Home-buying Couples: Top 5 Biggest Conflicts

Buying a home can be one of the most exhilarating, and stressful, times in the life of any person. Multiply the stress, expectations, anxiety, and preferences by 2 and you’ve got potential trouble brewing.

It’s true. We see couples on HGTV finding the home of their dreams all the time. All that conflict is edited out. A new survey from LendingHome makes clear the biggest areas of stress home buying makes on a relationship.

Here are the top 5 biggest conflicts for home-buying couples:

#1: Longevity of the Relationship

If you have been with your partner for less than five years, it might be time to re-think buying a house right now. This survey studied millennial and Gen X couples buying their first home together. It found that couples who have been together for 5 years or longer disagreed only 14% of the time during the process.

The sad part is, the amount of disagreement more than doubles for couples who have been together for 4 years: they argued 30% of the time. That’s only one more year, but apparently, it’s the golden year in terms of peaceful home-buying experiences. In addition, the survey found that 60% of home buying couples said they disagreed occasionally, frequently or a lot during the process.

#2: Amount of Debt

Money, of course, is a big problem for many couples, aside from home buying. It’s not a surprise that money concerns are huge when you are making this huge decision together. A big chunk of your income will go to this dwelling every month you may have different priorities when it comes to housing.

49% of couples disagreed - according to this survey - with how much debt to take on. This was the single biggest disagreement in the whole survey. How can anyone avoid it?

  • Both partners have to be clear on your current financial situation - especially if you don’t share a bank account.
  • Both partners need to know the full amount of debt already in each name and have plans for paying it down.
  • Both partners have to have a realistic picture of how much more you’re willing to take on and a plan to pay for that as well.

Remember - these questions are just the starting point. You might still disagree once you have all these nailed down, or you might find that nailing these down makes your priorities as a couple clear.

#3: Style of House

Right up there with debt is style. Who doesn’t have a style of home and an ideal neighborhood picked out in his or her mind? The survey found that 46% of couples disagreed about what style of home to choose. Interestingly, it also showed that women generally preferred a traditional or cozy home in the suburbs or established neighborhoods and men generally preferred a modern home in a city setting.

Before you start the search process, take some time to sit down together and talk about why you are buying this home. Is this a starter home, hopefully on your way to something bigger and better down the road or after you have kids? Is this your forever home with room to grow? What things will you need near you if you do have kids? What things are you willing to give up? What other goals or milestones do you have coming up and how will living in this house affect that?

#4:  Size of House

The survey found that 45% of couples disagreed over the size of the house they were going to buy. One word of advice to any first-time home buyer (or maybe even subsequent home-buyers...we don’t always learn from our mistakes, do we?).

It’s not a good idea to max out your budget, even if you can afford it. Buying a new home almost always ends up being more expensive than you think - in terms of moving costs and other small extra fixes that can add up along the way. If you are one of those couples disagreeing over the size, think about all of your other priorities first to help you iron out that issue. You might find that there are amenities available with a smaller home that will make up for missing space indoors.

#5: Whether to DIY

With Do It Yourself shows on HGTV exploding in popularity over the last 10-15 years, it’s no surprise that couples would fight about this. The survey shows 43% of couples disagree over this issue.

If you are the partner dreaming to DIY a concrete countertop (because it’s not really in the budget and Chip makes it look so easy!), make sure you do your research. Most of the time, unless you are highly experienced (and even then), all DIY projects take a lot more money, time and patience than you are truly willing to dish out.

You might be set on a fixer-upper, but it’s always a good idea to have a contractor come with you to look at a potential new home. You may find that having a realistic picture of how much it will cost and how much time it will take will help make your decision for you. Just don’t make the mistake of assuming you can do it in a week.

Takeaway

Good news: more than 60% of couples said the process didn’t affect the overall health of their relationship and they felt more committed than ever after they bought their house together. So, even though there may be disagreements, there’s a really good chance it’ll all be worth it.

With any home buying decision, it is critical that you have the right people by your side. Please give us a call. We would be honored to help.

248-348-7200