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"I actually remember thinking, 'OK. Maybe this isn't going anywhere,'" she said with a laugh. At the time, her boyfriend,
"We would have liked to have sold them both and purchased right away, but I also really liked my condo,"
But their decision paid off when, a few years later, married with a new baby, the couple got a knock on their door from a neighbor whose parents were hoping to buy in the building.
All the while, they've kept
"We have a great tenant in there who has renewed the last 2 1/2 years,"
She's living out a situation she sees frequently with her clients. "Many choose to focus on their career for longer, before they get married and start a family," she said. "Part of that is - a lot of times - purchasing a home as a single person."
According to the 2015
"What I'm finding more in the
She's also worked with clients who both want to sell - one pair of clients lived in the same subdivision and met while walking in the neighborhood. They took the conservative approach, Wirtz said, and sold one property at a time, moving in together temporarily in her house while his sold, then selling hers before they bought jointly.
Wirtz recommends that type of slower, but less risky, approach for couples who can wait. She also recommends that couples find out what type of loans they qualify for before getting too excited about options.
"The first step is talking to a lender," Wirtz said. Next, she noted, a couple should have their homes appraised to pin down their worth and figure out how soon they can sell. Timing could be everything, she explained; if a couple jumps into purchasing a new home together before their individual homes sell, they could be on the hook for paying three mortgages instead of one.
For those itching to rent,
"The first thing that you want to do is figure out the actual monthly expenses at each given property," Wacksman said. "Most people understand what their mortgage is, but their (monthly payment) also includes real estate taxes, insurance, your HOA dues."
Once the actual cost of maintaining each property is determined, the next step is figuring out a reasonable rental rate for each, to determine if it makes sense to hold onto either property and rent it out. There are online tools and calculators that can help with this process. But even if a tenant would more than cover a home's mortgage and costs, Wacksman cautions that people should also think critically about whether they want to take on landlord duties.
"Your phone's going to ring if things go wrong," he said, adding that landlords also have to allocate a maintenance budget. Being a landlord, even part-time, isn't for everyone. But with home values rising, more couples may see that as an attractive option. Wacksman suggests researching common landlord issues and local laws before jumping in.
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Wirtz cautions her clients to get approved by a lender before deciding to hold on to a condo and also purchase a new house.
"Some lenders now want to see six months of actual rental income," she said.
Getting each person's financial ducks in a row is crucial, Wirtz said. She has had clients who don't get approved for a new home loan and need to live in one or the other's existing property. It helps to absorb that news if couples are prepared for all outcomes.
"What is amazing and fun about buying and selling and renting is, it is an emotional and a rational journey," Wacksman said. "You fall in love and you make it a home, but then you have to make a math decision at the end of the day."
Sometimes the decision isn't based on numbers, but familial needs. That was the case for
When the couple decided it was time to live together, Callahan said it was tempting to imagine selling her house, but she couldn't envision making her son move and switch school districts. Hunt agreed; the decision was "a no-brainer" for him to move into her house and find a tenant to rent his.
Callahan plans to put her house on the market once her son heads off to college, and buy a home with Hunt after she sells. "My property taxes here are right around $30,000 a year," she said. "You could buy a serviceable new car every year for that. But I consider it tuition."
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