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You say tomato, I say tomato

Sometimes the hardest thing about my job is that it’s only maybe 25% knowing about houses, and the remaining 75% knowing about people. Often I’m working with two people who know each other well and have many common goals but still each have their own likes and dislikes. What do you do if he’s more worried about the budget and she’s more worried about being in the right part of town? What if he wants acreage and she wants neighbors?

Here’s a little house hunting marriage advice:

1) Start with the budget first. Talk to a lender to find out what price range equals what mortgage payment. Go over your budget together and decide what is important to you. If you have a bigger house does it mean less traveling? Money is something that can cause trouble in a marriage more quickly than anything so make sure you’re on the same page about this. Remember, having a big house is no fun if you can’t afford to furnish it. Having a house can be really stressful if you can’t afford to repair it. Make sure that your payment isn’t so big that you can’t afford to save.

2) Independently, make a list of your dream house – what does it have and what doesn’t it have? Now, take this list and prioritize: which things are “absolutely have to be there” and which are “I prefer it but if it’s not there that’s okay”. Now, take your lists and compare them. What things do you have in common and what are different? What are the reasons for wanting some of these things? Maybe you want a big yard because you’ve always wanted a dog but you can accomplish the same thing by living near a park. Talk about what is really important to both of you and why and both be willing to compromise.

3) Look at some houses. Sometimes once you’re actually in the house you realize that you don’t care as much about having a fireplace if it has a large kitchen. Or maybe your spouse had a point about not needing a 3rd stall to the garage if it has a storage shed (be willing to say “you were right” – they might say it then too!).

Overall, the theme is communicate with one another and then be considerate of one another’s needs, and you’ll both be in your “together dream home” in no time!

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