There are many milestones in relationships: the first date, the first kiss, saying I love you, meeting the parents and so on. While many of these are important and can even be a little stressful, one of the biggest steps is making the decision to buy a home together. Not only can this add a level of permanence to the relationship, but it also can create an even stronger bond by making the subtle change from “my” or “your” place to “our” place.
Once you’ve made the decision to purchase a home together, there are a lot of things to consider. Here are just a few topics to keep in mind:
Look at the Big Picture
- Distance From Work: When starting to look for a location, you need to decide how far you both want to commute to work? This can be particularly important if you don’t work near each other. Do you want to find a place in the middle so you both drive equally? Or, do you want to pick a spot close to one so only one of you has to brave the traffic?
- Neighborhood: What kind of neighbors do you want? Are you looking for involved communities with tons of activities and social events, or do you want a quiet place where you can keep to yourself? Also, think about if you are near social activities that you both enjoy.
- Family: Do you have kids or are you planning on having kids? Is your new place near a good school district? Are there other families around for the kids to play with? Are there playgrounds or does it have a big yard for playing?
- Plan Ahead: Make sure you consider what the future looks like. The 3 bedroom condo might look perfect, but will quickly be outgrown if you are planning on having four kids and a couple of pets. A little extra space now could save you a lot of hassle in the future.
Whatever details are going into planning the perfect home, make sure you discuss the important issues and you both are on the same page.
Don't Forget About the Details
Relationships are all about negotiations and compromises. This is especially true when buying a place together. It's important to remember that one of you might be great at some things and incredibly ineffective at others. This is why you should sit down ahead of time to hash out some of the details. Consider the following:
- Decorating: This can encompass everything from what colors you want to paint the rooms to complete room layouts and design. Figure out which one of you is more committed to what the house looks like and make sure you have a budget. Taking advantage of places like The Shade Store can help you decorate multiple rooms at an affordable price.
- Cleaning: Sometimes this can be a huge point of contention. Assigning individual tasks to the person who likes doing them the most can help and often it comes down to compromise. For example, whoever cooks doesn’t have to clean. And, with modern appliances, chores don't have to be as difficult as they once were. Stores like Best Buy have all sorts of high quality appliances from dishwashers to washing machines to vacuums at great prices.
- Finances: Odds are that one of you is going to be better at setting and keeping track of your budget. Make sure that this is a priority. Doing paperwork and knowing where your finances are can make the difference between living the life you love and struggling to get by. Whether you use pen and paper or take advantage of software like Quicken, have someone in charge of this detail at all times.
Whatever you do and wherever you choose to live, make sure you go into it prepared. By having a couple of serious conversations ahead of time about who is going to do what, you can ensure that you enjoy every moment of your new life together.