Unless you’re the sole buyer of a home with no other interested parties, deciding what house to buy will be a joint effort. Sometimes the decision isn’t an easy one, and a lot of compromises have to be made. But what happens when you and your partner disagree over what you’re looking for or what you can afford? Here’s how to hash it out fairly without one person getting left out in the cold.
Make a list.
Make four lists, to be exact. Have your partner sit down with a pen and paper, and you do the same. Without consulting one another, make a list of your “must-haves” and a list of your “nice-to-haves.” When you’re finished, compare the four lists to see what you have in common. Those are the most important items to concentrate on and will get you off to a good start. Focusing on common goals in the beginning will help make both of you more amenable to compromising on other things later.
Put emotions aside.
We get it. Buying a house is an emotional experience, especially for first-time buyers or couples who are living together for the first time. But it’s best to try to inject some logic into the situation. For example, does that outdoor kitchen in the beautifully landscaped backyard you just toured inspire you to entertain more? Sure, the prospect of weekly parties sounds fun, but think hard about how often you’ll actually use it. If you don’t entertain all that much now, you probably won’t in a new place. Unless it’s something you were specifically looking for, don’t get attached to a detail that threatens to put a kink in your home search.
Consult the budget.
If compromise continues to elude you, take a look at the numbers. This will help you be more logical about whether or not a certain aspect of the home is worth arguing over. Ideally, your monthly mortgage payment should be no more than 25% of your take-home pay. If the things you’re haggling about push you out of that price range, they’re probably not worth arguing over.
Put it off.
Just take a break from house hunting for a few weeks. Don’t talk about it; don’t think about it; and don’t sneak peeks at what’s on the market during your hiatus. Just take some time to decompress, reconnect as a couple, and then revisit the topic as a united front with fresh eyes and opinions.
Ask your agent to mediate.
As a third party, your real estate agent has an unbiased view of the situation. In a lot of cases, it’s easier to hear something from a neutral party than it is to hear it from your significant other. Your agent can help you look at the facts and make an educated decision without allowing emotion to interfere.
Compromise is key. If just one person gets everything they want out of their home search, it could cause resentment and leave a gap between partners. Don’t let buying a home come between you and your significant other! Use these tips to help you figure out how to give both parties what they want without one person giving up everything.