Tips for Buying your First Home as a Couple

If you’re getting married, having a baby, or dealing with illness, you’ll find people crowding round to give you helpful advice. Strangely, although buying your first home also has a massive impact on your life, it’s a situation in which you’re likely to find yourself alone. House buying is an almost mystical subject that everybody has an opinion about, but very few people offer concrete, sensible suggestions. Where should you begin? What are the most important things that you need to know to get a good deal, protect your investment, and make sure that you end up with a place where you’ll be happy?

Work out your budget

The first thing that you need to know when looking for a home is how much you can afford to spend. There are several factors to consider here. First of all, you’ll be offered better rates and better terms and conditions if you have a large deposit, so it really is worth saving up. You may also find that your parents or grandparents are willing to make contributions. You should aim for at least 15% if you want to avoid paying through the nose, and at 25% the available deals get a lot better. When you decide what rates you can afford, bear in mind that you’ll have other ongoing costs to account for, including taxes, insurance, and home maintenance. You may also need to pay fees to a building super or to your mortgage provider. You should also make sure that you keep aside a bare minimum of $3,000 to cover your moving costs and the cost of any immediate work that you need to do to your new home after moving in, which might not be apparent beforehand.

Negotiate a mortgage

When looking for a mortgage, the first place to consider is your own bank. This is because there are often good deals available for existing customers that will reduce your overall costs. Other lenders may offer better deals if you consider switching your day-to-day banking or savings accounts to them. There are three main factors that you’ll need to bear in mind as you search: how big a deposit is required, how long the mortgage will last for, and how much you will have to pay month by month. Be cautious of being tempted in by great rates that can increase significantly later. Consider whether or not you want to fix your mortgage to national interest rates (giving you long-term security but potentially meaning that you pay more than other customers if interest rates drop), and think about whether or not you want the flexibility to move to a new lender after the first couple of years. Consider whether you want a joint mortgage or whether you would be better off with one of you owning the home and drawing up an agreement to protect the other’s financial contribution. And, grim as it is, think about what you would do with your house and related debts if you split up – this might not feel very loving, but it’s an important way for you to protect each other.

Assess the building

When you’re buying your first home, the chances are that you won’t be looking for a place that’s already perfect but will prefer a fixer-upper, reducing your immediate costs and giving you the option of improving the value of your asset with a bit of hard work. Some problems, however, are harder to fix than others, so you still need to be savvy about what you settle for. Think about the location, transport links, and schools (even if you don’t need them yourselves, as this will make things easier when you come to sell). Are property prices in the neighborhood going up or down? Check the property for signs of damp, especially in the kitchen and bathroom areas, and check window and door frames for rot. Check the stability of the roof, even if you’re buying an apartment. Bear in mind that even if an expert has assessed the building, problems could have been missed.

Purchase home warranty

Once you’ve put your money into a home, you need to make sure that your investment is safe, so don’t delay when it comes to purchasing home warranty. The internet makes it easy to find a highly rated company that can not only offer you a good deal but also has a reputation for actually being there to help if the worst happens.

Make a will

Finally, bearing in mind the scale of this investment, it’s important that you make a will. This will ensure that if one of you dies, the other is able to stay in the home and meet mortgage costs with minimal disruption – if the worst happens, the last thing you need is to have to worry about the roof over your head. With all this taken care of, you can relax and enjoy your home.


  1. Buying a new home can be the biggest and most important purchase of your life. Knowing the process and being prepared for each step can prevent headaches and might help save you money.

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