PARSIPPANY, N.J. (April 22, 2013) – Should couples wait until marriage? Times are changing, and a new study from Coldwell Banker Real Estate LLC uncovered that about one in four married couples between the ages of 18 to 34 purchased their first home together before their wedding date, compared to 14 percent of those ages 45 and older. According to the survey, 35 percent of all married couples purchased their first home together by their second wedding anniversary, and 80 percent of married homeowners who purchased their home while married said it did more to strengthen their relationship than any other purchase they made together.
“While life goals and expectations continue to weigh on young couples, their views of homeownership are transcending their plans of marriage and starting a family, creating a direct effect on the patterns of buying a home altogether,” said Dr. Robi Ludwig, a leading psychotherapist and Coldwell Banker Real Estate LLC lifestyle correspondent. “What we’re seeing is that young couples are switching up the order and purchasing their first home regardless of whether or not they have set a wedding date. This is a huge movement within the American culture. While younger generations may be focusing more on their career, and in turn waiting longer to get married and have children, they are not delaying their dream of homeownership.”
Survey Trends: Love, Marriage and Homebuying
“When a couple buys their first home, it’s one of the most exciting new experiences they ever will share together,” said Dr. Robi Ludwig. “They not only learn about each other’s wishes and dreams during this process, but they also learn how to be practical with each other and compromise. Buying a home has more of an impact on a couple’s relationship than any other purchase they will ever make. It bonds two people together and makes them a family.”
Impact of Homebuying on a Marriage
Tips from Dr. Robi Ludwig for Couples Buying Their First Home Before (or After) Marriage
· Decide “needs” vs. “wants,” and be willing to compromise. According to Ludwig, no one gets everything on their checklist, so it’s important to get a home that pleases you both. When under pressure, it’s not uncommon to uncover conflicting values, interests, likes, dislikes and tastes to come out and create tension. When a couple is searching for a new home together, their ideas of what’s ideal are greatly influenced by their respective backgrounds, childhoods and the homes they grew up in. They can also be influenced by the fantasy of the homes they always wanted to grow up in. Patience, understanding, compassion and compromise are key to neutralizing conflict and overcoming our differences.
· Prioritize what’s important in a home, together. Does the location work? Do you plan to stay in the area for a few years? Make an independent list and then compare notes. Even the closest couples are still two separate people with two separate ideas and agendas. Searching for a home can bring up a couple’s different priorities and ideas about life. Working together to decide what is best for a combined future strengthens the bond between individuals and prepares couples to effectively deal with future disagreements when they arise.
· Be open, honest and organized with your finances. This includes the ability to talk about personal savings, debts, budgets and credit ratings. Money is one of the leading causes of marital discord. According to some studies considered by Ludwig, women view money as a sign of security, stability and lifestyle, while for men, money tends to be more about winning, losing and self-esteem. Being able to communicate effectively about your finances is critical to a successful relationship. One thing is clear; you can’t have a good relationship unless you can communicate effectively about money and finances.
· Think about your future for three, five and even 10 years down the road. Before buying a home, talk to your partner about plans for your career, having a family, and what that means in terms of neighborhood and space. For some people, being asked to think about their future needs can create anxiety. Supporting each other when these anxieties and fears naturally come up is very important for couples to learn how to do, especially during the home buying process.
· Be patient, but have fun! You’ll be learning a lot about each other during this process. A home is one of the biggest investments for a couple’s long-term wealth building, so make sure to be smart and knowledgeable about the experience from beginning to end.
This survey was conducted online within the United States between March 8-12, 2013 among 2,116 adults (aged 18 and over) by Harris Interactive on behalf Coldwell Banker® via its Quick Query omnibus product. Figures for age, sex, race/ethnicity, education, region and household income were weighted where necessary to bring them into line with their actual proportions in the population.
All sample surveys and polls, whether or not they use probability sampling, are subject to multiple sources of error which are most often not possible to quantify or estimate, including sampling error, coverage error, error associated with non-response, error associated with question wording and response options, and post-survey weighting and adjustments. Therefore, Harris Interactive avoids the words “margin of error” as they are misleading. All that can be calculated are different possible sampling errors with different probabilities for pure, unweighted, random samples with 100% response rates. These are only theoretical because no published polls come close to this ideal.
Respondents for this survey were selected from among those who have agreed to participate in Harris Interactive surveys. The data have been weighted to reflect the composition of the adult population. Because the sample is based on those who agreed to participate in the Harris Interactive panel, no estimates of theoretical sampling error can be calculated.