So… the honeymoon has ended. If you were a couple who did not live together before marriage, you are facing many new challenges, adventures, and compromises. Besides the everyday mundane things like who does the dishes, takes out the trash, or who may or may not leave shoes all over the floor; there will be one of the largest life items… merging homes after marriage.
If you each owned homes before you wed, this topic gets harder. I hope that you have married a partner with whom you can communicate honestly about your wishes and needs, because you will have to set aside emotional attachments to your individual homes and pick the home that fits you both best.
A few factors that will be important to discuss are:
1. Commute to your offices
If you work far apart, here is the first compromise. It’s not just about one of you anymore. Pick which home is the best commute for you both. This may be neither home, and the best path could be to get a completely new place together.
2. Planning for kids in the future. Or, not...
Let’s hope you talked about kids ahead of the wedding date, but timing of kids will also be a factor in which home you choose to live. If you would like to start a family immediately, then the townhome one of you owns might not be the best choice. You need to think about extra bedrooms and school zones.
On the flip, you may not want kids right away and in that case being closer to younger, trendier areas will more fun in the youth of your marriage.
3. Merging of possessions
Whether you are merging items accumulated in college, your 20s, 30s, or your whole life, it will be hard to blend two people’s life into one cohesive design. This process is another area that will cause battles with many couples.
Tip: Avoid negative words (about the other person, as well as, their furniture)
Now that you have picked the home you will live in, the stuff you will put in it, let your communications move on to the financial part, leasing versus selling the extra home.
1. Leasing your home
Think of this as planning for your future. Holding onto the larger home and leasing it for a few years while your marriage grows will provide you with passive income to save for retirement, or use for traveling. Leasing will also decrease the trauma of one partner giving up their previous attachment to the home.
2. Selling your home
If being a landlord isn’t your cup of tea, time to research selling the extra home. In a good market, this is another chance to bump your marriage nest egg. Read my next article to help explain the process of selling and how to find a qualified Realtor.
Just remember the most important part, this task of merging homes after marriage is just step one. Your future together will work itself out as long as you communicate nicely.