A Newlyweds’ Guide to Setting Up the Perfect Home
In this article:
- Finding the right home
- Essentials checklist
- Furnishing and equipping your home
- Coexisting as a married couple
Getting married is a huge milestone and an exciting journey for you and your brand-new spouse. Aside from picking out your wedding registry list and devising the perfect reception menu, marriage requires quite a bit of logistical planning. Once the ceremony, reception, and honeymoon are over, it’s time to move in together and start your new life. When setting up a new home as a couple, there are some crucial things all newlyweds should consider. This guide is here to help you navigate the process, so you can set up a wonderful home you’ll love for many years.
Finding the right home
The most important step of moving in together is to ensure that you find the right home for both of you. Keep these tips in mind to determine how to choose the best home as a newlywed couple.
Set a budget
Before you begin house hunting, set a budget and determine how much house you can afford. There’s more to buying a home than just the monthly mortgage payment. You’ll also need plenty of cash saved for the down payment, closing costs, property taxes, and homeowners’ insurance. Use an online calculator to help you better understand how much home you’ll be able to afford before you start your search.
Find an agent
An experienced real estate agent will be your biggest ally during the home-buying process. Be sure to make a list of your must-haves and your “nice-to-haves” before you choose an agent. This will make it easier for your agent to find the right home for you, as they’ll have a much clearer understanding of exactly what you want your brand-new home to look like. Be sure to mention your ideal location and what you’re looking for in a neighborhood.
You’ll need to get pre-approved through a bank or mortgage broker before you can make an offer on a home. Do some shopping online, compare current mortgage rates, and confirm the latest mortgage qualifications. Rates will vary based on a huge number of factors, so it’s best to start shopping early and try to “lock in” a rate once you’re pre-approved in case rates increase before you close on the home.
Once you find a home you like, you’ll need to get a professional home inspection. A home inspector can identify any major problems before you make an offer. Have a list of questions ready for the inspector, so you feel confident about your decision. Every potential buyer should get an inspection before buying a home. This can not only give you negotiating power, but it could also save you thousands of dollars in costly repairs later.
Remember, you can use your wedding registry to get some of the items you need for your new home. Here are some tips that every couple should know before making a home essentials list:
- Pick two to three places to sign up for your wedding registry. Select several retailers that you both really like, and make sure you include different items for each place to keep things unique.
- Set up your registry a few weeks after your engagement announcement, so the list is readily available for those attending your engagement party and other pre-wedding events.
- Make a thorough list of all your new home needs and wants. Take inventory of what you and your partner have so you don’t end up with duplicates. If you have specific items that you’ll continue to use in your new home, leave them off your registry list.
- Select items within a wide range of price points to have a good mixture of everyday basics and more high-end products like appliances or furniture.
- Take a look at other couples’ registries to get an idea of what they’re asking for. This is a great way to get inspiration and ideas for your own registry.
- Don’t be afraid to register for more gifts than wedding guests. The bigger the range and variety of items you want, the easier it will be for your guests to choose something they want to buy for you.
- Make sure your registry is public and tell others about it via email or social media. This will give your wedding guests plenty of time to pick out the perfect gifts for you.
Furnishing and equipping your home
After your home inspection and closing, it’s time to decide exactly what you want to add to the home to make it functional and work for both of you.
Every home needs quality appliances, including a refrigerator, oven, washing machine and dryer, microwave, and HVAC system. You may want to purchase a whole-home warranty to protect your appliances in case they break down. This is a good way to protect your investment and gives you the option to make repairs as needed without breaking the bank. Get regular annual inspections of systems like your HVAC so you can avoid costly repairs later.
Not all newlywed couples have to buy all of their furniture at once. Start small by furnishing the rooms where you plan to spend most of your time, like the bedroom, living room, and dining room. The most important essentials should include a comfortable bed and mattress, a sofa for the living room, and a quality dining room table and chairs. Bring your existing furniture into the home to share if it’s still in good condition. You can always upgrade later as your needs and budget change.
Don’t forget these basic items
Aside from appliances and furniture, there are some other basics you’ll need to set up your new home. Make sure you have plenty of cleaning supplies, a fully stocked first aid kit, and personal hygiene products. Ensure you have the kitchenware you need to cook and eat meals. Check that you have key electronics like a nice television set and a computer or a surround sound system if you enjoy entertainment at home. Don’t forget storage and organization items like coat hangers, storage bins, and shelving to keep your new home neat and tidy.
Coexisting as a married couple
Now that you’re living together as newlyweds, there are a few key things to remember in order to achieve a happy coexistence. Managing finances is one of the most important things you’ll need to do together as a married couple.
Managing your finances is crucial to stay on the same page regarding your bills, savings, and splurges. One recent survey found that 54% of respondents said debt was a reason for divorce. Another study found that 48% of Americans argue with a spouse or partner over money. Here are a few things to remember so you’re both on the same page when it comes to finances:
- Decide right away whether you plan to have separate or joint bank accounts. If you do have a joint account, you’ll have access to each other’s money and spending habits. If you keep your accounts separate, you’ll need to communicate any issues you have with money.
- Talk about your financial goals together as a couple. Do you both want to upgrade to a larger home later? Maybe you want to start planning a family and need to start saving money now. Whatever the goal, it’s vital to talk about your financial plans and dreams now so you can share a common future goal.
- Sit down and set up a monthly budget, including the cost of monthly bills like mortgage and utilities. This should also include money for everyday items like groceries, gasoline, clothing, and toiletries. Doing this now will help you both get a clear idea of what you’re spending each month.
- Track your expenses to closely monitor every dime that comes in versus what goes out. This is a great way to help you determine where you can cut back or where you could save money for the future.
One of the top stressors in marriage is the unequal distribution of housework. Many studies and surveys show that although many women work outside the home, they still tend to do most of the household chores. Here are some tips and ideas to help you both share the load while keeping your new home clean:
- Devise a cleaning calendar so that you both stick to a regular schedule. This will help you remember to do various chores and keep your home neat and clean.
- Create a “chore jar” so each of you has to do a different chore every day or week. Fill the jar with small pieces of paper or wooden popsicle sticks with the name of the chore written on them. Grab an item out of the jar and do the chores until the jar is empty, then start over again.
- Develop a master checklist of the most important chores you need to get done every day, week, and month, so it’s easier to prioritize.
- Vacuum and dust your home often so that you feel good about it being clean.
- Sit down to touch base with each other and develop a weekly chore plan, so you’re both on the same page.
- If you’re too busy, hiring someone to help you with housecleaning is perfectly fine.
Once the wedding is over, it’s time to start planning your new future together as newlyweds. Follow the tips above for advice about finding the right home, getting the items you need, and working together regarding things like chores and finances. With some practice and patience, you’ll find that living together in your new home as a couple is a blissful and fulfilling experience.