I once heard someone say that “you have to pick your battles” when talking about relationships, and the process of buying a home has taught me to embrace this saying. In fact, it’s my new mantra!
My boyfriend and I were on vacation in Miami when we started discussing the next step in our relationship. It was obvious: Moving in together. Neither of us believes in renting, so that was out of the question. Instead, we thought big… Buying a home. At the time, my boyfriend was adamant about buying a building with multiple units that would allow us to pay the mortgage with the rent from our tenants. I didn’t think it was a bad idea, but I couldn’t shake my vision: A house with a welcoming red door, a big enough kitchen to host my family, and something special that felt just like home.
We decided that, when we got back to Chicago, we’d ask our realtor to search for both buildings and homes. Whichever popped into our lives first would be a sign that it was our path to take on de los cuernos.
Fast forward three months, we had found our fixer upper but I wasn’t too enthusiastic about “all the work” that had to be done. It felt as if I were doing the hard labor myself. Then when it finally sunk in that I had the creative liberty to do whatever I wanted to our house, the excitement began beaming from my face (and even more so from my boyfriend’s face). I was originally set on this idea that the home we found would be move-in ready and perfect, but the truth of the matter is that every home (and trust me we saw many!) is never going to be perfect because we all have our preferences. The home may have 99.9 percent of everything you want, but it’s the 0.01 percent that will kill the dream you envisioned of your first casa.
My boyfriend and I lived together once before in college, when I had a studio apartment that was basically our sanctuary from the outside world. Since we had already dipped our toes into cohabiting, moving in together didn’t really scare me. Or so I thought.
The fear wasn’t in living together but more so in meeting each other halfway in what we envisioned for our home. Our being the operative word. He likes the cream marble, I like the white marble. I hate the paint color, he loves the paint color. Our taste in interior design was messing with our relationship. He could spend hours walking through what seemed to me was the absolute-nothingness of the home. All I wanted was to go eat. Maybe I was just hangry pero quería unos tacos!
I’ll admit that I was sort of a pain to work with. What I didn’t understand at the time was that this empty home was full of promise: The promise of building a life together and the promise of creating something that was true to our relationship — and to ourselves.
That brings me to the key to buying a home: compromise. It’s an art. You have to give a little, to get a little. You love that paint color and I like this granite. Decision made. Voila! Sometimes we make life a little more difficult than it needs to be. If you effectively communicate what you want and why you want it, your partner will hear you out. It’s a matter of how you go about it from there.
Is the topic of discussion so important to you that you should keep pushing or can you let it go? If it’s the latter, brush it off and move on! Trust me, there will be bigger fish to fry down the road of home buying… and then there’s decorating. #AyDios