Romantic couple arguing, both wearing grey shirts and pointing fingers

Reconcilable Differences: House Hunting Edition

In Buyers, Golf Course Living by Doug Phelps

It’s not just a cliche: opposites really do attract!  Life has a funny way of pairing us up with a spouse who has characteristics and habits that we don’t have which ultimately makes us more understanding and happier people.  For example, in every couple there is usually a planner who loves spreadsheets and a spontaneous doer and they balance each other nicely throughout the twists and turns of life.  
But what happens when these very different personalities try to make a big decision like buying a new house?  There are countless jokes about the typical couple on House Hunters who have such different opinions on what they’d like in a house, the viewer has to assume there is no way that these exist in one house. Fear not though, while the perfect unicorn of a house may not exist to check off all the boxes on both lists, there are ways to reconcile individual preferences so both partners can be happy.  The following ideas apply to couples regardless if they’ve bought many houses together before or if they’re buying a house together for the first time ever:

1. Compromise

For anyone who has been in a relationship longer than a few years, you already know that the key to peace most of the time is compromise and house hunting is no different.  Compromise ensures that both of you get a little bit of what you want and will both be happy.  For example, while one of you may prefer a large yard but the other doesn’t want to worry about maintenance then a golf course property might be a perfect compromise as the grounds maintenance is taken care of by the HOA.  In another example, you may find compromise in the way of a trade-off.  Your spouse may prefer a certain neighborhood that you don’t like, so you make a trade-off in the style of home that you prefer.  You may not get everything you want, but you both are happy and compromise and trade-offs are key to harmonious house hunting.

2. Thinking Ahead

Depending on where you are in your relationship and life journey, it will likely alter your house hunting plans.  For example, if you are newly married and looking to have a first baby or expand your family then you may want to look for a spacious single family home with a yard.  If one of you prefers a modern condo downtown next to a lot of bars and restaurants, that may not be a quiet setting for a newborn.  And if you and your spouse are close to retirement and one of you suggests a big yard but the other would like to downsize into a smaller yard, it’s important to think about maintenance and if you really want to deal with that for years. No matter what you or your spouse’s individual preferences or interests are, you need to think about what the upcoming chapter of your life is going to look like. 

3. Listen

You love your spouse and although you may not love their preferences, they still may have a point. Before even starting to look at properties, it may be a good idea for you both to sit down together and list out what you’d like in a home.  As you start to see the differences in your lists, ask them to explain why they want certain things and you can share your reasons as well.  You may find out that some features would be ‘nice to have’ while some features may have an emotional overtone to them, such as it reminds them of their childhood home.  By understanding why your spouse prefers certain things, it can be easier to prioritize what you’re willing to compromise on and if you’re willing to see their point of view. I have an exercise I ask all my clients to complete. It’s fun and often educational to have each person do one on their own, then we complete the combined one together.

Are you ready to make a move right now? Are you in the market to buy or sell your home?  Call and text me at (720) 323-4176 or email me at [email protected]