Ready for the next chapter of your life? If you’re reading this, home-buying is clearly on the horizon for you. It hardly matters if you’ve recently tied the knot, are still planning for the big day, or are just looking to build a home with your significant other. Just reaching this milestone is a great feat on its own and should be met with deserved cheers. Congrats on unlocking a new level of adulting!
Take a moment to celebrate. But when the applause dies down, make sure to plant your feet back on the ground. Remember that home-buying is not as glamorous as it seems. You need a lot of time, money, patience, and—if this is your first big purchase as a couple—courage to get through this in one piece.
Lucky for you, we have some tips below on how to buy a house for couples so that you don’t have to go house-hunting with a blunt spear.
10 House-Hunting Tips for Couples
Buying a house isn't as easy as they make it look in lifestyle shows: couple shows up at an open house, falls in love with the place, and then issues a check before the episode is over.
In real life, there are a lot of things to consider before you decide on the perfect house for couples. Here are the most important ones.
Do a Finance Health Check
An important piece of advice for first-time home buyers is to evaluate your joint financial situation early on. Take a minute to sit with your partner and lay all your cards on the table. The last thing you want is to sign a binding contract to purchase a house, only to find out later that you’re married to someone deep in debt. That's surely an awful way to slip into financial quicksand.
Doing a finance health check with your spouse before making any commitments will let you know exactly where you stand. You’ll get an idea on what you can and can’t afford. Thus, setting you up for a more realistic journey ahead.
Start a House Fund
Stash away some extra cash for your home purchase. If you can pay for your house in full without overly limiting your daily spending, good for you. That’s one big item off your list. Now all you have to save for are the smaller but still important stuff like furnishings, utilities, fees, taxes, insurance, and other miscellaneous costs.
On the other hand, if you need to take out a loan to purchase a house, take note that you still have to save up for a down payment. Typically, that’s between 10% and 30% of the total property value. So if you’re eyeing a house worth millions, make sure you have hundreds of thousands saved up, so you can make that initial investment.
The earlier you save up, the faster you’ll get the house of your dreams. Look up different saving tips for couples now to help you with budgeting. Also, keep in mind that the higher your down payment is, the easier it’ll be for you down the road.
Related article: How Solenn and Nico Manage Their Finances as a Couple
Improve Your Credit Score
Your credit score is one way to measure your financial health by looking at how you use credit. A good credit score means faster and easier approval of new loans. Building your credit could take months or years, so this is something you should work on as soon as possible, especially if you’re planning to take out a housing loan.
If you have a credit card, avoid going over your credit limit. Also, make sure to pay your monthly balances on time. The same goes for any existing loan you have.
Get Pre-Approved for a Loan
This is one of the most practical tips for buying a house, especially if you know you can’t afford to pay for the costs in full.
Before you fixate on any specific property, try getting pre-approved for a loan first. This way, you can gauge how much you can take out based on your financial capacity. This will also help you manage your expectations in case you’re planning to go for something you can’t achieve.
Know Your Loan Options
Before taking out a housing loan, make sure you have all the information you need to choose what’s best for you. You won’t run out of options, but some are inevitably better than others.
Apart from the Pag-IBIG Fund, several other banks and financial institutions offer home loan programs in the Philippines.
Devise a Realistic Plan
Once you have all the key pieces of information you need, it’s time to put them together and come up with a plan. Do this with your partner so that you can consider each other’s insights. This exercise will also help you gauge your financial compatibility as a couple.
One of the things you should account for is how big your family can get. If you see kids in your future, make sure to include them in the picture before choosing a house. If you’re planning to adopt pets, factor them in as well. Is a garden out front best for them? Or a spacious yard at the back?
Also, do you like a semi-modern house or one that looks more traditional? Do you prefer a simple house interior or one that exudes more personality? Will you need a garage? For how many vehicles? All these considerations should be laid out in your plan before you agree on a house for couples.
Get Your Priorities Straight
Remember that not everything will go according to plan. You may not even get to check off everything on your list. That’s why it’s important to know your priorities.
What are your non-negotiables or must-haves? What can you compromise on?
If you’re purchasing a foreclosed property, for example, you may not like the original layout of the interior. Maybe the paint is chipped or faded in some areas. Or maybe some of the tiles are broken. If the property is in an ideal location with a good neighborhood, do the smaller things really matter that much? You can always redecorate anything that’s not to your taste.
If a property ticks the most important boxes, maybe you can forgive a few shortcomings. Keeping an open mind can help you find the right house faster.
Research About Real Estate
This is one of the home-buying tips for 2022 that you’ll do well to take. You live in the golden age of information—take advantage of that. Everything you need to know is available to you with just a few clicks.
You can do a background check on a developer over the internet. Furthermore, you can research other key information like the average price of houses in a certain location, or the crime rate, traffic conditions, or even the number of hospitals and schools within the vicinity.
Find the Right Realtor
To find the right house for couples, work only with a qualified real estate professional to make your home search as seamless as possible. You’ll sleep better at night knowing that your future is in the hands of someone who has gained credibility and earned respect in their field.
The right realtor can also give you practical advice and insights on real estate, so you can pick up a few lessons along the way.
Attend Open Houses
Nothing beats seeing the house you have an eye on in person. Once you’ve identified certain houses that you think fit your requirements, go ahead and check them on location.
Size up each property and look around the neighborhood. Can you picture yourself living there? If not, at least you can easily cross it off your list. If yes, then maybe you’ve found your dream home.
Buying a house for couple will likely be one of the biggest purchases you’ll ever make—and one that’ll impact the rest of your life. It won’t do you any good to rush into it. To get it right, you need to take your time and make sure you’re financially, emotionally, and mentally prepared to take it on and see it through.
If you keep the goal in sight, you’ll eventually find the perfect place where you can forge new memories with your loved ones.