The Definitive Guide to Buying Your First Home

How long you should wait before buying a home with your partner

Bernette Braden, Kai Bandele and Sean Conlon (L to R) on the finale of The Deed: Chicago.
Photo courtesy The Deed: Chicago
Bernette Braden, Kai Bandele and Sean Conlon (L to R) on the finale of The Deed: Chicago.

Buying a home involves a lot of waiting, including waiting until you've saved enough for a down payment and all the ancillary costs, waiting for the right place to come on the market, waiting to hear if your bid is accepted, and finally waiting to close. Turns out, there's even more waiting you might want to consider: waiting to buy property with a romantic partner until you've been together for five years.

According to new research by LendingHome, a mortgage lender, buying a home with a significant other is usually fraught — 60 percent of couples shopping for real estate argue either a little, frequently or a lot. But couples who have been together for five years or more fight only half as much as those who have been together for four years or less.

Longer-term couples, or those who had been together five years or more, "disagreed frequently only 14 percent of the time." For shorter-term couples, the rate was more like 30 percent. The report states: "Couples may be able to more harmoniously navigate the homebuying process by being together longer before jumping into the housing market."

Couples looking to buy bicker about everything from style to substance. Almost half of the women surveyed preferred "traditional, cozy" homes whereas an equal proportion of men preferred "modern" structures. And couples in big cities seemed to have it worst: "38 percent of city dwellers disagreed frequently or more compared to only 19 percent of couples living in small cities, 11 percent of couples living in the suburbs and in rural areas."

That could be because prices, which have risen at twice the rate of wages, are even higher in major metro areas, meaning that a home there is an even more dicey and expensive investment.

Overall, according to LendingHome, "Top disagreements among couples include the level of debt to take on (49 percent), the style of house (46 percent), size of house (45 percent) and whether or not to buy a house in need of renovation (43 percent)."

As LendingHome co-founder and CEO Matt Humphrey puts it, "buying a home is stressful for just about anyone, but even more so for couples and first-time homebuyers." It seems as though partners who have made it through at least five years together have a more solid foundation on which to build.

See also: Here's how long it will take young people to afford to buy a home nationwide