Congratulations on your engagement! You are not only planning a wedding, you are also planning your new lives together.
Purchasing a home is one of the first major steps that new couples take after their engagement or wedding. These can both be spendy steps in building a life together so you want to be sure to follow these 7 steps to reduce your stress.
I’m Bailey Beckman, a local Twin Cities realtor that specializes in helping couples purchase their first homes TOGETHER.
Step 1 - Create a Shared Email Account
The very first thing that I want you and your fiancé to do is set up a shared email account that you both have access to. This will:
- help keep all of the communication for the buying process and your wedding in one place
- keep you and your partner on the same page
Step 2 - Use a Shared Calendar
Next I want you to create a shared calendar in the email account. You can add all your due dates for the wedding (like the food and beverage count, the hotel room block, etc.) But you will also add the important dates for the ownership process. Like home tours, inspection dates, and due dates for lending documents.
An added bonus on this is to share access to this calendar with your lender & realtor. It can be limited access, but we can better tell when to book appointments and help keep you on track by adding in these dates directly into the calendar for you.
Step 3 - Prepare a Team of Professionals
Next you want to prepare your team of professionals.
For the wedding: Some people will choose to hire an event planner or wedding coordinator to help them stay on track, but there are also wonderful guides and programs available to help you reduce the cost.
For buying a home: I however, do not recommend trying to cut corners when it comes to purchasing a home. An expensive wedding will be around $50,000, but a cheap house is around $200,000. It’s a huge financial investment.
At the bare minimum, you are going to need 1) a licensed realtor and 2) a local mortgage lender.
If you have the right people in place, they will not only negotiate the best deal for you they will also prepare the financial investment correctly to help you avoid missing paperwork or signing a contract that promises your life away.
Step 4 - Work your timeline backwards
You most likely have already selected a date for the wedding, because booking a venue tends to be the very first step in the wedding planning process. Now that you have that date in mind, cross off that entire month to be an option to buy in.
Don’t get me wrong you can definitely purchase a home and have a wedding in the same month, but you will likely be overwhelmed and not enjoy either major life event. So my advice to you is to not get married and buy a house in the same month.
The timeline after getting an offer accepted is about 30-45 days, and I recommend planning at least 3-4 weeks for the house tours (depending on your schedules). So if you are planning on buying BEFORE getting married, start a MINIMUM of 3 months in advance.
Step 5 - Evaluate financial flexibility
Buying a home is expensive. Planning a wedding is expensive. You should evaluate your financial position to determine what areas you may need a stronger budget and if you will need more creative financing. For example, if you or your partner carry significantly more debt that the other. You may want only ONE of you on the mortgage.
I’m not a lawyer, title specialist or lender, so I do recommend consulting a professional if you are wondering about your options or looking for more flexible solutions.
Step 6 - Open two shared bank accounts (optional)
The next step is a little more optional, depending on your tracking and budgeting skills. I have worked with a number of people that will create two additional shared bank accounts during these processes. One for the home expenses and the other for wedding expenses. Keeping everything in organized buckets can make budgeting much easier to stick to.
Step 7 - Intentionally Schedule downtime
Finally the last step to buying a home and getting married at the same time, and one that is often forgotten, is to intentionally schedule down time. Seriously.
Buying a home and getting married at the same time are both high stress situations. It can be easy getting caught up and then never taking the time to actually breath and enjoy the stage that you are at. Whether you preferred down time is watching a movie together or going out for date night, just do it.