There’s a reason reality shows always show properties to couples.

It is a prime environment for drama. Shopping for a home is fun, but finding out you and your partner don’t exactly see eye-to-eye when it comes to design, location, or price is a frustrating roadblock to encounter. Luckily, there are ways to avoid conflict. It takes a little work and a lot of communication, but you and your partner can get through the home buying process together without risking damage to your relationship.


COMMUNICATION IS KEY

Sitting down to talk with your partner about your desires and expectations when it comes to home buying before you even approach a real estate agent can suss out some of the surprises right from the get go. Not only should you talk about things such as style and budget, but also the life you plan to build in the house you eventually buy.

Some great example questions to ask each other include:

Do the two of you expect to have a family or pets?
How long do you plan on living in this house?
Who is going to be responsible for yard work?
Do either of you want to invest in a “fixer upper?”
What would happen if one of you lost your job tomorrow?
>How will you save for miscellaneous house expenses?
What are your individual “must haves?”


YOU WILL HAVE TO COMPROMISE

There are going to be things you want that your partner doesn’t and vice versa. When it comes to making big decisions like buying a home while you are in a relationship, you have to compromise at some point. It’s all about the give and take in the joint effort of coming to an agreeable solution.

ESTABLISH A BUDGET

Buying a home is only a smart investment if you do so within your means. Calculating a budget before you begin looking at properties will give you a realistic expectation of what you can get. However, it’s not all about the listing price. Remember: owning a home entails way more expenses than just the mortgage. As homeowners, you will be responsible for property taxes, insurance, all the utilities, and the costs of hiring professionals for repairs.

You can determine what you can afford by combining your total income as partners and comparing that number to your calculated costs of owning a home.


GET A PRE-APPROVED JOINT LOAN

Once you’ve established that your finances can handle the home buying process, you can safely apply for a joint loan. Being pre-approved really helps to speed up the entire home buying process because it helps real estate agents and mortgage companies feel confident regarding your financial stability. If you and your partner are unmarried, you can still apply for a joint loan. However, check your local legal and tax implications to make sure you do not make a mistake that can cost you down the line. Furthermore, never sign on to a home loan unless your name is ending up on the deed to the house.


HAVE FUN WITH IT

Buying a house as a couple is potentially stressful— but in the end, it has everything to do with the attitudes you both bring to the table. Approaching home buying as a fun adventure where you can learn and grow as a couple is the best way to avoid conflict. Even when you do find you don’t see eye-to-eye, remember that it doesn’t have to be so serious and there is no need to sweat the small stuff. In the end, it is just a house, and no material possession should be more important than your relationship with the person you love.

Buying a house with your partner doesn’t have to be full of drama. With enough communication and planning, you can avoid big surprises and emotional landmines. Sit down and discuss your expectations with the intent to compromise at some point. Establish a budget to find a place that is within your means to help secure a pre-approved home loan that makes the entire home buying process easier. Finally, remember to have fun. This is a step you are taking to grow together, so use each other as support instead of tearing each other down.