Buying a property with a partner can be an exciting next step in a relationship.Swapping paying rent or living with family for cosy nights with your beloved in your own home can be a blissful prospect.
But before you arrange a series of viewings in a giddy rush of excitement, it’s worth sitting down and talking a few things through with your partner.
Purchasing a property is a huge commitment, yet most couples spend more time planning a holiday (7.8 hours) than planning their home search (5.5 hours).*
Getting some of the practical stuff nailed down early on will help you focus your search efforts and avoid arguments along the way.
Some of these questions may seem awkward, but once you’ve got through them, you can get on with the fun of searching for your new home together.
Here are six questions to ask.
1) What is your financial situation? Many couples shy away from discussing money matters, but it’s essential you both disclose your income, savings and debts, as this will affect how much you can borrow.
2) How will we split ownership? Most couples opt for a straightforward 50/50 split. But if one party has a larger deposit or earns significantly more, some couples strike a different arrangement.
3) How will we split the bills? Agree on how you’ll cover mortgage repayments, council tax, utilities and food. Having some funds in reserve is also good, as you’ll be responsible for maintenance and repairs in your new home.
4) What are your long-term plans? You’re obviously committed to each other, but it’s still important to explore where you see yourselves in five or ten years. If you plan to have children or get a pet, this will influence your choice of property.
5) How much DIY are you prepared to do? A doer-upper can be a great investment if you’re willing to do some of the renovation work yourself. But DIY can be messy and time-consuming, so it’s vital you both know what’s involved before you go down this route.
6) Shall we get a cohabitation agreement? This legal document outlines the property’s ownership split and each party’s financial responsibilities. If you later break up, it will help avoid disagreement. Discussing such a possibility may seem like a passion killer, but it can also give you both peace of mind. If family members have stumped up the cash to help with the deposit, they may insist on it.
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