The Things I Wish I Knew When We Bought Our First Home

For most young people, buying a house is synonymous with freedom. Finally, you can do whatever you want in your home without worrying about what the landlord might say or about getting your deposit back. It is yours, and to put things clearly; you can put as many holes in the walls as you want to. Except, naturally, that buying a house brings a lot more than just a new sense of freedom. There are responsibilities — on the financial and on the practical sides for instance —, compromises and the discovery of new skills too. Buying a house together is truly the beginning of a new adventure. Unfortunately, for a lot of couples, it can also bring serious disagreements and difficulties to their relationship. In the end, the best way for yourself to prepare for this exciting journey into an unknown universe — the land of home ownership — is probably to hear about it first hand from those who made the journey and survived it!

Moving into your first home

#1. First things first: How much can you afford?

Does it need saying? Buying a home is naturally an important investment, and it’s likely to be the first of its kind for you. Most couples choose a combined mortgage option when they buy their first home, as it is one of the easiest options. But it doesn’t mean that you can’t look for other mortgage offers. To keep things basic, the more you borrow, the more you will have to repay. So it’s always a good idea to work with a housing loan calculator to determine first how much you can afford to pay back over a period of time. Sometimes, you might find that it’s easier to save or borrow from your friends or relatives to pay a large deposit on the house and be able to take a loan on a smaller amount.

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[Photo courtesy of AlexanderStein/pixabay.com]

 How much can you afford?

#2.It’s all about money and planning

Don’t fall into the common trap of thinking that the cost of your home is the cost of your loan. It is far from it, especially if you hadn’t taken any renovation project into account when you agreed on a price. Affording home improvements can be especially stressful if you’re not used to it. But do you know that you don’t need to rely on an FHA loan to finance your home improvements? Indeed, first-time buyers can also focus on eco-friendly transformations that can be funded by governmental bodies, for example. For extensive renovation works, you can apply for a construction loan or borrow from your 401(k).

#3. Budget as a couple

In fact, the decision to buy a home together marks for couples the first struggle to keep a budget that cares for their individual and common financial needs. You may be used to keeping your own budget, but a couple budget is a whole new kettle of fish. For a start, you need to define your household needs in terms of mortgage repayment, bills, groceries, etc. These, while they are common, will be different to the kind of budget you had BEFORE you bought a house. Additionally, it’s essential that you and your partner agree on the long-term saving goals. There’s no point working towards separate goals.

#4. Combining furniture or buying new?

For some couples, buying a house is the first time they will be properly moving in together — it’s not uncommon for couples to spend time together but keep their separate apartments until they are ready to move in together properly. You might think that the hardest part about this is to share private details through the cohabitation. But believe it or not, most couples report that the hardest part of moving in together is combining their styles and furniture. Indeed, you need to be prepared to get rid of as much of your stuff as you expect your partner to. It’s only fair to keep the best of your common belongings, and it’ll avoid arguments in future. Besides you can also focus on buying new pieces of furniture together.

#5. You’re emotionally ready for the life together

Buying a house together might sound like a good idea. But you need to ask yourself first if you’re ready for this kind of commitment. Cohabitation becomes real when it’s in your own home. In a tenancy agreement, you can leave whenever you want. If it’s your home, you can’t leave. That’s why you need to be sure that you’re ready to move in together for real. Living with the person you love requires accepting levels of intimacy that you may not be prepared to deal with just now. For instance, as silly as it might sound, being able to talk openly about your choices, aspirations and desires for your relationship is a crystal-clear giveaway that you are ready for the move. The best test, though, is to observe how you interact with each other when you’re dealing with stress or financial issues, as these tend to be relationship killers.  

#6. You need to establish some basic rules

Buying your first home also means being ready to accept and share the responsibilities that come with it. You’ve guessed it right: Household chores are a big area of disagreement for couples. Indeed, as both partners often work in modern relationships, household chores need to be shared fairly between both of you. If you prefer doing the laundry while your partner enjoys washing up, then you can simply stick with your eras of expertise or preferences. Admittedly, nobody really enjoys doing chores, but you can work on the basis of things you don’t hate doing instead, as it’s a healthy way of sharing tasks.

#7. Create your decor together

Ah decorating. Who doesn’t love decorating? However, when you buy your first home together, you need to establish a fair approach to your interior decor. It’s not only a personal matter; it’s a matter of shared personal tastes. If you’ve got two different styles, it can be fun to blend both approaches to create an in-between style that will keep your decor eclectic and exciting. You will find the decorating exercise can get a lot easier if you can agree on a common palette of colors that can bring everything together. As a rule of the thumb, though, a good palette consists of five color schemes — by color scheme, we mean blues and grays, for instance, that offer many variations without one theme.

#8. Discover the joys of DIY

You can’t move happily in a house without knowing anything about the most basic home repairs. In fact, you will soon find yourself checking online tutorials to find out how to unblock the toilet or how to clean your grout. While nobody expects you to become a plumbing expert or a qualified electrician, your home maintenance requires some basic DIY skills. Tiling, painting, repairing wood or metal surfaces with filler compounds, or fixing the tap on the sink are essential requirements that every handy(wo)man needs to learn. And don’t leave it to the man in the house simply because he is a man! There’s no room for sexism in home maintenance!

Office Worker, Garage, Worker, Work, Man, Repair

[Photo courtesy of Free-Photos/pixabay.com]

Get your DIY tools with your first home

#9. Give your home a  housewarming party

You might be considering throwing a big housewarming party for your friends and neighbors. If you can; don’t skip on the party as it’s a great way to introduce yourself to a new neighborhood. But remember that once the party is over, you’re the one left to clean. So keep it civilized, friendly and alcohol-light!

In the end, there is a lot to consider when you decide to buy a home together. Your finances; of course; are a priority. But your relationship, your personal preferences and your ability to work together will transform your house into a home. Don’t be fooled: It won’t be perfect every day. But that’s okay because with time and goodwill great things happen.


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