Whether you are planning an upcoming wedding or have recently tied the knot, these are exciting times all around. Everything feels new from name changes and establishing new rhythms as a married couple, to learning the art of compromise and teamwork in most decision making.
One such area that will require the ultimate exhibition of teamwork and compromise is the experience of buying your first home together. Below are some important considerations to keep in mind as you walk through the process.
A Helpful Checklist:
- Fully Disclose Past and Present Financial Snapshots
It is vital that both parties come to the marriage with complete transparency on financial matters. Be willing to lay out a detailed list of all debts including student debt, personal loans, and credit card debt. In addition, each person should be ultra clear on his/her living expenses. When both parties are upfront about money histories and current obligations it makes for an easier time getting a picture of the combined money story. Whether a couple chooses to keep their finances separate or combined, when it comes to buying a home and getting approved knowing your net worth (assets minus liabilities) will be important.
- Do Your Research
Now that your personal financial facts have been laid bare, a newlywed couple may begin the research process. Not only will this include the beginning stages of home shopping and figuring out what you can get for the money in your preferred zip code, but also you should begin researching mortgage products and lenders to get an idea of how your combined credit scores may impact interest rates and loan terms. While many military service couples may wish to take advantage of the VA Loan, there are additional products available for first-time home buyers.
According to FHALoans.com, “The FHA loan is the most popular government-backed home loan in the country. These low down payment loans are made by qualified lenders and guaranteed by the Federal Housing Administration (FHA). [They] require just a 3.5% down payment for borrowers with a 580 credit score or higher. For homebuyers with less-than-perfect credit, FHA loans offer additional significant benefits. The government backing means average FHA interest rates are typically lower than average rates for conventional mortgages.”
- Build the Right Team
As the research process continues, it is crucial for newlyweds to arm themselves with expert knowledge and build the right team of professionals to work on their behalf. In addition to the mortgage lender, newlywed buyers should seek the input of a licensed real estate professional. Real estate agents can not only act as intermediaries between buyers and lenders but also will be the best option for getting access to the right homes at the right prices in the right neighborhoods. A trained agent will help bridge the educational gap to ensure that first-time homebuyers understand all of the legal processes and unfamiliar industry jargon they may encounter.
- Rely on Each Other
Finally, buying your first home together will be a bonding experience like no other. This outward sign of your commitment to each other and your hope for the future is one you should celebrate. When tensions may run high during the stressful parts of buying your first home or setting up residence once the deal is sealed, just remember that you and your spouse are in this together. Use each other’s strengths to build up weaknesses. Relish in the good times to come as you begin to turn your first house into the home of your dreams.