. You might want to start with MLS apps like Zillow and Trulia. But don’t forget those like Redfin that offer extras like online walk-throughs and the ability to save faves and keep tabs on changes. You might also want to download the Bankrate app so you can calculate mortgage payments on the fly. Don’t forget apps like Home Design 3D and Magic Plan that let you input room measurements. Before you buy, it might be nice to make sure your furniture will fit through the door and in the rooms.
- Get an agent. When viewing homes, you’ll generally find yourself looking at listings managed by real estate agents, like David Painter Properties of Keller Williams Realty. The seller’s agent will assuredly be looking out for the best interests of his/her clients. If you want the same consideration, it’s a good idea to get your own representation for the buying process. An agent’s knowledge and experience could save you a lot of time, money, and heartache.
- Get ready for a long road. Is it possible that the very first listing you view could be your dream home, that it could fall within your budget, and that you could secure the winning bid? Yes. It’s also possible that there’s intelligent life somewhere in space. In other words, don’t get your hopes up. The truth is that you’re going to view a lot of properties and make some compromises before you settle on a suitable home. And if you want to avoid some of the biggest house hunting mistakes, it’s best to take your time. Patience will help to ensure that you make a wise decision (rather than an emotional one) and end up with a home you’ll both enjoy.