If you’ve been with your significant other for a while, you may be considering the next step: buying a home together. While this time can seem exciting, there are a few things to consider before diving into the Home Buying process. To help things run more smoothly, check out my recommendations for how to buy a house with your partner.
Step 1: Consider if You’re Ready for the Commitment
We all agree that buying a house is a monumental decision – typically, purchasing a home will be your life’s most significant financial step!
Ask yourself if you’re both prepared for this financial commitment. Think about what will happen to the mortgage if – heaven forbid – you break up. Consider what you and your partner plan to agree to and decide if you’re ready.
Sometimes, these are difficult things to think about, but they are essential. If you are sure you’re prepared for homeownership, proceed to step 2.
Step 2: Think About What You Both Want in a Home
Now it’s time to get on the same page. Think about what kind of home you want and in what neighborhood. If you have differences, spend some time discussing them.
Plan to create a list with a few different categories – what you need, what you want, your compromises, and your dealbreakers. If you create separate lists, combine them into one so that you are (mostly) in agreement.
Searching for a home can sometimes feel daunting. You can help relieve some stress by getting on the same page before you buy a house with your partner.
Step 3: Have the “Money” Talk
Talking about money isn’t always fun, but it’s essential. Sometimes couples avoid talking about finances because they want to prevent arguments. However, in this case, avoidance will only make things harder in the long run.
If you’re unsure how to begin, check out a free online money calculator, which can help you streamline your finances and possibly get better access to more mortgage products.
To take it a step further, utilize an online mortgage calculator. This great tool can give you an idea of what you and your partner may be able to borrow for a home, helping you prepare for step 4.
Step 4: Get Pre-Approved for a Mortgage
Sometimes prospective homeowners skip the pre-approval step because they are eager to look for a new home. However, it would be best to work with a knowledgeable mortgage professional to get pre-approved before home shopping.
So, what is pre-approval? Pre-approval is a lender’s preliminary assessment of a borrower. If a borrower is “pre-approved,” the financial institution has tentatively agreed to lend them a certain amount at a specified interest rate. The details are not set in stone and will not be finalized until you apply for a mortgage.
However, pre-approval gives you a great idea of how much you can expect to borrow, helping you and your partner tremendously during your home search. Just keep in mind that your pre-approval is more of a guide and is not yet a guarantee.
Step 5: Hire a Local Real Estate Agent
So, you have decided you’re ready to buy a house with your partner, have your list, agree on a budget, and have been pre-approved. Now what?
Let the fun begin – it’s time to shop for a new home!
Many prospective home buyers hop online during this step and attempt to go it alone. Sure, you can sift through ads and book a couple of home showings, but is this the best route?
Hiring an experienced real estate agent is the surefire way to go! Here are a few reasons why you should consider hiring a trustworthy professional to guide you along your Home Buying journey:
- They have the intimate industry knowledge and can help you make the best choices.
- They know the ins and outs of the local communities.
- They have direct access to multiple listings.
- They can book multiple showings based on your unique needs and wants.
- They have experience viewing homes, so they know how to look for details you may miss.
- They are objective about each house, offering unbiased opinions about its advantages, disadvantages, and future potential.
Want a better Home Buying experience and more bang for your buck? Hire a knowledgeable, local real estate agent!
Step 6: Protect Yourself Legally
Whether you’re exclusively dating, engaged, married, or common-law, you and your partner must ensure that you are both protected when buying a home.
Don’t rush through steps, leaving things to chance and hoping for the best – plan to put both of your names on the deed if the home will belong to both of you. Also, ensure that you have a will that addresses the homeownership details.
If you and your partner are not married, consider a cohabitation agreement, which helps protect you financially when you move in together.
The bottom line is to get everything in writing, so it is officially and legally binding. This step helps protect you and your partner for years to come.
You’ll encounter big and small decisions, various options, and many compromises when you buy a house with your partner. When questions arise, or you need a bit of friendly advice about the Home Buying process, let a no-nonsense mortgage professional like me help!
I can assist you with pre-approval, numerous mortgage products, free calculators, and valuable guidance each step of the way. I can’t wait to help you and your partner with your homeownership goals!