For anyone in a committed, long-term relationship that is thinking about marriage, the next step usually seems to be buying a home together. However, for many couples, investing in a home can lead to a potential breaking point in the relationship. Not only must the partners agree on a location, price range and size of the home, but they also have to figure out how to finance it.
Any couples that are considering homeownership should be sure to go into the process with a well-laid plan that both partners agree upon in order to save themselves financial headaches in the future. The following are some tips that we’ve come up with to help budding, young homeowners on their journey into the housing market.
1. Communication is key.
Before even looking for homes, you and your partner should have a clear understanding of what you both want vs. what you can afford. Although it may not be the most romantic of conversation topics, you will need to discuss what each of you is bringing in each month and how much of it you are willing to invest in your property. If one of you is making more than the other, you might want to delegate more financial responsibility to that person, such as being in charge of home repairs or property taxes. Once you understand where you both are financially, you can start to create a plan on how you will finance the home.
2. Construct a financial road-map.
It is normal for lenders to cover 80-90 percent of a home’s cost, the rest of which the buyer must pay upfront in the form of a down payment. First make sure you can afford the home’s down payment, then analyze you and your partners combined monthly income to determine what type of mortgage you should pursue. Typical mortgages are usually spread out over 15 or 30 years; with the former having lower interest rates and the latter having lower monthly payments. Keep in mind that to reduce stress in your relationship it is recommended that you dedicate no more than a quarter of your income toward your property, including the mortgage and other extraneous expenses.
3. Bring in a third party.
It is easy to be blinded by the thrill and excitement that comes with buying a new home, which is why we recommend bringing in a neutral third party to help you weigh your options. This is a helpful tip that many couples tend to overlook, but mediators, financial planners and attorneys work with soon-to-be homeowners all of the time. Bringing in a third party can help to ease any tensions that may arise during the home-buying process and also help shed light on some financing options that maybe you wouldn’t have thought of on your own.
At The Mortgage Law Group, we’re dedicated to helping homeowners save their American Dream. That starts by taking a proactive approach on homeownership and educating potential buyers now, so they won’t find themselves in hot water later on. If you have helpful tips for first time homeowners, please share them in the comments section of our blog.