Valentine’s Day is on the horizon, and love is in the air. But property buyers shouldn’t allow their hearts to rule their heads when it comes to wise joint purchases and living arrangements, says Rachel Johnston of Stacks Property Search.
First time joint purchases:
“However compatible you think you are, living with somebody full time can be challenging. Everyone needs their own space on occasions, and whatever the budget, my recommendation would be to try and find even the smallest space that can be called your own. Man (or woman) sheds are a great way of creating some extra space, and dedicating a spare room to one person or the other, rather than to joint junk, can be a good idea.
“If space isn’t at a premium, a room of your own each, however small, is a huge advantage to happy relations, not just allowing for solitary time, but also allowing individual’s ‘clutter’ to accumulate out of sight. One of the main causes of conflict in joint living scenarios is a lack of tidiness compatibility.
“Another solution to this potential problem is to ensure that there’s more than enough storage for all your joint stuff. Before moving in, a proper assessment should be made of how much storage is required, add at least 20%, and set about buying or building cupboards, shelves and wardrobes and drawers. There are ingenious storage solutions to be found all over the internet and hundreds of companies who will create customised storage space, or simply inspire you with great ideas for DIY versions.
“Finally Kon Mari your possessions before you move in so you’re starting on the right foot!”
“Setting up home together in later life, when you already have a co-living past, is often harder than it is for first timers, especially for those who find themselves living in a home previously occupied by a different partner.
“If your new partner is widowed, there’s a much greater likelihood that you will find yourself moving into a home that was previously occupied by your predecessor, and while it’s important that you make changes to personalise the house, sensitivity is clearly in order. The most effective method I can recommend is to suggest a repaint and re-carpet throughout (whether the house needs it or not!). The joy of this is that pretty much every single item needs to be moved in order to carry out the task, and in the process you can go through a diplomatic de-cluttering and de-personalising process without appearing callous.
“Be careful to distinguish between clutter and emotional-clutter. Be tolerant of the latter, but try to contain it, and move items that are very personal to the previous marriage to your partner’s personal space, or at least contain it so it’s not everywhere you look.
“If your new partner is divorced, kid gloves are less necessary. After offering the ex first refusal on the clutter, build a big bonfire in the garden and encourage your partner to fuel it with as many old joint possessions as possible!
“It’s so difficult for young singles to get on the housing ladder that there’s an increasing trend for couples at an early stage in their relationships to buy together.
“While it can make good financial sense, there are additional considerations to be taken on board. It doesn’t sound romantic, but it’s sensible to talk about things that might not usually be brought up at this stage in a relationship, running all potential scenarios through in conversation. However strong a relationship is, it’s vital to consider what would happen in the event of a break up as you won’t be covered by the matrimonial laws that protect married homeowners. Buying a property together is a huge commitment to each other and there needs to be a high level of maturity involved in the decision.
“A good solicitor is crucial. I would strongly recommend a specialist conveyancing solicitor, and to choose one who can guarantee consistent contact with the same person. In addition to all the usual documents, they should draw up a ‘declaration of trust’ for both parties to sign that sets out the detail of who has contributed what, and what happens in the event one or both of you wish to sell.
Stacks Property Search & Acquisition, www.stacks.co.uk
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