03 Mar 2017
Would you rather discuss the dishwasher rota than who is paying the gas bill? Many Irish couples find it difficult to discuss saving plans and budgets. Somehow the subject of money and who is spending how much on what is a bit of an Irish taboo.
And we’re not alone in the world either on this one. In a US survey 40% of couples didn’t know their other half’s income? Yeesh. You can’t blame them, really – credit ratings and direct debits do not a romantic evening make.
Then there are the couples who are more comfortable talking money, but neglect the emotional issues that come with buying a house. These issues can become pink elephants in their new living room if not addressed. If you have managed to avoid discussing any of this so far, once you move in together, these things will come to a head – and it may not be pretty.
To prevent this happening you need to air the laundry and give voice to those ‘big questions’ before you start looking for your dream home. Don’t worry –we have outlined 3 essential questions to ask your partner before you start your mortgage journey. So go on; lay it all out on the table!
1. How are we going to share costs?
So how exactly should you save and pay for bills? Should you go half-n-half? Okay, so this isn’t a Friday night pizza. Some couples are comfortable splitting the bills down the middle, but this might not be the way forward for all of us.
A popular alternative to this is a ‘pro-rata’ approach, which means that each of you will pay according to his or her means. You see? All can be fair in love and mortgages. No matter what option you choose, a joint account will be key. You can then decide how much each of you will save by an agreed date.
2. Do you know your credit rating?
Darling, I love when you recite your clean credit score.
Have you ever asked your partner about their financial past? We can’t blame you if you haven’t – but it could be time to start. If your other half had a bit of a wild run with a credit card, it will take five years for this bad debt to be wiped from their credit record (dated from their last payment). You can apply for your credit rating at the Irish Credit Bureau.
3. Are we going to start a family in our first home?
Gulp. Yes, it’s time to talk babies. Some of you may be starting off with ‘Are we going to have babies at all?’ While some of you will be quite familiar with this topic. However this decision will have huge bearings not just on the house you choose, but the area too.
Will we have a garden? Are there other young parents in the neighbourhood? This will also bring up the question ‘will our first home be our forever home?’ If you are planning on moving out in a few years’ time, then you will have different priorities and can budget for a smaller house.
A mortgage is a huge step in your relationship – there’ll be lots of financial and emotional hurdles. Sometimes it can be easier to focus on the finances and forget the other matters, and for others it can be easier to pretend money isn’t an issue until it’s too late. Just remember that it’s about respecting your other half’s standpoint and learning how to form a compromise.
Planning to buy your first home?
Are you thinking of buying your first home with your partner or on your own? You could kick off the process today by checking out our mortgage calculator or downloading our First Time Buyers’ Guide. Or if you have any questions about the mortgage process, you can book a friendly chat with a mortgage advisor.
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