Saying "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 home parameters.

  • 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 friends.

  • 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 thank-you notes.


  • 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 together.

  • 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.


Buyer's Guide

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

What is a CMA and Why Do You Need One?

How to Negotiate with Sellers



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