While wedding plans definitely generate a lot of excitement, there is one more thing guaranteed to up the thrill factor of being husband and wife: purchasing your first home together. On the other hand, though, that delight may be tempered by a fairly large dose of stress. After all, purchasing a new home (for anyone) is a big deal. To ease this process, do a little research before jumping head first into house hunting.
First and foremost, enlist the aid of a reputable real estate agent who is familiar with the location in which you are interested. A knowledgeable agent will be able to educate you on the community, the schools, and the fair market value of property and homes in the area.
Next, seek out only those homes that you can comfortably afford. “Don’t buy something you cannot afford, even if you love it,” says Susan Lorraine Edgecombe, owner of Tradewinds Real Estate on Montserrat. “Buy something smaller if necessary, and you can always sell it and buy something larger or more expensive when you are better established financially.”
Once you narrow down your choices, delve a bit deeper into the home to make sure it’s a good investment. For example, what is the water quality in the home? “Can you drink the tap water?” Edgecombe asks. “Check that out. It might make a difference to you if you have to buy bottled water.”
Edgecombe suggests having a third party examine the house and property prior to purchase. “About half my buyers have a local inspector look at a property that they want to buy,” Edgecombe says. “I recommend it, but it is at the buyer’s option.”
Furthermore, do some research on the community itself to see if it’s a place where you want to live for years to come. “Some islands have crime, so look and see if all homes have, for instance, burglar bars and security systems,” Edgecombe says. “Political situations–you should look at that, too.”
Edgecombe even goes so far as to suggest a “trial run” in the community. “They should go and visit the island at least once,” she says. “Stay in a home (versus staying in a hotel) where they can actually see what it is like to ‘live’ there. Many rental options are available, and then you will shop, cook, relax, etc. in a villa/home environment–a good reality check.”
Finally, although purchasing your first home together is an important undertaking, don’t let the “common sense” necessities take away the excitement of this momentous life event. “With any major purchase, any couple–whether newlyweds or not–needs to list their priorities, compromise and share in the joy!” Edgecombe says. “It is a serious commitment, but sometimes you just have to ‘jump in.’ Enjoy it as much as you can!”