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New home: A couple's guide to getting what you both want

If you’re on the look-out for a new home, it’s likely you’ve already been warned that moving is ‘one of the most stressful experiences of your life’. And if you’re buying as a couple, you might already agree with that statement. After all, who hasn’t clashed with their partners over bathroom suites, living room decor and the size of the garden shed?

So, what should you do if one of you wants an old property, and the other wants a new build? Or one of you wants a big garden, but the other thinks a modern kitchen is more important? Differing opinions are inevitable, so the first step is to accept there will need to be compromise somewhere along the line. While you might have different ideas of what type of house you want to buy, all is not lost. There are lots of tricks and techniques you can use to make the best of the experience, and ultimately buy a home that you’re both totally happy with.

Create a master list

Start by making a list of must-have features of your next house, whether that’s proximity to outstanding local schools, good transport links or space for a guest bedroom. Then, spend some time going through the lists together, prioritising all features that you agree on and putting them onto one master list. 

Set aside proper time to chat

Don’t expect to have a productive and insightful conversation about buying a new home straight after work, when you’re both tired after a long day. Instead, set aside some quality time to chat through your options, whether you go out for a meal, take the dog for a walk, or simply make time for a cup of tea around the kitchen table. 

Think about how your home will be used

Will one of you be working from home? Are you planning on having children? Does one of you have a hobby that requires a little extra space? Think about how you’ll both be using your new home, and make sure the space is adaptable enough for your needs. 

Accept that you’ll need to compromise

Compromising isn’t always easy, but remember this is a home for both of you to enjoy, and you’ll need to meet in the middle wherever possible. Recognise and acknowledge what matters to your partner, make sure they do the same for you, and above all else make sure you communicate openly and honestly throughout the whole process. 

Explore ownership options

There are lots of different ways to own a house as a couple, so make sure you explore all of your options and choose an ownership and mortgage that works for you both. From shared ownership to tenants in common and Help to Buy, do your research using independent, impartial sites such as the Homeowners Alliance, and seek advice from professionals, family, friends and colleagues. If you’re feeling confused, make a list of the pros and cons of each and go from there.

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