Compromise 101: Buying a Home With Your Spouse

Compromise is key to a successful relationship. But that doesn’t mean it’s easy, especially when it comes to buying a home with your spouse or partner. How do you strike a balance between each person’s needs and wants?

To begin with, start with a plan. Have a frank conversation about what each person wants and needs: Detached or townhome? New build or old? What neighborhood? How much of a down payment? Work through these questions and put together a list of what you must have, and what your deal breakers are.

Look through home magazines together and watch real estate shows. Knowing each other’s taste will help during the search. But keep the focus on the way your home should function rather than d?or or room color. Changing these are easy; adding a bathroom is more difficult and costly.

Nail down the financial details before the search begins. Order your credit reports and check for inaccuracies. In some cases, you may not want to repair a negative. According to a recent Forbes article, check with a mortgage professional to find out whether you’ll do more harm than good paying off a debt.

Lenders will scrutinize both your scores. If one is significantly lower, it may affect your ability to get a mortgage. Don’t wait for the search process to begin before you start work to repair your credit.

The real test of compromise will start when the house hunt begins. Even if you stick to the must-have list, there will undoubtedly be homes that one partner loves; the other, not so much.

If you and your partner come to a standstill over a home, discuss why. Could some inexpensive changes make a difference?

Lastly, don’t let pressure to buy override your opinions or your partner’s. As this is the biggest purchase you’ll make, you both should be totally comfortable with it, whatever it takes.