Say Yes to the House

After getting engaged, couples start to think about where they want to live to raise a family and start their lives together. This process can be equally as exciting and overwhelming as planning the wedding itself. You want to buy that big house you’ve always dreamed of, with a large backyard for the kids to play in and a white picket fence surrounding the garden, but as reality sets in, you realize that you will be looking more for a starter home. You should be able to live in your starter home for at least 5 years so make sure you discuss with your future spouse how many children you are planning to have in that time to know how many rooms you will need.

First, you have to decide whether or not buying a house is what is best. You must make this decision as a couple and try to ignore outside influences and social norms, such as renting is for the lower class or apartments are too cramped for two people. Self-motivation is key to be able to visit the properties you are interested in and fight for the price-quality balance you know you deserve.

Since buying a home costs more than walking down the aisle, all ways to help save money should be considered. A house is one of the biggest assets that married couples aim to invest in. Some turn to renting out apartments, condos and even basements until they can afford to buy. Others buy homes and rent out their basements as a source of income to help pay off the mortgage. Renting out the basement is a great idea, especially if the house already has a built-in separate entrance.

There is an old saying that if it’s not exactly what you are looking for, it’s not meant to be. There are some aspects that you should be lenient on but you should never settle for less than what you know you will be able to live with for a potentially long period of time. Before contacting a real estate agent, make a list of amenities that must be included, items that you want but you don’t need, and things that you could live without or don’t want in the house (like an indoor swimming pool or heated floors). If left in a situation where he wants a large den and she wants a massive en suite, make sure you settle the differences to avoid conflict later. You also need to reassess what both of you can afford. Chances are if you had a princess-like wedding, a castle might be out of reach for now.

There are two types of homes you can purchase; a new home or a “For Sale” home. Newer houses are more expensive and might not be the best option for a new home buyer. A new home gives you more options to customize what you want from your house, whereas an existing house for sale will already have the structure and internal areas decided. The existing house will be more cost effective but might need more areas fixed. My advice would be to buy a house in the location you want first, because you can always hire a General Contractor or renovation company to help bring the home closer to your dream house later.

Remember, the first year of marriage is usually the happiest and the most challenging as both individuals learn how to be a permanent couple, sometimes forfeiting their own needs for the good of their partner. You don’t want to rely on picking up a second job during the period, potentially causing more stress around the home, to be able to afford the house you want. Talk to a mortgage specialist to figure out based on your current incomes, what you will be able to afford. Sometimes, if you are planning on having children right away, one partner might be a stay-at-home parent, therefore decreasing the amount of income. In this case, you should buy or rent a house based on only one of the spouses income, not both. When applying for a mortgage, keep in mind that you will have to show proof that you will be able to pay off the loan. This manifests itself usually by showing the bank documents such as a proof of stable income, a good credit rating, ability to make a substantial down payment, and a completed mortgage application.

When you have found the perfect house that you can afford and will be happy in with your partner, then you are ready to make your decision. Some houses can stay on the market for years, whereas others can be gone in a week. Make your decision a thorough, but quick one, after you have found what you are looking for. This process should be a fun and exciting adventure as you and your spouse make your first large purchase as a family. Home buying is like walking down the aisle, if you are prepared for the challenge and know what you want to achieve, everything else will fall into place.