"I Do" to First Homes
The activity, excitement and endless planning that go into a wedding
can distract you from understanding the importance of selecting the
right home for your life together. Your new home will provide the
environment where your life together is played out every day.
- Create independent lists of must-have home features and compare. It
can be difficult for newlyweds to find a starting point for joint
- Determining how much square-footage you need. Men and women marry
later today and usually have lived and possibly owned a home on
their own. Don't think a small place will be romantic; it might be
too close for two people starting a life together.
- Plan for everyone's commuting times. Buyers often
overlook both spouses commuting needs for their careers. If you
go out to the suburbs and your spouse inherits a long commute
along with a new spouse it could be a strain. Your first home
most likely won't be forever, so keep in mind neighborhood
familiarity, commuting times and proximity to family and
- Consider the needs of your spouse's pet. You might have never had a
dog or cat, but your spouse does and so will you. Plan ahead for the
special needs of a dog that needs to be walked (reconsider
high-rises), or a cat that will perch on wide window sills instead
of the back of your fabulous couch.
- Look for good resale characteristics. You probably won't stay more
than three or four years in your first home together. Look for good
resale characteristics and make sure your real estate agent
understands that they are at the top of your wish list. Your first
investment together should be a positive one. Don't skip a home
inspection, and, if you are also selling property, be sure to
consult with an attorney regarding marital property issues.
- Remember that men today want good closet and bathroom amenities.
Don't short-change his space or it could become a problem later.
Agree in advance where his large screen TV will go in your new home.
Ditto the barbecue grill, boats, snow boards, etc.
- Send out change of address announcements. It can be overwhelming
after all the wedding mail demands to let people know the address
and phone number of your new home. I remember some newlyweds
recently telling me after all the attention they received before and
during their wedding, that now they haven't heard much from anyone.
I told them to let people know of their new address via a snail mail
or email. Tuck a matching change of address into wedding gift
- Over spend on your first home
together. It's easy today with zero-down payment and interest only
mortgages to qualify for more home than you thought was possible.
Large monthly payments might eliminate vacations, dining out and
furniture purchases. Keep in mind that financial pressures impact
marriages new and old alike.
- Forget to disclose financial problems in advance. Marginal credit
histories, bankruptcies, under-estimated child support and
undisclosed divorces would come up in mortgage applications. Talk
with your new spouse before meeting with a mortgage consultant about
any of these issues.
- Move in to your spouse's home. To get your life together off to the
best start, resist moving into one of your homes. Like it or not,
it's still territorial, either you're moving into someone else's
space and you feel like a visitor or you feel your space is invaded.
No one likes to have their decorating challenged or be regulated to
the closet in the guest bedroom.
- Burden yourself with multiple homes. Your home, his home and your
new home can be a lot to juggle physically and financially. Try to
sell both of your existing homes before you close on your new home
- Differ if you mean it. New marriages take time to establish give and
take. If you feel strongly against a proposed paint color, furniture
choice or room layout, voice your opinion. Staying silent won't save
your marriage, it could disable it.
Tips for First Time Buyers
Buyer Frequently Asked Questions
10 Things Buyers Should Avoid
What To Do First: Buy or Sell?
Making an Offer
Simplify the Home Buying Process
Relieving the Stress of Packing
Land Buying Advice
Real Estate Glossary
Facts About Easements
Facts about Radon & Radon Testing
Lead Based Paint Facts & Disclosures
Mold in the Home
Saying "I Do" to First Homes
a CMA and Why Do You Need One?
How to Negotiate with Sellers