Engagement is one of the most thrilling seasons of life! It is in this season that a couple’s goals, aspirations, and dreams take definite shape as the two make decisions for their future together. Although planning the details of the wedding day is often an all-consuming process, the engaged couple is also faced with the decision of where they will live after the knot is tied. I had the privilege of watching my daughter and her now husband walk this journey last summer, and all the exciting changes that would come with making a home together. Many times when I am working with an engaged couple, they idea of “unlocking new doors” is simply way too overwhelming considering everything else that goes on during this time! My goal in leading any couple through this process is to keep stress levels at a minimum, meet ideals that both clients have, and ensure that the couple finds a home that they can envision spending their “happily ever after” in. As a realtor, here are some steps that I would encourage any engaged couple to consider:
- Make “must-have” lists. It is crucial that you and your fiancé both identify what you are looking for in your new home. Some things I would recommend considering include: location, style, room count, school zone, floor plan, garage capacity, kitchen layout, closet space, updated electrical and plumbing, privacy, age and curb appeal. Be as honest with yourself and as detailed as you can possibly be! Make sure you and your fiancé communicate your ideals and preferences clearly. When comparing lists, you will probably have some values that overlap, as well as some areas that you will need to compromise. These conversations are so helpful, as when it comes to house/apartment hunting, it pays to know what you want.
- Discuss your timeline and budget. Although discussing this isn’t quite as fun as talking about floor plans and style preferences, it is just as key in a smooth buying/renting process! I would encourage the two of you to think through how much time before the wedding you will want access to your new space. Are you looking for a space that you could settle in for the next ten years, or simply looking to rent for the first year? Setting a budget in place as you begin the process as a couple is also crucial. This gives us all a framework to work around and smooths the stress of the decision-making process considerably. As with most things in life, renting/buying a new home will take flexibility and lots of open communication on all accounts, but having clear expectations up front gives us a great starting point.
- Don’t forget to relax! This is one piece of advice that I cannot stress enough! Whether it be taking a break from house hunting or from wedding planning, keeping you and your fiancé’s relationship healthy is an invaluable investment. Remember why you are getting married in the first place and take an evening to simply enjoy each other’s company and let the little details and stresses fall to the side. Life will always present opportunities for anxiety or busyness, so set the pattern in place now of prioritizing your relationship with your partner. Before you know it, the wedding day will be over, you will be living in a new home together, and you will be glad for any amount of time spent intentionally on your relationship. Also, I have found that it is in these moments of “dating”, when stressful conversations and decisions are put aside, that the relaxed couple will come to an agreement on a house, a budget, etc. without even trying or meaning to bring up the conversation. So relax, realize this is just a season of life, and looking for a home to call your own is really an exciting time.
I love getting to know my clients who are walking through this season and watching their exciting new love. It is a privilege to help them find the place that they will first call “home,” knowing how many sweet and formative memories they will make there. I hope these tips and guidelines are helpful to anyone who may be house (or apartment) hunting as a newly engaged couple! Feel free to reach out if you have any questions of your own.