Buying a home is meant to be an exciting experience, an opportunity to dream, plan, and eventually establish your new role as a property owner. According to a recent survey conducted by Harris Poll, however, the majority of home buyers (and sellers) admit that the real estate process is a tremendous catalyst for arguments with their significant other. Does that mean your next home purchase is destined to be riddled with stress, strife, and disagreements? With a little planning—and familiarity with these 5 common difficulties during the real estate process—you can safely and successfully navigate your home buying experience.
According to the survey recently commissioned by Zillow and conducted by Harris Poll, 77% of adults who have bought a home with their significant other in the past ten years (and 71% of those who have sold a home in the past ten years) say that they argued during the real estate process.
The stress of buying and selling a home is connected to a multitude of factors: finances, goals, and even preparedness for the unexpected. Among sellers, the poll revealed that younger sellers were likely to argue more than their older counterparts (85% of millennials versus 54% of baby boomers). It stands to reason that this trend is also true for home buying, where older generations have more experience with the real estate process, and perhaps more experience overcoming disagreements in general. First time home buyers, on the other hand, don’t always know what to expect from the real estate process, and the stress of making unanticipated decisions can take a toll.
While the poll did not reveal the extent of the relational disagreement, it did expose some patterns in the home buying process. Many of the respondents cited the same overarching difficulties as their reason for arguing with their loved ones. By preparing for these challenges in advance—and partnering with a trustworthy and knowledgeable agent—you and your loved one can eliminate the more difficult and unexpected elements of the real estate process.
Nearly half of couples (some 42%) argue most often over the location of their future home. Many would assume that finances would be the most significant cause of disagreement in the real estate process—and it is when it comes to selling a home—but for home buyers, location seems to be the bigger point of contention.
How can you avoid this? By working with your partner and your local real estate agent, identify the most important aspects of your home’s location. Is it specific school districts, proximity to shops and restaurants, or your commute to work? Or perhaps finding a quiet, safe neighborhood for your growing family is the most important aspect of your home? By identifying your location priorities in advance, and outlining nonnegotiable elements with your partner, the two of you will be better prepared to find the right home in the right location. And by communicating your priorities, wish list, and must-haves to your agent, he or she can offer their local expertise to steer you toward a home you will both love.
It may come as a surprise that choosing a lender makes the list of difficulties in the real estate process. When it comes to making financial decisions that could impact the next 15 to 30 years of your life, however, nearly one-quarter of couples found themselves squabbling about the lender.
A good way to navigate choosing a mortgage lender is to do a fair amount of research with regard to rates, customer service, and lending process. Every lender is a little different in their approach, but couples can experience peace of mind knowing they reviewed their options and made an informed decision.
Approximately 37% of couples indicated that they argued about the budget while buying their home. One way to avoid disagreements when it comes to money is to get pre-approved for a mortgage before ever looking at listed properties. Establishing how much of a home loan you qualify for helps create more realistic expectations when you and your partner finally do begin looking at homes. If you have done the legwork to find a lender you can trust, then you can rest easy knowing they will help mitigate your risk—and theirs—by capping your loan at a reasonable, budget-friendly amount.
Mancave. Office. Large laundry room. Walk-in pantry. There is a difference between home features that you would love, and those that are truly must-have elements. The Harris Poll survey indicated that 54% of couples argue over the size and style of a home, while 47% argued over must-have features.
These disagreements bring us back to preparedness. By discussing your absolute must-have features before you start house hunting, you help each other create realistic expectations of what you need, what you would love (but don’t need), and what is just a pipe-dream.
Make a list of all the features you would love in a home and see how they compare to your partner’s list. See any crossover? Decide whether those features are absolutely necessary (such as the number of bedrooms) and which ones aren’t, and you’ll be on your way to finding a home that meets all of your needs.
If you’ve seen even one home show on TV, then you’ll know this is a real thing. In fact, a solid 29% of couples indicated that they argued over whether or not to buy a fixer-upper during the real estate process. While fixer-uppers can certainly make a good investment in certain scenarios, that might not be the best move in your current market or with your budget. Your local real estate agent can help you negotiate this disagreement by looking up comps in your area to see if spending money on a fixer-upper would make a worthwhile investment. Likewise, determining if you have the time and capital (and patience to live in a construction zone), will help you and your partner come to a compromise on what kind of home to buy.
Navigating the real estate process doesn’t need to be difficult, whether you are buying your first home or you’re an avid investor. LemonBrew helps eliminate the challenges of the real estate process by matching you with an expert, local real estate agent; providing secure, easy payment options; and even allowing you to get a rebate toward your closing costs when you purchase a home with a LemonBrew agent.