Love is in the air. Wedding bells are still ringing, the flowers still smell fresh and now you are thinking about your first home together. Being a newlywed is an amazing time to consider making your first home purchase.
However, as exciting as it is to say your “I do’s” may be, it’s wise to take a moment and create a game plan for this next big milestone in your relationship. Buying a home.
So now that you’ve had your big day, let’s take a look at some helpful tips to take the stress off your shoulders of house-hunting as newlyweds!
Have Fun Creating “Must-Have” and “Desired” Home Feature Lists
When you and your partner were each still “on the market”, there’s a good chance you both had your personal qualities you were looking for in another person. Usually, there are specifics you want your ideal partner to have, and then there are other traits or qualities that would be a bonus.
Well, finding the right home together is a very similar process!
You will both have features in mind that are absolutely must-have. Maybe you absolutely must have a home office, a huge kitchen, a location close to work, etc. Perhaps you’ve always fancied having a deck or swimming pool, or even something as simple as hardwood floors.
Take some time to create a list of your must-haves, rank them by priority, and then come together with each other to make a master list of must-haves you both agree on.
Make Sure You Both Share The Same Long-Term Visions, Too
Since you’re already at or beyond the point of getting married, it’s likely you share the same values and plans already. Still, it’s important to make sure you’re buying a home that fits your future needs, not just today’s.
Not being on the same page could create friction later, or if nothing else cost more money to adapt (read: relocate or upgrade).
For instance, be sure you share the same vision for things like:
- Home size: This is usually determined by whether or not you plan to have kids, and how many. Naturally, you wouldn’t want a smaller home if you’re just going to need a bigger house with more bedrooms later.
- Neighborhood: Will you be having kids and want to live in a great school district? Are one of your jobs more stable or demanding, making a specific location with a shorter commute the better choice? Do you want to build a nest egg as fast as possible, and therefore want an area with lower property taxes?
- Sustainability: With global warming and climate change becoming more top of mind, you or your partner may place importance on sustainability. For example, finding a location where you have space to add solar energy or gardens.
Getting clarity on things like this will help you narrow your home search and help ensure you both enjoy your home for many wonderful years ahead.
More Mortgages, More Options!
There is still a common myth that no matter what type of home you’re buying, you need to squirrel away at least a 20% down payment.
While making a higher down payment will mean having a lower monthly mortgage and save you on interest, there are plenty of mortgage options to help make moving into your dream home affordable.
Here’s a quick rundown:
- Fixed-Rate Mortgage, Long Term – One of the most popular types of mortgages. Payments made over a specific period while your interest rate never changes. Monthly payments are lower, too, compared to mortgages with a shorter term.
- Fixed-Rate Mortgage, Short Term – Another option where your interest rate never changes. You can save interest over time, however, monthly payments are higher. If you can afford the higher payments though, this is a great way to pay your loan off faster.
- FHA Mortgage – A government-backed loan insured by the Federal Housing Administration. FHA’s are meant to help borrowers with more modest means and credit histories purchase a home by allowing low down payment options.
- VA Mortgages – VA loans are for veterans and current military service members. They are backed by the Department of Veterans Affairs and require no down payment or mortgage insurance.
These are just a handful of the potential options available to you! To help simplify navigating the mortgage process and find the right loan for your situation, it’s always best to find a mortgage advisor.
Pause Major Purchases And Start Saving Your Down Payment Early
When it comes to making any new purchases, keep in mind that doing so can impact your credit, and in turn, your ability to qualify for your loan.
At this point, you know what kind of home and location you want to live in. You know the type of mortgage that’s best for your situation.
Now, use that information to figure out how much home you can afford and how much you need to save for your down payment.
While doing so, keeping major purchases in check will not only help you reach your down payment goal faster, it’ll also ensure your credit doesn’t get dinged.
Also remember that even if you aren’t putting a big purchase on credit, having large amounts of cash leaving (or even entering) your account will usually need to be discussed during your application.
And of course, discussing your current financial situations and goals is critical.
Make sure you and your partner have a clear picture of things such as:
- Existing bank account balances
- Student loan and credit card balances
- Retirement savings goals, etc.
- If and when you decide to have children, will one parent stay at home?
Knowing the answers to these factors and making any improvements where applicable will help increase your chances of getting approved, help you stay within your limits, and eliminate unnecessary headaches down the road!
Make Yourselves More Appealing To Sellers By Getting A Pre-Approval Letter
Congrats! You’ve made a lot of progress at this point and are now closer than ever to buying your dream home together.
You’re on the same page with what you want, where you want to live, and so on.
As you’re moving closer to turning the key and moving in, getting a pre-approval letter1 is a wise next step.
(Note: This is different from pre-qualifying, where you simply have an estimate of how much you may be able to get a loan for based on incomes and any debts you both have.)
Having a pre-approval letter from a lender means they’ve thoroughly examined your finances and confirmed, in writing, exactly how much you’ve qualified to borrow.
Compared to buyers who haven’t gone this far, a pre-approval letter makes you look far more serious and attractive to sellers, giving you an advantage.
While You Shop For Your Home, Here’s A Handy Checklist Of Other Things To Keep In Mind!
Final Thoughts: Put Your Marriage First and Have FUN!
Throughout the process of buying your first home together, at the end of the day, your marriage and happiness should be your top priority.
The reality is buying a home is a big commitment. However, keeping an open mind and being able to compromise to find a house that suits both of your desired features and budget will help keep buying your home the fun and exciting journey it’s meant to be!
Ready to start your journey as newlywed homeowners? We are here to help you by answering your questions and help navigate the mortgage process.
A pre-approval is an initial determination of an applicant’s ability to borrow up to a certain amount. It is based upon certain assumptions resulting from an initial review of incomplete credit information criteria. A pre-approval is not an approval of a completed application nor is it a commitment to lend or a guarantee of any particular loan product, features or terms. Final loan approval follows a comprehensive analysis of an applicant’s creditworthiness, the satisfaction of all product-specific underwriting requirements and conditions and property acceptability and eligibility.
This is not a commitment to lend. Programs available to qualified borrowers. Subject to credit approval, underwriting approval, and lender terms and conditions. Program terms available may be based on the state or county in which the financed property is located. Programs subject to change without notice. Additional restrictions may apply. Important information will be provided to you in the disclosures you receive after your loan application has been received. Please consult your tax advisor regarding the deductibility of interest.
It is important to talk with a tax advisor and/or attorney regarding your circumstances to make informed decisions.
Opes Advisors, a Division of Flagstar Bank | Member FDIC | Equal Housing Lender
While Opes Advisors, a division of Flagstar Bank, uses all reasonable efforts to ensure that this information is current, accurate and complete on the date of publication, no representations or warranties are made (express or implied) as to the reliability, accuracy or completeness of such information. Opes Advisors, a division of Flagstar Bank, therefore, cannot be held liable for any loss arising or indirectly from the use of, or any action taken in reliance on, any information appearing in this.