Home Buying Tips for those Getting Hitched

February 10, 2017 | by Katie Claflin

Categories: First Time Buyer, Homeownership

You’re getting married—congratulations!  Like many couples, you may be thinking about starting your life together in a home of your own.  In fact, according to a study conducted by Coldwell Banker, 35% of Americans purchased their first home together within two years of getting married.

Buying a home is a complicated process, but these tips compiled by GoBankingRates.com and realtor.com can help put you and your soon-to-be spouse on the right track.

  1. Know your credit score and overall financial situation. Have an honest conversation about your income, savings, and credit to help you determine if you’re ready to buy a home. We also recommend taking a home buyer education course to help you better understand both your financial situation and the entire home buying process.  Click here to find one in your area.
     
  2. Consider your other financial goals. Do you want to have kids, save for retirement, or go back to school?  Make sure you discuss your long-term plans together and how they will affect your finances.
     
  3. Get pre-approved for a mortgage. A pre-approval will demonstrate to a real estate agent that you are serious about buying a home and will let you know how much financing you’ll qualify for.
     
  4. Create a new home wish list. Work together to come up with a list of must-have features for your home. You should also determine if you’d prefer a fixer-upper or a home that is move-in ready, because that can affect the size of the home and neighborhood you can afford.
     
  5. Find a real estate agent. In addition to helping you find your dream home, your real estate agent can help you understand all of the paperwork and help you negotiate the home price.
     
  6. Shop around for a mortgage. Research conducted by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau found that almost half of borrowers don't contact multiple lenders even though comparing rates can save them thousands of dollars. You should know what your mortgage options are and contact at least three lenders before making your decision.
     
  7. Save for your down payment. While many loan options no longer require 20 percent down, putting down more than the minimum will decrease your monthly payment and help you reduce the costs of mortgage insurance. You should also explore down payment assistance programs, like TSAHC’s, that can provide you with a grant to put toward your down payment.

    Need extra help with your down payment? Some couples are forgoing traditional registries and opting for registries that allow wedding guests to contribute to their down payment. Click here to learn more about these non-traditional registries and how they can help you achieve your down payment goals sooner.
     
  8. Don’t forget about closing costs and ongoing expenses. Closing costs are separate from the down payment and can increase the amount of cash that home buyers need to close on their home.  Ongoing costs, such as taxes, insurance and maintenance, can also add to the expense of owning a home. Make sure you fully understand and budget for these costs before you sign on the dotted line.

On the House blog posts are meant to provide general information on various housing-related issues, research and programs. We are not liable for any errors or inaccuracies in the information provided by blog sources. Furthermore, this blog is not legal advice and should not be used as a substitute for legal advice from a licensed professional attorney.

Comments

Monica Ashton

My husband and I have been looking at homes for sale, and it has been super overwhelming. Your advice is very helpful! I think that taking a home buyer education course is such a great idea. We are learning a lot in this process, and we are grateful for any help we can find. Thank you!

Moira Blythe

My husband and I are looking for a home to buy, but we do not have the 20 percent down payment. I appreciate your advice that there are now plenty of loan options that will allow us to work past that. I agree that we should still try to save as much as we can so that our payments are as low as we can make them.

Bobby Saint

I like that you provided some home buying tips such as knowing your credit score and overall financial situation. It is recommended that you maintain a good credit score to ensure your mortgage loan application’s approval. Also, it’s best to hire a local real estate agent who is familiar with the area or community to assist you with closing a deal. If I were to buy a single family home, I would make sure to take this into account. Thanks.

Dan

Thanks for your tips about home buying, this article is perfect for me since I’m getting married in seven months and we are looking for a house but we honestly don’t know where to start. I understand that we should check our financial status before proceeding to apply a home loan or buying. We should assess if our credit scores can meet the qualifications for it. Thanks for mentioning to get a homebuyer education course, we honestly needed to understand more about this. I’ll be sure to check on that.

Derek Dewitt

My wife and I are getting ready to buy our first home together, but we aren’t sure where to begin. I like that you suggest getting pre-approved to demonstrate to a real estate agent that you are serious about buying a home and find out how much financing you qualify for. This will give us a much better idea about our price range, so we’ll be sure to do this. Thanks for sharing!

Derek McDoogle

I like that you talked about shopping around for a mortgage.  I am going to tell my wife this info tonight so we can make a good decision.  We are thinking about buying a house in the Springtime next year.  This info will help us make a better, more informed choice.  Thanks for the expert tips and advice!

James Gomez

Very nice post! Thanks for sharing this information.

Rachel Lannister

Thank you for the great blog. In it you mentioned that you should make a list of all the things you want in your home, and make sure all those things are within a realistic budget. My younger brother and his fiance are looking for a home to start a family in. I’ll be sure to sit down with them and go over what they want, so that they can narrow down their selection of homes and focus on the smaller details.

Amanda Drew

It sounds like a good idea to make a list of all your must-have features and then figure out if the two of you want a fixer-upper or a move-in ready home. My soon-to-be fiance and I are planning our future, and we want a house after we are married. Your tips should help us when we look for real estate for sale.

Kyle Winters

These are some really awesome suggestions, particularly the one about creating a wish list. It can really help to narrow down your house hunt if you have a physical list of what you want. Of course, you don’t want to go outside of your budget, so it might also help to the divide the list between necessities and things that you’d like to have if you can afford them.

Ridley Fitzgerald

I am getting married this summer, and I want to have a small home that we can move in. It’s a great idea to sit down together and make a list of things we both must have. That would save some house-hunting time, I’m sure.

Kenneth Gladman

I like your advice on knowing your credit score before buying.  If it isn’t quite where it needs to be you may want to wait and buy later.  This can save you money over time.

Lillian Schaeffer

Thanks for bringing to my attention the importance of talking about other long-term financial goals when buying a house. My husband and I are recently married, and we’ve been talking about purchasing a house somewhere. We want to start a family sometime in the future, so maybe it would be a good idea to discuss things like that that could have an effect on our finances to see if purchasing a house is still the right thing for us.

Keith Gumbinger

One other thing to consider before buying your first home is what amount each spouse will contribute toward housing expenses. Who will contribute how much income toward the mortgage each month? Will this be 50-50? 60-40? How much is his share of utility cost… and how much is her share of maintenance? Setting up a “home” budget now based on your incomes and what percent of each regular expense accrues to whom can save budgetary headaches (and arguments) later.

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