The purchase of their first home is a milestone for any couple — largely because it often takes so long to get there. So many variables are involved that it’s almost impossible to know where to start. Besides, there’s already planning for many other expenses on top of this, from student loans to new cars.
Luckily, with a few tips and tricks, couples can make this dream a reality. Here are a few ways you and your significant other can start to save for your first home.
Communication Is Key in a Relationship
Too often, couples don’t talk about their finances. In fact, a 2018 survey of over 1,000 couples found 38% of respondents didn’t know about their partner’s debts or assets. This lack of communication can cause immense stress, which then leads to arguments and fights.
Not a pretty picture, right? This why consistent, non-judgmental conversation is crucial when buying a home. You want to be open and honest with your partner so that you’re always on the same page. Talk about how much each of you makes, what you have saved and if you owe any debt.
This is also the perfect time to discuss general expectations related to finances. If your significant other wants to buy a new purse, do they need to let you know beforehand? Every couple is different, but the importance of communication remains the same.
Decide on Your Dream Home Qualities
When you can clearly envision the home you want to buy, it’s much easier to save. Create a list of needs and wants for your future house – is it more important to have a finished basement or a large backyard? What neighborhood is best for you? Answering these questions will help you narrow down your search so that you can save your time or money.
Afterward, look at each of your credit scores and start to shop around for mortgage rates. Once you know roughly what your first home will cost, you can save appropriately and apply for the right amount of assistance. Try not to go in blind – in this scenario, preparation is essential.
Track Your Expenses
Even if you don’t plan to buy a home right away, you should create a monthly budget to make the most of your money. It’s one thing to keep track of your own expenses, but when you throw another person into the mix, it can become a bit more complicated.
Sit down with your partner and begin with sharing your goals. These may be short-term things like a beach vacation or long-term objectives like saving for retirement. Then, see how long each of these will take to achieve and how much money you’ll need to set aside for them to happen.
You may find you both will need to eat out less or pick up side gigs to make it all work. That’s okay – at least you know what actions are necessary. These plans will help you accomplish your intentions in the long run, and in the meantime, your dinner dates can be just as special with home-cooked meals.
Home Buying Can Strengthen Your Relationship
Throughout this entire process, the most important thing you and your partner can do is remain realistic. While optimism is a good thing, it’s also essential to be levelheaded when it comes to serious financial decisions like your first home.
Narrow down your search and track your expenses so that you can save the right amount of money for what you want. Above all else, talk to each other — it’ll make the process that much easier and more memorable.
Holly Welles, Real Estate Writer, The Estate Update