7 Tips for Finding a Home as a Couple

Finding a first home can be a roller-coaster of emotion. Here are some tips to make the ride more enjoyable.

Buying a home is a major milestone for couples. Aside from the fact that it will most likely be the most significant purchase they will ever make together it is also one of the most exciting decisions a couple will make too. For those who are new to the process of a buying a home excitement can quickly turn to anxiety as talk of finances, home inspections and new real estate terms make their way into daily conversations. It’s no secret…navigating the world of homeownership together requires some extra work.

For those couples looking to purchase a home, here are seven tips that will ensure a “harmonious house hunt” without rocking the relationship (at least too much that is):

Get pre-approved for a loan. There are few things worse than finding the perfect home, only to find out that it costs more than one can afford. Before beginning the house hunt, we highly recommend getting pre-approved for a loan. A pre-approval will let couples know where they fall financially while informing the mortgage company that they are ready to buy. Additionally, being pre-approved for a loan can help speed up the closing process once an offer has been accepted.

Set a budget. Beyond income and savings, there are a number of other financial elements to consider before setting a price range for the new home. Once a couple has decided on a location, they should consider its proximity to their family, jobs and schools for children and gauge travel costs. The next step is to add up monthly bills, including the couple’s car payments, phone bills, insurance, groceries, and credit card payments. This total estimated cost of living should be factored into the couple’s overall budget.

Get on the same page. Whether it is a quiet neighborhood or a two-car garage, everyone has their own “must haves” when it comes to the home of their dreams. For a couple looking for a home to share, it is important to discuss each of their essentials before beginning the search. Keep in mind that agreeing on all of the features of a future home will likely be impossible, so be prepared to compromise. Once the list of “must haves” is finalized, contact a real estate professional who can determine if the expectations are realistic given the homes currently on the market.

Allocate additional funds. The down payment on a new home is just one of the significant financial aspects of a move.  Even after both people’s belongings are combined there will likely still be a need to purchase furniture and other items like a washer and dryer which will require additional budget. The last thing a couple will want to do is start out their life together with nothing in the bank!

Be patient. A Coldwell Banker Real Estate survey found that women are likely to make up their minds faster than men. Almost 70 percent of women surveyed decided the day they walked into the house that it was right for them, while 32 percent of men needed two or more visits. It will likely take multiple trips to the home before both members of the couple decide it is “the one.” If a spouse needs more time, be patient and try not to pressure them.

Take inventory of everyone’s belongings. Before moving into a new home together, each person should make a list of the furniture they plan to keep and compare it with their partner’s. There may not be a need (or a place) for three televisions and two kitchen tables in the new house. Consider selling unwanted pieces of furniture online, or holding a garage sale.  The money made is sure to be put to good use on purchases for the new home.

Sign a contract. For a couple who has yet to walk down the aisle, it is important to contact an attorney before closing on a home. A contract should be drawn up outlining who is responsible for what expenses and how assets will be divided in the event of a split.

Happy House Hunting!

Lindsay is the the Director of Media Engagement for Coldwell Banker Real Estate and manages the brand’s media and social media department. She is also a licensed real estate professional. In 2017 & 2018, she was named a top 20 social influencer in the real estate industry in the annual Swanepoel 200 power rankings.

Lindsay lives in Livingston, NJ with her college sweetheart and now husband Joe and rwelcomed another Joe into her life as she became a mom in June 2016.

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20 Comments

  1. Connie Terry
    February 26, 2016

    It takes more than a sign in the yard. Coldwell Banker Bain (Evetett)goes the distance and it’s Brokers are of the finest I’ve known. Integrity, Honest, Committed to the highest Standards.
    I’m a Wahington Native and wouldn’t live anywhere else.
    Call me today and let’s start working together.

    Reply
  2. Kairi Gainsborough
    March 21, 2016

    My husband and I are looking to buy our first house soon, so these are all really helpful tips. I think it is smart to get pre-approved for a loan, because then we will have a better idea of what our budget will look like. That should help us find a house that we like and one that we can realistically afford.

    Reply
    • Lindsay Listanski
      March 22, 2016

      That is exciting! I can tell you from experience that getting pre-approved was extremely helpful for my husband and me when we went through the process of buying our first home! We were looking in the totally wrong price range before we spoke with the mortgage adviser and actually ended up being able to comfortable afford something even nicer than we expected! Good luck!

      Reply
  3. Kairi Gainsborough
    June 30, 2016

    Out of all your advice, I think getting on the same page as a couple is often overlooked. I just assumed that my husband would want all the same things in a house as I do, but I was wrong. Before we set a budget or contact a real estate agent, I think it would be a good idea to sit down and make a list of the feature we each want. This will be our first home together, so I want to be sure about our choice!

    Reply
  4. Tiffany Locke
    February 28, 2017

    Taking inventory of your belongings before you move into a new home together is a good idea. Being able to check if you have double of an item, or if there is something the two of your are missing, would help you know what you need to get when you move in. I would imagine that knowing what you have could help you organize and plan out your rooms so that you can make sure you have enough space.

    Reply
    • Victoria Keichinger
      March 1, 2017

      Thanks for your comment, Tiffany! We’re glad you enjoyed the post.

      Reply
  5. Ridley Fitzgerald
    March 6, 2017

    My wife and I are actually planning on buying a home this year. I didn’t know that women normally decide on their home faster. I guess my wife will have to be patient with me, because I am slow to decide for most things anyway!

    Reply
  6. John Esquival
    March 13, 2017

    That’s a good tip to get pre-approved for a loan. That way you’ll know how much money you can spend. I’ve been saving up money for the past couple years to help move out my apartment.

    Reply
  7. Burt Silver
    April 3, 2017

    Thanks for the tips for finding a home! My wife and I have been trying to find the right home for us to buy this year. I like that you mentioned to save money for more than just the down payment. We will make sure we save money for other expenses that may come up in the process.

    Reply
    • Lindsay Listanski
      April 4, 2017

      Good plan! Best of luck 🙂

      Reply
  8. Rachel Lannister
    April 3, 2017

    My husband and I are ready to make the big step of home ownership, and I wanted to get some expert advice. You wrote that it is very important that you are both on the same page regarding needs and wants in the home. I know that my husband will likely have a few needs that I wouldn’t have considered, so I’ll be sure to console with him before we start shopping.

    Reply
    • Lindsay Listanski
      April 4, 2017

      Sounds like a good plan! Let us know if we can help.

      Reply
  9. Kourtney Jensen
    May 26, 2017

    Your tips were super helpful in preparing to buy a home. My husband and I are looking to buy a home so these were things I should know. I completely agree with needing to set a budget on how much you want to spend on a home. This is why I like looking at online websites for homes for sale. You’re able to set a price minimum and maximum more often than not which can keep you looking at options in your price range, instead of falling in love with one you necessarily can’t afford. I’ll be sure to pass this along to my husband so he’s aware too.

    Reply
  10. Afton Jackson
    June 5, 2017

    Soon, my wife and I will start our search for a new home. We want to make sure we find the best fit for us, so we’re looking for advice. I never knew how important it is to be patient when looking to ensure you there’s no pressure on either side. I’ll discuss this tip with my wife tonight.

    Reply
  11. Kylie Dotts
    June 9, 2017

    I really like the advice you give to discuss the essentials before beginning a house hunt. My brother and his wife will be looking for a new home before their next baby is born so I’ll let them know to talk about their house hunting essential before they go out looking. Hiring a professional who knows what is available in new homes in the neighborhood would be a great way of determining which essentials are possible or perhaps impractical.

    Reply
  12. John Slade
    June 14, 2017

    I like how you pointed out that being patient can be important when finding a home. My wife and I are looking at getting a home, but I think my wife is the more patient one. I’ll try and do a little better at being patient in order to consider all our options and make the best possible decision for us when we finally settle on a home.

    Reply
  13. Finley Moreira
    August 31, 2017

    My wife and I have been looking for our first home together. Your tip to make a list of “must haves” is definitely something we could benefit from. Being on the same page is important to us as we look for a home, and writing them down for easy references will be really helpful.

    Reply
  14. Ashley Turns
    September 5, 2017

    My husband and I are looking at real estate for sale so that we can buy our first home together. So I love your suggestion that we make sure to sit down and talk about what we both “must have” in our new home. Before we look at any more real estate, I’ll be sure my husband and I sit down so we can try to agree on as many features of our future house as possible.

    Reply
  15. Barbera Peters
    September 26, 2017

    My fiance and I are looking to get a home together for when we are married but we have no idea how to find a home as a couple. You talked about how it is important to get on the same page with each other on the “must haves” and everything else. Thank you for the great information on choosing a home for sale together.

    Reply
  16. Jordan
    November 3, 2017

    I’ve been looking for houses for sale, and I think that being able to get some help would be good for me. I’m glad that you talked about being able to set a budget, which I think would be a good place for us to start. I’m going to have to talk to my wife about getting a budget set up for houses, and hopefully we can start narrowing our search for the right ones! Thanks for the tips!

    Reply

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