Find out why couples need to compromise on a new home so they share a common dream, and avoid disagreements during the house buying process and afterwards.
In many parts of the UK it has become harder and harder to get on the property ladder with average house prices up to 9 times average earnings. So couples are joining forces on their home-buying goals. Of course, buying a home as a couple is exciting and quite an achievement in some areas. However, one thing is clear – compromise is not only an important factor in order to get the best results from your efforts, rather, it is essential if your house buying experience is going to be harmonious.
The question is: how do you compromise as a couple on such a major decision? And how do you navigate clashes that will naturally happen when you discuss your priorities? Don’t worry, we have you covered. By following our advice below you can navigate this challenging process so you both come out feeling satisfied, happy and secure in the property you buy as a couple:
Common ground: find it for an instant win
Finding common ground is such an easy way to begin your journey to compromising on a property search. A perfect house looks different to everyone, but there will always be areas two people agree on, whether it is the garden, the bedroom count, the look of the place – there will be areas you both agree on automatically and easily.
Write down your goals, priorities, red flags and deal breakers and compare them to see which areas align. This will help you both understand areas you differ on and areas you match. It may also give you a starting point for a search when it comes to property type. Maybe you want the city and your partner wants the seaside, but you both want somewhere suitable for a family with access to towns and green space, so a suburb makes perfect sense to both of you.
Common ground is an excellent starting point when you start your journey searching for a home, and a great way to identify easy matches, and deal-breakers that need talking through.
Don’t argue over a dream: compromise on reality
So many couples have conversations about their dream house before even looking at the property market. This can cause unnecessary effort in compromising when, in reality, what is available looks so different from what you have discussed.
Talk about your budget, available deposit and mortgage opportunities, before then browsing the market in your local area. Don’t be afraid to speak to estate agents and solicitors too – they know the local area, and how to inform you of legalities and rules that could well be relevant to your plans. This research will give you a clear idea of what is on offer and what is possible for you as a couple. You could even visit a few properties to get a feel for them, and to get more of an understanding of what each individual wants and does not want.
Following this acknowledgment of what is available to you both, you can then set realistic expectations and compromise based on those facts and ideals.
How to compromise well
To compromise effectively, the first thing you have to do is set the scene. Don’t just land a conversation on your loved one, or approach them when they are stressed. Don’t have the conversation in public, or whilst you’re both busy having to deal with the kids or get the shopping done. Pick a calm, quiet time when you can both discuss things properly, where there is no real time constraint.
Whilst you talk, active listening without interruption is crucial. You need to be collaborating together to reach a result that you both are happy with – nobody wins or loses. Lastly, respect the other person if they say they are done for now. It’s OK to park these conversations because they can be stressful. You can always come back to it after a breather, especially if you’re both losing patience and things are getting a bit heated.
Signs you need to re-assess your compromises
Sometimes there are some red flags that suggest there have been unfair compromises. It’s where the compromise has gone too far and could lead to arguments or unhappiness down the line. Sometimes we don’t realise we have compromised more than we should have until we are viewing houses or have thought about things more, and that is absolutely fine. It is better to change your mind now, and rehash your compromises, than feel regretful after a house purchase.
The biggest sign you have compromised more than you should have, is when you realise there is nothing about a potential new home that you’re excited about. Maybe you’re even dreading looking for houses because you’re so unhappy with the area, how much refurbishment or renovation you’ve agreed to do, or even how big the garden is. That gut feeling suggests you need to have another conversation.
You should not have to compromise on everything to keep your partner happy, especially when so much money is involved, and your future happiness is involved.
Another red flag is when one person keeps coming away from house viewing dissatisfied. Maybe there is an area they compromised on that they shouldn’t have, because it was more important than they thought.
Trust your instincts if constant areas of contention/arguments keep coming up during viewings, or feelings of dread or unhappiness about the potential move. The sooner you can discuss these unresolved feelings, the sooner you can come to a new compromise that everyone is happy with.
Finding compromise: finding a happy new home
Through lots of open dialogue, patience, reality checks and facts from local experts, you can navigate the twists and turns of buying a property together. With lots of effort to compromise sooner rather than later, you can know that when you both stand there with your keys to the new place, compromising was never just a word, it was also the path to a truly happy home together.