Before I start talking about buying an Ocean Edge condo as a married couple, congratulations on your marriage or upcoming wedding! It is an exciting time in your life with endless possibilities ahead of you and your partner. Buying a home together is one of these options that are now open to you. Of course you could have bought a home together as an unmarried couple, but you may have put it off until after marriage figuring it would be so much easier to navigate. After all, we are familiar with the struggles that couples run up against when purchasing a house together when they are not married. Unfortunately, buying a house as a married couple is not too much easier due to the fact that some serious conversations need to be had before going forward with the home search. Here are some key pieces to discuss to make the home buying process easier for you and your spouse.
Chances are you and your spouse have discussed having or not having children at this point, but have you discussed how it would impact your finances? Although it is not a romantic way of thinking about it, having children is a huge expense, and it will draw a considerable amount of money from your budget. The cost of childcare is immense, and sometimes it is not worth it financially to have both partners work. If both partners continue to work when they have children, a significant portion of one of the paychecks will go directly to daycare.
On the other hand, one parent could stay home to save on the childcare expense, but that means your income could decrease by half. Could you continue to pay your mortgage and other expenses (such as utilities and car payments) if one of you stays at home or if you have a big childcare payment every month? It may seem early to discuss, but if you are planning to buy a home, the conversation needs to be had so you are not signing up for too big of a payment. A good rule of thumb when looking at mortgages is to plan on only paying 30% or less of your income on your mortgage. Just because you are approved for a $750,000 mortgage, does not mean that you should go out and buy a house for $750,000. Look at the big picture first.
Credit and Financial History
At the beginning of a relationship, you talk with your partner all the time. You talk about your interests, hobbies, taste in music, movies and everything in between. During this time, you are finding out whether you two are compatible and discovering more and more things that you love about that person. For a lot of couples, this talking does not include discussing their credit scores and financial history. Many consider the topic of credit score taboo and avoid talking about it all together. However, if you are planning on buying a condo as a married couple, you need to have the conversation.
If you are unaware of what your credit score is, call your credit card company to see if you can get a free report, or check one of the free credit monitoring websites such as Credit Karma. You need to know what your individual credit scores are before meeting with a mortgage lender. This gives you a chance to work on any credit problems either one of you have before applying for a mortgage. A low credit score could prevent you from getting a mortgage all together, or at the very least desirable interest rate. A high interest rate due to poor credit will cause you to spend way more on your home than if you cleaned up your credit in the first place. To find out more about how to fix your credit, “Clean Up Your Credit Score Before You Buy.”
Your Housing Future. Is Buying an Ocean Edge condo an option?
Another topic that needs to be discussed with your spouse is how long you plan on living in the home that you are purchasing. Is it your forever home, home for a couple of years or is it going to become your income property? If you’re planning to live in your home for just a couple of years and then convert into an income property, buying an Ocean Edge condo could be the way to go. Many people decide to rent their condos at Ocean Edge during the summer months, as they are very desirable vacation rentals for Cape Cod’s seasonal visitors. The amenities available to Ocean Edge tenants and the variety of floor plans are very appealing to summer visitors. See what kind of income you could expect from different style condos at our Ocean Edge Investment page.
If you are only planning on living in your Ocean Edge condo for a couple years until you are able to purchase a larger home so you can expand your family, you might want to look for an adjustable rate mortgage as opposed to a fixed rate mortgage. With an adjustable rate mortgage, your interest rate would be low for a certain period of time (typically 7 years), at which time it could change to any rate within a set limit. However, if you are buying a forever home, you would want to go for a fixed rate mortgage. A set rate mortgage tells you how much you can expect to pay on a monthly basis for the life of your loan. This makes budgeting much easier for families that plan on living in their homes for a long time.
Death and Divorce
As a newly married, or about to be married couple, the last thing you can picture is getting a divorce. Or worse, one of you dying. It is important when buying a home to determine how you are going to purchase the property in legal terms in case the worst happens. As a married couple, you have the home ownership option to joint tenancy or tenancy by entirety which is only granted to married couples. With this option, you can not transfer your portion of the property without your spouse’s consent. If one spouse dies, the other automatically has full ownership of the home. The second home ownership option is tenancy in common. This allows either spouse to transfer their portion of the property without the other spouse’s consent, and if one partner is contributing more to the property, protects their investment more in case of divorce.
Buying an Ocean Edge Condo as a Married Couple
Buying an Ocean Edge condo as a married couple can be stressful, but it is important that you are prepared because it is also a very exciting time in your lives. It may not be easy to have these conversations about finances and the future, but keep in mind you are building a life together. Get the tough conversations out of the way so you can move on to more fun conversations like what kind of tile you’re going to use in the bathroom and picking out color swatches for painting bedrooms! If you are buying a condo as a married couple, and need help in your search for the perfect place to start the rest of your lives, contact Michael Leighton and his team of professionals today! Michael Leighton has been the #1 Agent at Ocean Edge since 2004 and #1 Agent in Brewster since 2007.