Marriage and Mortgage Don’t Mix

December 4, 2006 No Comments »
Marriage and Mortgage Don’t Mix

So you’re planning on getting married next summer, and you just need to find a perfect house before that magical day.

There’s no possible way you could continue to live in an apartment or simply rent once you’re married! That just won’t do. Married people are supposed to be homeowners, right?

It’s Okay to Rent and Be Married, Honest

Why do newlyweds have this mentality? Is it the seriousness of marriage, or the need for a solid foundation to begin raising a family? While I get that to some extent, one shouldn’t buy a home simply because of a recent or upcoming marriage.

You should buy a home when you have found the right property and are financially secure to go through with the purchase.

And when you’ve actually taken the time to determine if homeownership is for you. Guess what? It’s not for everyone. Not everyone wants the responsibility, or has interest in owning their own home or condo.

There’s also the question of home prices, which are pretty sky-high at the moment. One should always take the time to consider the current state of the market.

Obviously, there will be people marrying at the height of the market and at market lows. That latter group might have a great reason to buy a home, whereas the former group could make a terrible decision and add a lot of stress to a new marriage.

There’s No Rush to Buy a Home

All I see these days are new couples rushing into home purchases because they’re engaged or newly married. To me, this seems like a huge layer of stress to pile on top of an already stressful period. Buying a home is a huge commitment, and could lead to arguing and fighting, which is no way to start a marriage.

Additionally, you’ll probably have lots of expenses related to the wedding, so it might be tough to come up with the minimum down payment on the home purchase.

This could put you in a bad position, or force you to attempt to buy a home with nothing down. Sure, it could be an option, but at a higher price (and mortgage rate).

A wise couple should take the time to organize their finances, check and fix their credit if necessary, and do a lot of debt-to-income and valuation homework before even thinking about buying a home. It doesn’t make sense to rush into the purchase of a new home simply because your relationship status changed.

This is especially true as you get to know your significant other’s saving and spending habits, and perhaps their not-so-good credit habits. It’s not uncommon for one individual to weigh down the other in that department, which could jeopardize the entire mortgage approval.

Speaking of, start with a mortgage pre-approval before you begin scouring listings and buying furniture.

Sure, kids are often not too far out once you tie the knot, but that doesn’t mean you just take another plunge. Give it some serious thought, just as you did your wedding (hopefully). Like marriage, it’s a major commitment.

You certainly shouldn’t start your marriage off with a rash decision just because it’s the “normal” way of doing things, or because other couples or family members pressure you to buy a home. Take your time and do it right.

The one caveat is that you might get some money as a gift when you get married, which could be helpful to cover the down payment and closing costs on a home. You just may want to let the dust settle before you hire the moving van.

(photo: Kim Marius Flakstad)

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