Negotiating for the IDEAL Home

Oct 16, 2016

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It’s the biggest purchase of your life,
and you and your partner want different things.

What do you do when your wants and needs don’t necessarily align?

One word: compromise.


Here are a few topics and conversation pieces to consider when you don’t want exactly the same things in your new home.

Determine where you are in your timeline:

Before you plan on tearing down any walls or jackhammering into the floor for new plumbing, sit down with your partner and determine where you are in life. If this is your first time buying a home, how long do you plan on living in it? Or is this your forever home you plan on living out your retirement in? Do you have kids? Do you want to get married? Understanding where you are on your timeline in life and financially is the first step in determining how much work you should do to your new home and if it’s worth the compromise. Generally, if this is your starter home and you’re on a budget, plan on meeting your needs, and fulfilling some collective wants. If this is your forever home, be prepared to compromise on their needs and yours.

To renovate or not to renovate?:

The house is perfect but it doesn’t have this, or it doesn’t have that. Do you want to renovate the space to make it what you want? Or do you want a place that is move-in ready? Talk to your partner about where you stand on renovations. If you opt for a space that’s move-in ready and don’t want to do renovations, that will dictate the amount of space and won’t leave a lot of wiggle room to accommodate wants. But if you enjoy renovations and want to personalize the space to meet both of your needs/wants, you’re in luck. The best way to ensure each of you has a ‘want’ is to share in the labour of creating both spaces. Your DIY work and personal touches will make you appreciate and enjoy the spaces you (at first) weren’t as gung-ho about. She might appreciate your workshop after helping you build shelves and organization, while he’ll appreciate not tripping over your clothes in your walk-in closet.

Identify your collective needs, then write down your personal wants:

Do you have kids or are you planning on having them? Then you’ll need to determine just how many bedrooms you need. If you’re always hosting during the holidays, you’ll need a dining room and entertainment area. Maybe you have pets and need to be near a park or trail. Knowing what’s essential is the first step in buying a home together.

Then, being realistic, write down a personal wish list for your new place in order of most wanted. If you’re lucky, you’ll have common items, like a powder room on the main floor or gazebo in the backyard. Maybe one wants a movie den or man cave, and the other wants a family game room. Your best bet in that case is to combine wants — especially if you’re short on space.

Don’t be afraid to barter:

If your number one want is drastically different than your partners, maybe it’s time to barter. Be realistic about your wants and needs. If you, in theory, want a big kitchen, but spend more time outside than cooking, cave on that huge, open concept kitchen and let your partner have that big backyard. You never know what your partner (or you) are willing to give up if you don’t open the lines of communication and strike a balance. Remember, there are so many houses out there that you should be able to find one that works well for both of your wants and needs.



Category: October 2016

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