Deciding What You Want in a Home—as a Couple

John in HomeBuying

Many HomeBuyers have a difficult time deciding on the type of home and neighbourhood they want to live in.  Couples often have an even harder time because both parties may have very different ideas of what an ideal home is.  Recently, a couple I was working with had this exact problem.

Initially, both wanted a nice home that was in great condition and was in a good neighbourhood.  Although both preferred buying a detached home, they quickly saw that—given their budget—they  were only able to afford condominiums or condo townhomes in the condition and the neighbourhoods they wanted.  Fortunately this was a compromise that they were willing to make.

When we finally found a condo townhome that fit everything they were looking for in a home and neighbourhood, Susie absolutely fell in love with it.  Steve, on the other hand, started having second thoughts.  Although Steve liked the condo, he began to have doubts as to whether or not buying a condo was a good idea.  His rational was that for the same price he  could buy a slightly larger detached home in a neighbourhood that  wasn’t quite as hot.  He was also willing to buy a home that needed some renovations and was willing to do the renovations himself in order to save some money.  He felt that a house was a better long-term decision because it would give them more living space.  He also felt that, over time,  a house would appreciate in value more than a  condominium would.  The problem was that when we went out to look at a few detached houses, Steve would get excited about the potential he saw in many of them, while Susie saw nothing but complete dumps.  Susie admittedly had a hard time visualizing what these run down homes would look like after being renovated.

Deep down, Steve and Susie had very different ideas of what they wanted in a home.  Although they started out thinking that they wanted the same things, we soon found out that what each of them wanted in a home couldn’t have been any more different.

If you ever find yourself in a similar situation, your best approach is to sit down with your partner and discuss what each of you really wants and needs in a home, and most importantly, why?  Anyone who purchases a home, especially with another person, is never going to get everything they want.   Buying a home may involve you making small sacrifices, or it may very well involve you making big sacrifices to accommodate your partner’s needs.  Regardless of how big  your sacrifice is, you need to be aware of it and be comfortable making it before you are ready to step out and start looking at homes.   

Don’t try and come to terms with your sacrifice while you are out shopping for homes.  It’s not the right time.  Focus instead on coming to terms with your sacrifices before you get out there, and it will make shopping for a home with your partner far more enjoyable.

John Pasalis is a sales associate with Prudential Properties Plus in Toronto and a founder of Realosophy.

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