Tips for Buying Your First Home as Newlyweds
After finding each other, planning and executing the perfect wedding, and merging your lives, the next step for newlyweds is preparing to buy their first home together. And while the long and arduous process of pulling off a dream wedding may have felt stressful at times, for many newlyweds, saving up for and purchasing their first home together is a whole new ballgame. Yes, budgeting, saving, and choosing the home that’s right for you is a big decision, but it doesn’t have to be a negative experience. And while it’s essential to understand the significance and size of this purchase thoroughly, it shouldn’t deter you from approaching the process with optimism and excitement.
The real estate market is complicated and overwhelming at times, but with the right preparation and realtor, finding your dream home can be an enjoyable time and significant milestone in your marriage. From choosing the neighborhood to the number of bedrooms, and preparing financially, buying a home is a full-time job. So let’s look at a few ways to simplify the process and get you into your dream home faster than you ever imagined.
Prioritize for Your Life Right Now
When you start looking at different homes and what they have to offer, it’s easy to get swept up in the overall excitement and forget what you specifically wanted in a home in the first place. A house is no small purchase and buying one that isn’t right for your life could be a mistake you regret for years to come.
Before you talk with a realtor or step foot in a single home, sit down with your spouse and determine your priorities. At its basic level, this includes the size—how many bedrooms and bathrooms—and also location. Do you want to be close to your place of work for a short commute or would you rather be close to restaurants, bars, and nightlife? Are you planning on having kids one day? If so, maybe the priority is being in a good school district or area with a low crime rate.
Keep in mind that while you may be planning on starting a family in the future, you should buy a home that’s also the best choice for your current lifestyle and family size for the next five or six years. Purchasing a five-bedroom house in the suburbs because you plan on having three kids one day may seem like a responsible purchase, but the mortgage payments and cost of upkeep in the meantime could be financially straining, especially for a young married couple just starting out.
Being financially prepared is one of the most important aspects of buying a home, and depending on some factors, the most challenging. To purchase a home, you either have to buy it outright with cash or obtain a loan, also called a mortgage. To secure a mortgage, most lenders want a 20 percent down payment. However, depending on the institution and you and your spouse’s total debt load—combined debt including student loans, credit card payments, et al.—a couple with good credit can secure a loan with as little as three percent down.
Along with your credit score and down payment, a couple’s combined income will also determine whether or not they can obtain a mortgage and the total amount. For most couples, their mortgage payment is around a quarter of their income after taxes. Along with your monthly mortgage payment, it’s important also to be aware of closing costs, property taxes, insurance, and other expenses related to furnishing the home or basic upkeep in the first few months or years.
A few ways you and your spouse can be financially prepared when you find your dream home include:
- Build up your credit through one or two credit cards, making sure to pay them off in full every month.
- Work hard to pay down your debts, especially high-interest debts like credit cards.
- Make a budget, stick to it, and save as much as you can for the down payment.
- Speak with a mortgage consultant who can guide you through the qualifying process. The expert mortgage consultants at Great Hills Lending Group offer free consultations and can be reached at (512) 872-4211 or you can visit their website at http://greathillslending.com.
Saving for your down payment takes some sacrifice, but with a little planning and discipline, you and your spouse can be miles ahead of other couples in the home-buying process.
Communicate Every Step of the Way
Combined with everything else in your life, the home-buying process can take up most of your free time and put extra stress on your young marriage. It’s important to keep the lines of communication open, so you and your partner know each other’s expectations, concerns, and feelings every step of the way.
Make communication a priority before you even begin looking. Talk about the expectations you each have for the home as well sacrifices you need to make to save up. Then talk to each other through every phase of the buying process and be completely honest about your feelings.
Find an Experienced Realtor
Thanks to the internet, newlyweds can search hundreds of homes in their desired area from the comfort of their couch. And while this is an essential part of the process to get an idea of what you want, working with an experienced real estate agent makes your experience less stressful and more enjoyable. Real estate agents know the market and have access to in-depth data about neighborhoods, previous owners, and properties you can’t find anywhere else. From unsuccessful attempts to sell the home in the past to the market value of the area, all of this information helps real estate agents get you the best deal possible.
Along with their knowledge of the industry, they also help you search for homes you haven’t seen and negotiate prices, potentially saving you tens of thousands of dollars. Professional real estate agents can also handle the enormous amount of paperwork involved with buying a home, so you don’t have to worry.
At Domain Realty, we are passionate about helping newlyweds begin their life together in the home of their dreams. There’s nothing more comforting than walking in the door of a house you own, cooking dinner with your spouse in your kitchen, and making daily memories that will last a lifetime. Call Domain Realty today at (512) 872-4211 and get started with your search.