Data published in the New York Times showed that nearly three-quarters of first-time home buyers were couples. You and your partner may be a part of this percentage. Buying a house can be a stressful experience and can occasionally strain the relationship. Here are a few key things you need to know as you and your partner look for a home together.


1. Get on the same page


Make a list of what you would like in a house. Set a budget and discuss what your deal breakers and must-haves are. You may not share some of the same priorities as your partner, so discuss what they want and why. Finding out the “why” behind their priorities can help you learn to find common ground. Learning to compromise is one of the most valuable skills a couple can possess when they begin shopping for a home.


2. Be honest about finances


Don’t ever hide your spending habits from your partner, especially when it comes to buying a house. Be realistic about your finances and goals. When house hunting, set achievable financial goals that won’t overwhelm either of you.


3. Use a mortgage affordability calculator


Many financial advisors recommend that you devote no more than 36 percent of your income to mortgage payments. A cost calculator can help you figure out the right amount. You can search online for a mortgage calculator and input the API, time period, and amount you would pay.


4. Check both of your credit reports


When couples apply for a mortgage, lenders will usually evaluate the lowest score between you and your partner when determining details about a loan. Check your credit reports to make sure your scores are decent. Many financial services are available online to do this for you. You can also sign up for credit monitoring, which will alert you any time your credit score is altered. This can also protect you against identity theft, which can severely impact your credit score. If you have a lower score, take time to pay off any debt or loans to improve it.


5. Think about external solutions to disagreements


You and your partner might run into some disagreements regarding problems in a potential home. While some problems are major deal breakers when it comes to buying a home, smaller fixes or modifications can help you both compromise. If you struggle with small areas of the home, consult a home improvement professional to get an idea for how much it would cost to remodel or renovate a particular space. This can help you avoid having to start over in your search and appreciate the good things about your home.


6. Get mortgage quotes from multiple lenders


To save money, don’t just go with the first quote from a lender. Talk with two to three lenders and ask if they can challenge the terms of what you have been offered elsewhere. Too many applications can affect your credit score, so try to keep them under three.


7. Don’t go above your budget


Your budget doesn’t just factor into the down payment. Unexpected routine housing costs can push your finances beyond your original expectations about the cost of home ownership. Budget for potential fixes, home inspections, utilities, and disasters. You’ll also want to budget for what your spending habits are, as these are unlikely to change.


Staying open and honest with your partner is the first step to successfully buying a house together. You can write down your hopes and dreams, but be flexible and willing to make changes where needed. Buying your new home is a big step for both of you, so take your time, and don’t forget the reasons why you two are together.


Article was written by Natalie Jones,