A couples guide to compromising on a new home.

Erin Best is REW's Managing Broker and Partner Success Manager.

Words byErin Best
A couples guide to compromising on a new home. hero image
You want a family home in a great family friendly suburb. They want a walkable neighborhood close to their favorite shops and restaurants. Buying a property with your significant other isn’t always a stroll in Stanley Park.

Real talk.

I’ve seen first hand on many occasions the power struggle between house-hunting partners who both think their needs and wants are more important. AWKWARD.
Active listening and a willingness to meet in the middle is required from everyone so nobody feels sidelined or unheard in the process.

Finding a home that satisfies the needs, wants, and must-haves of both partners can be a rewarding journey. Before you hit up REW.ca to book showings, have a conversation with your partner to ensure you’re starting the search on the same page.

Here are seven practical strategies to foster alignment in a way that caters to both your individual preferences:

1. Open Communication

Effective communication lays the foundation for a successful home search. Start by openly discussing your individual needs, desires and non-negotiables. Create a shared vision that reflects both partners' aspirations, ensuring a unified approach to the home-buying process. This part is about identifying which things really don’t matter in your next home. What can you both live without?

2. Identifying Needs: The Non-Negotiables

Identify and prioritize the essential needs that accommodate your lifestyle. Whether it's proximity to work, school districts or specific amenities, understanding and aligning on these non-negotiable elements is crucial. This step sets the groundwork for a home that caters to your daily requirements. How will you actually be living in the home on a day to day basis? If both of you work from home, you will want to consider what those spaces will look like and how they need to function. Your needs are the features of the home that you cannot do without in your daily lifestyle.

3. Identifying Wants

What I want is a home in Kitsilano. What I need is for my next home to be within my budget. Wants often encompass the aesthetic and personal preferences that make a house feel like a home. The goal of this conversation is to collaborate and strike a balance between both partners' desires, considering factors such as architectural style, interior design preferences and outdoor spaces. This ensures that the chosen home resonates with the unique tastes of each individual.

4. Must-Haves

Must-haves fall between needs and wants, that directly contribute to your satisfaction with a home. They may not be strictly essential for basic functionality, but they are crucial for your satisfaction. A white kitchen over a brown kitchen. Hardwood over laminate. A luxurious primary ensuite instead of a smaller, three-piece ensuite. Whether it's energy-efficient features, proximity to transit or lifestyle amenities, identifying and aligning on these features ensures that the chosen property fulfills your collective requirements.

5. Finding Middle Ground

Inevitably, there will be instances where preferences diverge. Embrace these compromises as a creative solution to meet in the middle. If there’s one thing I’ve learned, it’s that meeting challenging conversations with curiosity usually helps people land on win-win solutions. This might involve considering homes that incorporate elements favored by each partner or finding innovative ways to merge conflicting preferences.

6. Use your Realtor

Leverage the expertise of your realtor to guide you through the home-buying process. Your buyer’s agent can provide valuable insights, and present suitable options, all while being objective in the process, helping partners find common ground and make informed decisions.

7. Anticipating Future Needs

Other things to consider are not only your current needs but also how your potential new home can adapt to future changes. Anticipate life events such as career advancements, family expansion or lifestyle shifts, and ensure that the property aligns with those long-term goals. Alternatively, if you don’t plan to stay long in a home, identify what your needs are in the short term. Fun fact: the average homeowner buys & sells every five to seven years.

Navigating the intricacies of aligning needs, wants and must-haves as partners in the quest for the perfect home requires open communication, compromise and a shared vision. By approaching the process with curiosity and collaboratively, partners can create a home that reflects their individuality while fostering a harmonious living space for a fulfilling and satisfying future together.


Want to get the most out of The Guide?

Stacked ring illustration