With Valentine’s Day coming up this month, you might be thinking of making a big move with the one you love – moving in together, that is! Before you take this massive relationship leap and start picking out furniture, sit down with your sweetheart and have a serious discussion about what buying a home together entails and what your expectations are. Ironing out all the “details” before making any moves will allow your buying experience to be one filled with joy and excitement and help avoid disappointment later on.
The Financial Consumer Agency of Canada (FCAC) offers these tips for couples looking to take the step towards home ownership:
Have an honest discussion – This isn’t the time to sugar coat things – before you combine your finances, it is important to talk to your significant other to get a better idea of their spending habits, income, debts and savings. Discuss the possibility of opening joint accounts (chequing or savings) to cover your essential household expenses or to save money. Whatever choices you make, you should agree on how your joint accounts are to be used, and the amounts you will each deposit into them.
Figure out a budget – Once you have agreed on the lifestyle you would like to have, you can draw up your budget to obtain an overview of your total income, your essential and non-essential expenses and your ability to save. You may not particularly enjoy drawing up a budget, but simply setting objectives, such as purchasing a house or condo and saving for your children’s education if planning to have a family, will motivate you to draw up your budget and, more importantly, to stick to it.
More information about how to draw up a budget is available online on the Financial Consumer Agency of Canada website.