We love talking all things wedding dresses! But the excitement of married life doesn’t end with the wedding dress, the “Big Day” or even the honeymoon – many newlyweds also dream of buying their first home together.
This is an exciting time as couples are eager to start their new lives together but it can also be an intimidating period; buying a house is one of the first major financial decisions newlyweds will make together.
Here is what they need to think about:
1. Get Your Finances Right
Make an honest assessment of your individual and joint financial positions before starting your search for a new home. You will both need to provide proof of income as well as be able to show credit-worthiness. A low credit score can significantly impact your financial viability as well as the interest rate you can qualify for.
2. Decide How Much to Spend
Money-related conflicts can unravel marriages and sometimes end in divorce. This is why it is important to jointly decide how much you can afford to spend on a house. Sit down and openly review your existing bills and financial obligations and compare it to your household income. Are you planning to start a family, finish an educational qualification or still need to pay off existing debt? All of these issues should all be factored into the decision of how much you can comfortably afford.
3. Decide on Your Criteria
The next step is to start looking for a home which closely matches your criteria. Sit with your partner and discuss your needs and wants. Understanding what each of you wants individually, and what you want as a couple, will help you narrow the focus of your new home search. Having this talk frankly and upfront will help reduce the likelihood of miscommunication and potential conflict. Some factors to consider are things like type of property, number of bedrooms and numbers of bathrooms. Online property platforms have made this part easier than ever. Putting in a few search filters and setting up alerts will have you on the path to viewing (and hopefully buying) your dream home.
4. Choose your location carefully
The location of your home is just as important as the type of house you buy. Choose a neighborhood that is appropriate for the short-term and the long-term. Think about: distance from work and good schools, distance from friends and family as well as the presence of amenities such as shops, hospitals and recreational spots. Importantly, consider the developments that are likely to happen in your neighbourhood in the coming years eg: a new Gautrain route, new shopping centres etc. Think carefully about this because you can change things in your new house but you cannot change your location.
5. Decide How to Finance Your Purchase
The myriad of financing options available for first-time homebuyers can seem overwhelming. For most newlyweds, financing the new home will likely mean getting a home loan. Taking the time to research mortage options can save you a significant amount of time and money – making sure you find one that is best suited to your needs as a married couple. Bear in mind that even if you secure a home loan, you will still need to put up a deposit. It may be a good idea to start saving towards this even before the wedding and keep it in mind when thinking about the wedding budget and the gifts that would be smart to request.
6. Work with a Real Estate agent
Unless you’ve both purchased homes before, working with a qualified real estate professional can greatly help newlyweds find their dream home. A real estate agent can provide practical advice on considerations such as the right neighbourhood, different housing options and also assist in negotiating for the best price.
It’s clear to see that purchasing a property involves a lot more than just the look and feel of your dream home. It requires a great deal thought, planning and input from both parties. Since it is a big life decision, it is best not to rush the process. You want to make sure that you’re selecting a home that you’ll enjoy living in for years.
Comment and share your thoughts with us! Are you currently looking for a home? What has the process been like?
Or have you found your home? What other tips would you add?