If you’re planning to buy the home of your dreams with the partner of your dreams, make sure you’ve been together for at least five years.
That’s the best way to keep arguments at bay, according to a new survey from LendingHome. Among millennial and Gen X couples buying their first home, twosomes who have been together for five years or longer disagreed only 14% of the time during the homebuying process. That number more than doubles for partners together for four years, who the survey found argued 30% of the time.
Overall, though, 60% of homebuying couples said they disagreed occasionally, frequently or a lot during the housing search.
Here’s where couples disagreed most, and how you can avoid the same fight:
1. How much debt to take on (49% of couples disagreed). Unsurprisingly, money was a top concern. It’s important that you’re clear with your partner on both your current financial situation, including what debt you have to your name and your plans for paying it down, as well as how much more you’re willing to take on. (That should be no problem for you millennial couples, right?) Here are a few talking points to make sure you’ve covered your bases.
2. What style of house to buy (46% of couples disagreed). The survey found that generally, women preferred traditional or cozy houses in the suburbs and established neighborhoods. Men, on the other hand, were more likely to prefer a modern home in a city setting. What kind of home you search for will depend not only on your budget and location, but also whether you see it as a starter home or a long-term investment, what neighborhood features you’d like, other financial goals and life milestones on your radar, and so on.
3. How big the house should be (45% of couples disagreed). Just because you prequalify for a $2 million mortgage doesn’t mean you should necessarily max out your funds. Make sure you go in with your partner understanding how much house you can afford, in terms of both size and price tag, to avoid stretching your budget thin.
4. Whether to make a DIY project out of it (43% of couples disagreed). HGTV might have you yearning to shiplap your way to your dream home, but it can be a serious time and money commitment (and it almost always takes more of both than planned). Doing research as a couple about what’s worth it and what’s not is a must. If you’re set on a fixer upper, consider having a contractor accompany you to your potential new home to get an on-the-spot assessment of what it’ll take to renovate.
While homebuying disagreements abounded, there’s a bright side: More than 60% of couples said that in the end, the fights didn’t affect their relationships, and more than half felt more committed to each other after finally signing on the dotted line.
And hey, if you can make it through the stress of buying your first home together, assembling all that IKEA furniture once you move in will be a cinch.