SigMT Vol 13 Iss 4

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Buying a house is exciting. Arguing while buying a house… not so much. Let's take a look at how to best keep the peace while house hunting. Before you and your partner start sending each other links to the home of your dreams, have a few conversations about the home buying process. When preparing to purchase a home, couples should not only discuss finances, but also each other's expectations for a first home. Having the discussion now will keep you productive, positive, and focused on finding the right house. It will also help keep "buying-a-house stress"less burdensome on the relationship. 1. Get on the Same Page About Expectations No maer how connected you are, there may still be unspoken and undefined expectations between each other, especially when it comes to buying a house. e process can dredge up relationship issues as it may be the biggest financial transaction you will make in your lifetime. Listen to your partner and commit to the idea that each person has a voice in every issue. "at would be my No. 1 principle," says Donna R . Baptiste, a licensed marriage and family therapist, and professor at Northwestern University's Family Institute. "Two people must respect each other's right to have a say." How to begin? Ask questions like: • Why do you want to buy a house? • What's the most important thing to consider, in your opinion? • How long do you want to live there? • Do you want something perfect or a fixer-upper? • What do you think our budget should be? 2. Be Prepared to Back Down Not every decision will be 50-50. "Equal say is not always the standard," adds Baptiste. Each should be willing to accept "no" for an prevents gridlock. And ceding some control makes the decision on which home to buy a shared one. Consider the situation faced by work-from-home clothing designer Veronica Sheaffer and her husband, teacher Keith Dumbleton. ey bought their pre-war apartment on Chicago's far North Side four years ago. While scrolling through listings, Sheaffer fell for the property's vintage millwork and spacious layout, but the building was 12 miles from the centrally located neighborhood they were currently living in. Sheaffer accepted that the hours the new location would add to Dumbleton's school commute could be a deal breaker. "I gave him the power of refusal and prepared myself for losing the place," she says. Knowing that Sheaffer was conscious of the sacrifices he would be making, Dumbleton agreed to move forward with making an offer. "Her being open to me saying no, allowed me to make that decision, and I don't regret it," says Dumbleton. 3. Do Scenario Planning New homes have a way of changing life's routines. Does one of you take the dog out? If so, that beautiful sixth-floor walk-up may affect the dog caretaker's mornings (and moods). Does one of you do most of the outdoor chores? How do you really feel about taking care of a massive lawn? at house that sits on top of a hill is gorgeous, and the views are exquisite! But will you like hauling bags of groceries up three flights of stairs to get to the front door? "I ask a couple to let it sink in," says Compass in Chicago REALTOR , Dan Sullivan." What is it going to physically be like living in the property, day in and day out?" e more you think it over together, the happier you will both be aer you move in. 4. Ask anExpert As a couple buying a house, you may be in full agreement or you may be at an impasse, but either way, talk to a real estate agent and, as Baptiste recommends, submit to the idea of geing good advice.A good agent is like a reference librarian and a personal coach all in one. Like finding a good mortgage broker or dissecting the details of a home inspection, a good agent can help navigate the home buying process. ey can provide you with the knowledge necessary to make a wise decision. ey can also pump you and your partner back up when your energy ebbsaer looking at 22 houses not worthy of an offer. Leaning on a professional to offer perspective and help work through disappointment releases some "buying-a-house stress" on a relationship. "As much as possible, as early as possible, I try to help couples see the big picture," Sullivan says.5. 5. Recognize You are a Team Involving an agent in the home buying process can have another unexpected outcome, says Sheaffer. It brought her and Dumbleton closer together. "Having the agent participate in discussions -- and even occasionally disagreeing with her, helped us see that we know each other, we know our lifestyle. Anything that will allow you to bond more with your partner is always positive," adds Sheaffer. e agent got them to talk to each other about what they wanted and did not want in a house. It helped them hash out their likes and dislikes, constructively. Instead of leing buying a house lead to relationship problems, turn the experience into a chance to learn and grow together. Talk, listen, and get good advice from a smart agent. You will end up as homeowners with an even beer connection. Article provided by SiG MT 92 SIGNATUREMT'S REALTOR TIPS TEXT BY S MT Five Relationship Saving Strategies for Any Couple Buying a House

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