How to survive buying a home with a partner

Buying a home is often a challenge because it can be really difficult to work out what to compromise on. Nearly every property brief needs development and every buyer needs to come to terms with the realities of what their money will buy them. When buying a home with a partner this problem is magnified! It’s important for couples to be firmly on the same page, but this process can take some time. Even when both partners seem to agree, there are often subtle differences in what each wants, which can make it hard to come to a point of decision. Often these differences don’t even show up until one of you finds a property you really like.

Some couples start the buying journey thinking that they are completely aligned. I like to test whether this is really the case, because when buying a home with a partner it’s crucial that any differences are uncovered in order to make sure you buy the right property. They have to be identified and acknowledged before compromises can be agreed upon. Couples who are scared to disagree often float around making no commitments. Once the deal breakers for each partner are on the table and discussed at length, they will be able to work out which compromises they can both live with.  This is why it is important for both partners to be actively involved in the property search.

6 steps for successfully buying a home with a partner

Even couples that seem to agree on everything will have subtle differences when it comes to property preferences and what they are prepared to compromise on. And unless these differences are acknowledged and reconciled they could become hurdles when it comes to the crunch. Some couples have obvious differences and if one half feels like they are being ignored or forced to capitulate on major points that can lead to resentment. At it’s worst, in some cases I have even seen the less vocal partner sabotage property deals. So how can you ensure that when buying a home with a partner, both of you are equally represented in the property buying process?

  1. Realize at the outset that there will be differences even if you think that you agree on everything. There is no right and wrong here, both of you need to be represented.
  2. Write your briefs separately then meet and compare notes.
  3. Compile a joint list starting with the things you both want. These will become the must haves.
  4. Then list the things you differ on. These need to be discussed and negotiated. If you can’t come to agreement at this stage then put the list aside to review in a few weeks.
  5. Go and inspect properties together. Don’t let one half do all the work unless they are the sole decision maker.
  6. Once you have both inspected a number of properties and got a handle on what your money will buy you in your chosen area/s, revisit your list of differences. Often at this stage you will have a more realistic idea of what you can afford and may have even adjusted your own thoughts on what you are prepared to compromise on.

The quicker you recognize the differences and work out acceptable compromises the sooner you will buy your next home and get on with life. And, wouldn’t you know it, we can help! Our Getting Started Session is designed to help you gain clarity about what to buy, where to buy it and how much you’ll need to spend. It will save you months of your own time – and possibly even your relationship! Buying a home with a partner should be exciting for both of you and it will be, as long as you get it right.

Further reading:

How to get your husband on the same page when buying a home

What to compromise on when buying a house or apartment

Is It Better to Buy a House or Apartment For Your Family?

First published: July 2014

Updated: 26 February 2019

Please note: Good Deeds buyers tips are intended to be of a general nature. Please contact us for advice that is specific to your individual circumstances. You may also need to get advice from other professionals such as an accountant, mortgage broker, financial planner or solicitor.

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