I met this guy who I enjoy being with and dated for a long time. We have been talking wedding plans. He owns a home and I merely have been renting. My question is should I move into his home that he has had for many years or do I insist on purchasing a home together for equal ownership?
Dear Avoiding Regrets,
I hear this question more from those who are in advanced years and the spouse has died and they own their home. The answer in my opinion would be the same for all ages.
This is my motto: “If something is given to you as a gift, you appreciate it. If you work very hard for something, you appreciate it even more.” It is an underlying subliminal feeling and emotion that can happen to the receiver of the gift as well as the giver. It can become a conflict in later years.
Not approaching this subject right away if marriage is the plan can materialize into one week, one month, and before you know it, a year has gone by in his home. Brainstorm over a period of time continuously about options with a plan to start fresh together in a new home. New history to develop in the home creates more equal invested effort, emotions and new memories. Discussing this would definitely be time well spent.
Rental homes are always needed and, done properly, is a great option. Exchange student housing is needed for nearby colleges paying a reasonable amount of a stipend. Tax deductibility weighs into this if your income is high. Airbnb is a great option as their popularity has soared in the last few years for traveling baby boomers. Selling the home to downsize or a better location is the first obvious option. A 1031 tax exchange is also a great option to purchase another property using equity.
Researching time is invaluable. It allows you to see all the options and opportunities to choose what works best for your future lifestyle and social standards.
There are a few exceptions for some people who receive a home by osmosis from their new spouse but be aware of your hesitation levels. Rate your hesitation level or comfort level using a zero to 10 scale. Zero is no worry at all. Ten would mean he is very attached to his home, notices every mark on the wall and lights up when giving a tour of his home with new acquaintances. If you still feel like you are a guest being on your best behavior and ultra-careful when you are at home together, this could be something you need to look at.
It’s important to communicate your hesitation with tact and some pre-conversation research. Marriage is a challenge without extra-unintended emotions or baggage. Any decision needs to make sense, but verbalizing your hesitation level to him will create a teamwork spirit and he may actually feel the same way but didn’t say anything. The ball is in your court.