There are so many things to know about home ownership, the list is long and honestly quite exhaustive. My answer might surprise you but the number one thing that hands down I advise my clients is most important is .....Home ownership is best when it is a team effort with lots of good communication. Approaching home ownership with a team attitude can help avoid some contention and frustration down the road, because let’s face it, we all know what the number one source of contention and argument in relationship is……right? Hands down the answer is…. Finances….. and home ownership equals the biggest financial decision you will probably ever make in your life.
By working as a team, you are able to explore questions you may not have even thought of asking. Then, once you know the questions, it’s easy to find the answers. Your team will probably consist of you and the person you have the most significant relationship with. This is probably your spouse, partner or maybe a close family member. This person should be someone that knows you fairly well, you are able to communicate openly and honestly with and cares about making great team decisions with you. Planning to buy a home or planning to move onto a larger home is best when planned together as a team. There are always unexpected turns in life and you want to make sure that the decisions you make for home ownership are a well thought out team decision. When having these discussions here are a few conversations you might want to think about and discuss.
1- How much house can we afford comfortably and still be able to afford all our other expenses?
2- What strategies will we put into place to save money for regular maintenance on the house?
3- What are our long term plans for our house? How long do we plan on staying in our home? What mortgage strategies do we have? …. For example…. Do we plan on using our first house as an investment property and renting it out after we have lived here for several years? Do we plan on selling and upgrading after several years? Will we use our home as a tool to finance future college expenses?
4- What plans do we have in repaying our mortgage. For example… Do we know how much additional principal we would need to pay each month to cut our mortgage from 30 years to 15 years?
5- Do we have a plan in place as to how the mortgage would be paid if financial troubles unexpectedly came our way. (Heaven forbid this ever happen, but it’s nice to have the conversation just so you know you have a plan.) Would we sell? Down size? Take in a renter? Use savings?? And for how long would we use savings?
Start with some of these discussions and more will arise naturally. This is a great way to start putting plans in place and hopefully avoid the contention that can arise from financial disagreements. Make sure you are on the same page going into this decision, it’s one of the biggest financial decisions you will make and it is best to have a team attitude. A good Real Estate Agent and a trusted Mortgage Professional are great additions to your team in helping guide these financial discussions. Make sure your team is really listening to what you are saying and doing what is in your best interest AND likewise make sure YOU are listening to what your team has to say. When you are ready to have these discussions, I would love to be a part of your team and help guide you and the rest of your team think about all the different aspects of home ownership. Call or email me and we can start the conversation. If “finances” is one of the biggest sources of contention in a relationship, a team attitude with great communication is one of the best ways to avoid that kind of contention in your relationship. –You can contact me directly, email sherijoi1972 at gmail dot com and text phone 503-380-1156. Cheers to the end of scary questions and stories!!!
(The above blog ties in nicely to Scary Question #2 from a couple weeks ago “Will I be able to afford my own home.” A great read if you missed it.)