7 House-Hunting Tips For Couples Searching For Their First Home Together

You can avoid the emotional entanglements of the house-hunting process.

man and woman sitting on the floor of a kitchen drinking wine getty

A couples' first house is truly something special.

There's nothing better when you hear these four words from your real estate agent: "You’ve got the house!"

Any couple that’s gone through the process of buying their first home knows that this is the first true test of your marriage.

In fact, a study commissioned by Homes.com stated that one in three Americans were actually reduced to tears while trying to buy their first home and experienced arguments with their partner along the way.


This shows that going on the journey to homeownership will take you places in your marriage that you never expected you would go.

Luckily, you can minimize the amount of stress your path to your first homeownership brings.

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Here are 7 house-hunting tips for couples searching for their first house together.

1. Ask yourself what you want in a house.

When you begin the process of searching for a home, this is probably the first and most important discussion you should have as a couple.

Both of you want to voice what you want and don’t want in a house. Since this is going to be your home for years to come, of course, you will both have to make concessions based on your budget.

But ultimately, you want to the few things that will make your house a home.

2. Have a strong understanding of your finances.

Buying a house is usually the biggest purchase you will make as a couple.


Both of you should discuss how much money you want to contribute for a down payment, the loan types, how much money to set aside for closing costs, and unexpected costs.

You don’t want to end up settling for a house the two of you don’t love because you didn’t have enough money to cover all of your costs.

3. Plan ahead and be organized.

There are many decisions to make before buying your first house — from the kind of neighborhood you want to live in, to deciding if you want to buy a fixer-upper versus a newer, move-in-ready home.

One important note: Decide who will take the lead on the project.

If you're the spouse who's the procrastinator, it's best that your partner lead the project because there will be a lot of appointments and followup that will have to be done to ensure the process goes somewhat smoothly.


That doesn't mean you get to hang back and do nothing. As a team, regularly check-in and have weekly meetings to see how things are going. You never want your spouse to feel that they're in this alone.

Being organized will help keep you from making bad decisions based on emotion.

Be proactive as you approach the big day. Keep your spending in check, attend your walkthrough as early as possible and be thorough when reviewing your loan documents.

The quicker you catch a potential issue, the less likely it will derail your transaction.

4. Find a realtor who knows your area.

There's nothing worse than picking a realtor who doesn’t know the areas you’re looking to move to or has your total interests at heart.


I remember when we picked a realtor who helped us with our house, she knew nothing about the area where we wanted to live. We ended up wasting a lot of time looking at houses that didn’t match our needs.

So, do your homework. Interview several agents before deciding.

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5. Make sure that there are no other major events going on in your life.

If you’re about to have a baby or get married, this might not be the right time to look for a house. House-hunting is a full-time job for both of you.

According to Trulia, it takes first-time homebuyers anywhere from four weeks at the low end to six months or more to shop for and close on a house.


Do you want to be in the third trimester of pregnancy or choosing a caterer for your wedding reception at the same time you are looking for a house?

6. Be prepared to lose.

Most of the time, you’re not going to have your first offer accepted. In fact, according to an article in the Washington Post, "Fifty-eight percent of the customers win their first offer, which means the other 42 percent are heartbroken."

You might get outbid or someone has more cash than you. This the point where the two of you will need to lean on each other for support.


Don’t get discouraged and don’t fracture as a couple. Remember, you’re still a team and there will be another house and an even better one.

7. Celebrate your success!

After the long journey of looking at several houses, picking a house, the back-and-forth with the seller in regards to finances, and finally signing on the dotted line, you will hear these words: "You got your first house!"

That will be the time to celebrate. After the long journey, you should be not only excited that you found your house, but also that you were able to work together as a couple to get something accomplished.

Purchasing your first home can be downright stressful, but if you implement these seven tips, the process will be more of a dream than a nightmare.


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Keith Dent is a certified relationship coach and the author of In the Paint – How to Win the Game of Love. If you’re a couple that has trouble communicating contact him at info@keithdent.com.