Nothing feels quite like the thrill of having a blank canvas to furnish, the exploration of every nook and cranny, and the joy in outfitting each room just how you imagine.
When you and your partner decide to buy a new home together, it's a big and exciting step in 'adulting.' Unlike renting an apartment for a year or month at a time, buying a home is often a long-term commitment.
As with every new adventure, you might feel overwhelmed by the different decisions that could potentially lead to your dream home. Even if the road gets bumpy and you stumble along the way, you're sure to learn several important lessons that will ultimately help you make the right choice.
Here are six things you and your partner will learn when buying your first home:
1. Just like the walls of your new home, you learn what your relationship is really made of.
While it might have been easy committing to each other, it might be more challenging to commit to a house. And even though the end goal is to live happily ever after, the house-buying process probably won't feel anything like a fairytale. That means you and your partner will most likely be spending long hours (think of it as extra quality time) discussing your housing likes and dislikes, negotiating compromises, and making a final decision.
You both should create a personal "must-have" list and a "nice-to- have" list. Then, review and compare each of your individual preferences together. Finally, make a new, joint list of "must-have" and "nice-to- have" items you can check off when you actually go house hunting.
Though the house-buying process can be intensive, and you might get caught up in all the excitement, it's important to remember these discussions must be nuanced and thoughtful. Purchasing a new home can provide immediate satisfaction, but over-splurging due to miscommunication may introduce an unwelcome reality down the road.
No matter what relationship stage you and your significant other happen to be in, you'll hopefully learn your partnership is as strong as the foundation of your future home.
2. Your first home is so much more than just a "house."
When choosing your first home, the physical attributes like style, number of rooms, and location are important, but they won't make a house feel like home. By looking at several options with similar exterior characteristics, you'll learn that making a final decision is a surprisingly emotional one.
While all the logistics like size, location, and price have to fit your needs, you should also take some time for self-reflection before making this life-changing decision. Ask yourself some sensitive questions: Will I be happy here? Can I picture my family creating treasured memories in five, ten, twenty or even more years? Most importantly, do I feel "at home"? If the answer is yes, you already are.
Once you've assessed both the rational benefits and emotional appeals, you should feel confident in your decision and know you're ready to make a purchase.
3. It’s all about patience, patience, patience.
Many people know real estate is all about "location, location, location." However, when it comes to buying a new home, even more learn the importance of "patience, patience, patience," too. You'll need a lot of it as you begin the multi-step process of searching online or in the newspaper (yes, newspapers still exist and can be incredibly useful in your search!). Once you've found some possibilities, it's time to get off the couch and into some open houses. Actually seeing a house in person is the only way to get the firsthand, immersive experience of a potential home. No matter how many weekends you spend house hunting and how frustrated you may feel, just remember, the perfect house is out there. Patience is the only way to find it. Once you've chosen your new home, you'll still need patience as you negotiate price because you don't want to seem overeager when making a counter offer.
Even after you've moved into your new home, you'll still have to be patient with the redecorating, remodeling, and reorganizing. Organization is especially important in a new garage because many people are so exhausted by the moving process, they often leave miscellaneous items in there. Before you know it, the garage is a disaster. While it still may take a lot of patience to organize all of your stuff, Gladiator® GarageWorks can speed the process along and help you avoid another house-related headache by providing garage and household organization systems that empower you to easily find, showcase and protect your gear.
Many new homeowners are now outfitting their garage with organization solutions before they even move in, as it helps prevent the empty space from becoming a catch-all for random odds and ends that didn't make it into the home. By installing Gladiator® GearWall® Panels, which are ideal for hanging everything from heavy tools to lighter sports equipment with interchangeable storage hooks and cabinets, you can easily create space for all of your belongings.
After all, no one wants to spend time searching for stuff, and it makes life so much easier if you start with an organization system to keep everything within easy reach following a long move-in process.
4. You learn to solve your own problems.
Becoming a homeowner means you also become your own landlord. When something breaks, the only person who can fix it, or call someone to fix it, is you. With all your new responsibilities, you'll learn how to be more resourceful and self-reliant.
You'll also figure out how to create a budget for incidentals like the plumber, exterminator, locksmith, etc. Consider putting aside an emergency fund when you first move into a new home, so you're always prepared. And don't forget any of the fixes your inspector suggested during the purchasing process. You'll want to get a jump on that maintenance as soon as possible, so it doesn't become a bigger and more costly issue later.
If you don't want to hire someone for a quick fix, you and your partner might even learn some new maintenance skills. For first-time homebuyers, signing on the dotted line might be an official sign of "adulting," but taking care of that home is what really proves you're a grownup.
5. Combining assets can be challenging, but it's necessary.
Before buying a home, especially if it's your first, you and your partner need to figure out what kind of place you can afford together. To combine assets effectively and give yourselves the best chance of landing your dream home, you first need to share details about each person's income and savings. More importantly, you need to share your credit scores and reports with one another because that affects your ability to get a mortgage and your interest rate.
First-time homeowners should also try to avoid the all too common pitfall of assuming the loan amount you're qualified for is what you should spend. The lender doesn't always have a clear comprehension of you and your partner's daily expenses. Before meeting a lender, make a combined budget (including taxes) to determine how much you're comfortable spending monthly on a home.
If you're married or plan on tying the knot soon, you should also consider setting up a joint bank account to pay the mortgage, property taxes, insurance, and other housing costs. Each person can even set up automatic monthly deposits from your individual bank accounts to your joint account. This way, both people share the financial responsibility equally and can enjoy your
new home together all the more.
6. Owning a home is taking a leap of faith, but the best things in life take hard work and sacrifice.
Even when you've spent months doing research, looking at houses, analyzing your finances, and probably losing a bit of sleep in the process, it all comes down to a leap of faith. Many homebuyers, especially first-timers, decide on a new house simply because "it feels right." It's easy to get caught up in all the logistics when making this decision, but trust your gut. Chances are you'll be paying for your home's mortgage for a long time, so it's important you feel like all the work you do and sacrifices you make are well worth it.
Though buying a new home certainly isn't easy, it's a fulfilling and rewarding experience. "There truly is no place like home."