Survive Your Relationship: Home Buying Edition

Has anyone ever given you relationship advice? As well-meaning as it may be, most of it ends up being inapplicable at best and at worst, damaging. Someone once told me to never, I mean NEVER, go house shopping as a newlywed. To wait a few years. The reason? Nothing will wear down that honeymoon feel like realizing that you and your partner have very different tastes.

Now I’m not a counselor, or a psychologist, but I can tell you that many-a-couple has successfully found a home that suits both partners’ needs. Can negotiating different architectural, location, and design preferences be tricky? Yes. But it can most definitely be done. Those that can learn how to communicate and plan before home shopping have a better experience overall as they are looking to buy their first home. Let’s not call it relationship advice per se, but instead, read on to learn some valuable tips and tricks to keep both you and your partner happy while home shopping.

Create “Must Have” Lists

Must have lists should be practical lists of things that you and your partner cannot live without. Each partner should compose a list separately and then compare the lists to see what things are similar. When touring homes it is easy to get caught up in the flashy additions, while overlooking what really matters. Sitting down and creating a must have list beforehand will vet properties before you look at them, and help you to understand where your partner is coming from. Home aesthetics can be changed, but remember, things like location and privacy cannot. So your must have list should be made up of a few non-negotiable home qualities.


Of course we all have things we need in a home, but there are also things we’d really like in a home—a good sized back yard, granite counter tops, a walk in closet. Part of creating the must have list should also be sitting down and creating a few other lists too—prioritize using a few different columns like “must have,” “would like,” and “nice to have.” That way you know before you even look at homes where compromise can happen and where it can’t. These lists can also help your real estate expert show you properties that will best appeal to your tastes and that meet the largest number of both partners’ needs and wants.

Use Your Real Estate Expert

A lot of fighting can be averted by making sure the couple is on the same page as their real estate agent. Spend time talking to the agent before looking at homes so the agent gets to know you and your needs. This will also create a better relationship between the couple and the agent so that everyone feels as if they are being heard. The real estate agent is a good source of knowledge too—so if you’re having a hard time coming up with your lists, or knowing what you need vs. what you want, the real estate agent can help counsel you on what most people find important in a home, and what can be changed/negotiated. Furthermore, they’ll be able to give you advice about what things are going to help your home appreciate in value over time, and what won’t. Don’t overlook their expertise in the buying process.

Successful home shopping might not be the easiest thing in the world, but it can and should be thrilling. Realize that there are bound to be bumps in the road, but with good preparation, smart planning, and open communication these difficulties can be minimized so that you and your partner aren’t yelling at each other by the end of the excursion. Instead, you can use these skills to build a healthy relationship and keep the spark alive. How’s that for advice?

My husband and I are looking at a house that has an HOA, but we never lived with one before so we are curious to know if there are benefits to having one. I liked how you pointed out that one good thing is that they will provide a landscape company to help with the yard work. It will be great not having to worry about spending all of our time doing it, but having it still look nice.

Very nice love the colors

I would love to have a tiny home to live in! It seems more manageable and affordable. The Hiatus in Oregon is beautiful. I love the wood floors. can you put a tiny house on any property? Thanks for the inspiration and information!

I have a home in Stamford CT and I am looking for someone to assume my mortgage. Not sure if you are interested in something like this based on what I saw on your website. Eric

Is it possible to buy a first home with a 580 credit score? The house is in Groton ct and is only $90,000