For some couples, buying a house is as easy as buying a car. They schedule a couple of showings, find one they like, put in an offer, and the rest is history. But for most couples, it’s a bit more complicated. Arguments, disagreements, and friction are bound to ensue.
House hunting as a couple can be fun and exhausting – often at the same time. The more you prepare for the process ahead of time, the less likely it is that any one issue will become a barrier in your pursuit of buying a home for your family.
The 5 Big Challenges Married Couples Work Through
Every married couple has a unique dynamic. However, if you’re like other couples, you’ll face some of the same challenges. Here’s a look at a few of the important issues that may spark friction and disagreement (as well as some advice to help you get on the same page).
To Rent or Buy
One of the first points of friction sometimes occurs before the home buying process even starts. For some couples – particularly those living in large cities where real estate is expensive – there’s disagreement over whether renting or buying is the best option. And while it would be nice if there were a simple answer, there’s unfortunately no right or wrong way to go.
There’s always a case for buying. It allows you to own an asset that increases in value. It also ensures you aren’t throwing money down the drain every month. But there’s also something to be said for renting. When you rent, you don’t have to take on debt. You also have lower overhead expenses and no maintenance costs.
At the end of the day, this is one thing you have to work out together. However, you should never buy a house if both spouses aren’t ready to make it work. You need 100 percent commitment from anyone with a name on the mortgage.
Once you’re both on the same page about buying a house, the budget is the next issue you’ll have to work through. Hopefully you both have a pretty good idea of what’s considered affordable within the context of your household budget – but this isn’t always the case.
Things can get sticky when one person wants to live well below means, while another is comfortable stretching the budget. If you aren’t careful, you’ll end up in a situation where you want to spend $250,000 on a house and your spouse wants to spend $380,000.
As with most disagreements, the best solution is to meet in the middle. You don’t have to meet exactly in the middle, but there should be some give and take by both parties. Using the example above, a $300,000 budget would be a nice compromise.
Where do you want to live? When partners have disagreements on location, it often leads to a stalemate in the search for a property.
As you work through where to live, think about factors like: proximity to work, school zones, resale value, direction of the neighborhood, and nearby amenities. You’ll both have to sacrifice, but you should be able to find a compromise.
Turnkey vs. Fixer Upper
Couples commonly get in arguments about the type of house they want. This usually happens when one spouse is handy – or thinks he’s handy – and the other one doesn’t know a wrench from a hammer. In these situations, the handy spouse likes projects and sees the value in sweat equity, while the not-so-handy spouse only sees stress and cost.
Regardless of which spouse you are, it’s important that you don’t completely shut down your spouse. A major fixer upper isn’t a good idea if both partners aren’t on board, but there’s also something to be said for putting your own stamp on a house.
Proactive vs. Patient
Do you and your spouse have totally different personalities? If so, one of you may be extremely patient, while the other one likes to go out and get things done. When it comes to buying a house, this can lead to some pretty messy arguments.
Prior to starting the search for a house, make sure you set some ground rules on how you’ll handle offers. If one partner is super emotional and likes making decisions in the moment, set a rule that says you’ll never make an offer on the spot. If one spouse is overly patient and analytical, set a 72-hour deadline where you have to make a decision on whether to offer or step away.
When you already have rules in place, it makes it easier to navigate the unique circumstances involved in every situation. It also removes a lot of the finger pointing that leads to arguments and hurt feelings.
Be Willing to Postpone
No house is so important that you should jeopardize the health of your marriage. After all, what good is your perfect house if your spouse is frustrated with you?
“If you and your spouse are butting heads, take a step back from the conversation,” DaveRamsey.com advises. “There will always be new homes for sale, but digging in your heels over a home-purchase disagreement will only create a divide between you and your significant other.”
When things get heated, step away and take some time to cool down. Once you have level heads, reconvene and discuss options again. If you have to continually do this, a three- to six-month break may be the best course of action.
Buy Your Next House With Green Residential
Green Residential is a family-owned and operated business. Our family has been involved in the Houston real estate industry for more than 30 years. We understand the complexities of buying real estate and the challenges that come with finding the perfect home. Some of these challenges are financial, while others are emotional. It’s our goal to hold your hand as you and your family walk through each of these unique issues. Please contact us today to learn more!