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Making compromises during the home search

Buying a property with a spouse or partner can be an exciting time, however choosing a home that meets both parties’ needs is not always easy. 

“One person’s vision of the ideal home may not be the same as the others’. Everyone has their own unique idea of their dream home, which often makes finding the perfect home for both individuals a difficult task,” says Adrian Goslett, Regional Director and CEO of RE/MAX of Southern Africa.

He notes that while difficult, it is not impossible, provided that both parties are willing to work through it together to find a home that makes everyone happy. Goslett provides a few tips that can make the process a little bit easier:

Write a list

Putting pen to paper is an ideal way to organize one’s thoughts and have a clear vision of what each person wants. Both partners need to sit down and make a list of the top ten features they would like in their next home. They might be surprised to learn that their wants are not as different as they seem at first.

Determining wants from needs

Once each person has made their list, they should then categorise each of the items into wants and needs. Goslett says that a want is something that the buyer would like, but could live without if necessary while a need is something that they cannot live without. An example of a want is a view from the home, while a need could be office space or an extra bedroom for a growing family.

Put the items in order of priority

Arrange the features on the lists in order from the most important to the least important.

Discuss the lists

Communication is a key element for a successful relationship between two people. This means that sitting down and discussing the motivation behind each of the items on the lists, which will give the other person some insight into why those aspects are important.

Be open to making compromises

Although both parties may not agree on certain items, it does not mean that homes with these features should be completely discarded from the search. Goslett says that buyers may be more inclined to change their mind about a feature once they have seen it in person and have heard the other person’s motivation behind why that element is important to them. Keep an open mind and be prepared to make some compromises.

Real estate professionals can be a sounding board

A real estate agent can provide an objective point of view that can help both parties find neutral ground. Goslett points out that an experienced real estate professional will be able to give unbiased advice regarding which features will be able to fit into their budget and which won’t work as well.

Run the numbers

Calculate the cost of adding the features to the home at a later stage. Just because the home does not currently have all the features at the moment, it does not mean that it cannot be changed. Part of the compromise might be waiting a while before the home is upgraded, but not necessarily completely letting go of those wants.

Take a break

Searching for a home can be an emotional experience, so if discussions become too heated, take a time out from the search and focus on something else for a while. Sometimes stepping away from a situation can give a new perspective and renewed energy to deal with it.

Keep an eye on the big picture

Buying a home together is about embarking on a new adventure. It should be more about moving forward together than pulling in opposite directions. Compromising is worthwhile if it means that the relationship is strengthened.

“Buying a property with someone may mean letting go of the dream home vision to find the right home that fits both partners,” Goslett concludes.


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