Buying a home as a couple means agreeing on some things, but not everything. For example, you both might be in favor of buying a fixer-upper and making repairs to save money. But you may differ on which fixes to tackle first or which ones to outsource to a pro.
Home repairs can sometimes be a headache, but they shouldn’t be a relationship breaker. After all, you don’t want to be within the approximately one-third of couples who say they regret taking on a home renovation project together. So how do you handle his & her repairs and still maintain your happy home?
Decide “together” projects
Some home repairs require a professional touch to complete. For instance, you may need to hire a pro to handle these updates:
- Install a new roof
- Replace the HVAC system
- Rewire the electrical system
- Replace windows/doors
- Add on a room
But couples can do plenty of home repairs together, including:
- Renovating a bathroom
- Updating a kitchen
- Replacing or refinishing flooring
- Painting the interior or exterior of the home
- Updating the master bedroom
- Replacing lighting fixtures
- Replacing old appliances
- Updating tilework
Deciding what you can work on together could depend on two factors: your DIY skills and how much time you have to devote to home repairs.
Painting walls or a small-scale bathroom update are repairs you can complete in a weekend if you’re able to block off the time together. A major kitchen overhaul, on the other hand, could take weeks or months to complete. Consider how much time you can devote to the project and how long you’re both comfortable living in the middle of a construction zone. Remember: Depending on the project, you might need to make a certain area of your home inaccessible until the job is complete.
Next, think about what’s realistic for you to do together, based on your joint skill sets. You might also consider repairs that you can work on together but with separate tasks.
If you’re set on updating your home’s landscaping, for example, you could DIY while your spouse paints or updates fixtures.
Splitting up tasks this way can help you knock out repairs faster. And it can give you a break from one another if working on repairs together is leading to frayed nerves.
If you’re buying a home that needs some TLC, collectively determining what needs to be handled first can ward off arguments.
Grouping home repairs into one of the two following categories can make it easier to prioritize.
- Functional fixes: Things that need to be done to make the home livable. Such as replacing the roof or HVAC system, fixing leaks, or making electrical updates.
- Aesthetic repairs/renovations: Upgrades that can improve the look and feel of the home but aren’t necessarily urgent. You might include painting or updating the landscaping in this category.
Once you have your two lists, go through them together to see which items on each list are “must-do’s” versus “wants”. Then you can go through the wants list together to figure out which repairs are most important to each of you.
The goal here is not necessarily perfect agreement. It’s quite possible you will have improvements you want to make right away that your significant other would prefer to wait on. If that’s the case, work together to find a compromise for which fixes to make now and which ones to handle later.
Set your repair budget
Between the down payment and closing costs, in addition to other expenses, we know that the cost of homeownership can start to add up. Once you’ve assessed your finances to figure out how much house you can afford and determined which mortgage is right for you, then it’s time to think about how of much of your budget you can dedicate to his & her home repairs.
The average cost of a home renovation can cost around $4,000 to $20,000. How much you’ll pay can depend on:
- The type of repairs
- Whether you DIY vs. hiring a pro
- Your location
You’ll want to decide how you plan to finance your home repairs. For example, you could draw on cash savings to pay for DIY repairs. But if you’ve used up a lot of your cash reserves for a down payment or closing costs, that might not be realistic.
Getting a personal loan from an Ally Lending provider or using a credit card to finance home repairs are a few other options. But like your repairs, you should probably discuss your financing solution together as well.
The Right Mortgage Makes the Difference
Planning home repairs as a couple can require a little give-and-take. It starts with having the right home loan. A mortgage with a competitive interest rate can mean a lower monthly payment — leaving more wiggle room in your monthly budget for repairs and a less stressed relationship with your partner.
We can help you get the home you want.