Buying a home is an exciting process. For me, there’s nothing more exciting than daring to envision a new future with the prospect of a new home. For some, the process is easy, major factors are agreed upon and it’s smooth sailing. For others, however, it’s difficult to determine how to navigate where you ultimately are headed when there is a difference of opinion.
I will admit, my husband and I had very different visions for our dream home. He is ultra-modern, new construction, white and gray tones throughout. I, on the other hand, love the antique farm home, cast iron tubs and soap stone sinks. The older the house, the better with all the character and charm. When it came down to it, if we ever wanted to actually own a house, we were going to need to compromise, especially for the sanity of our real estate agent at the time.
Here’s how we did it:
I created a house hunting checklist to cover all the major qualities and features we were looking for in a home. There was a space for wants, needs and those features that were not appealing to us. We each filled one out.
After that, we compared lists, those items that we automatically agreed on, went automatically on the final copy.
Next, we focused on the areas that we didn’t agree on, but each of us felt there was “wiggle room”. For example, I wanted 4 bedrooms, he felt we could get by on 3 bedrooms. We agreed with a “Need 3, Want 4” approach. We were open to any home that had a minimum of 3 bedrooms.
After this, we tackled those areas that we sore spots for us, basically areas where our views were on opposite spectrums. This was the hardest. First, we prioritized what was important for the remaining items. For him, the age of home was most important, I felt strongly for the number of levels. We literally started bargaining “I’ll give you X if you give me Y”. It worked for the most part. In some cases, we agreed to be open to homes with specific features, but reversed the right to veto, if it looked like it was going to be too much of a compromise on the other person.
Even after all the talking, we still ran into some issues here and there. As we searched, our home search evolved. In some cases, we realized certain features just might not be possible, unless we were willing to increase our price, change our preferred moving date, or changed our search location. It was these factors which helped us determine what we needed now and what we could add to make it our own later. The Central Air issue is a good example of this. My husband wanted to have central AC, the problem was we couldn’t find a home that has this feature when combined with some of the other requirements. After enough searching, he was willing to forgo the requirement as long as we found a home where we could install it at a later time.
In the end, neither one of us fully got what we wanted. However, with a checklist, organization and some bargaining, we found something we both knew we could appreciate together.
I’ve included a copy of a sample checklist. Please email me and let me know your thoughts!
If you, or anyone you know is looking to buy or sell, please let me know. I’d love to help.
Happy House Hunting!