The Dream Team: Defining Your "dream Home" as a Couple

By: Carolyn Capalbo

The concept of a dream home, in theory, is by all means dreamy- finding that perfect place to call home, the place the suits your needs and desires to a tee... but, if you're looking for a dream home as a couple, the dreaminess can quickly become a nightmare, where conflicting ideas clash and cast a vast shadow of doubt and confusion. With the two that it takes to tango, a delicate dance can melt into a tug 'o' war- if you don't development a system to explore your mutual parameters and come to some sort on consensus. After all, you both need to be happy with your new home.

So, here's where a certain amount of flexibility will need to come into play, and where your initial vision of the perfect dream home may need to transform somewhat. But, fret not, there's nothing more exciting than realizing two minds can come together and actualize a dream "together".

First off, it's important to have this discussion about what you want in a home before soliciting the help of an agent. Truly, you don't want to be out there looking at homes, only to realize you're on opposite sides of the fence. This will just create tension for all parties involved, and end up costing you a lot of time and energy.

So it's advised that once you've decided to purchase a new home, that you first sit down separately and make up your own personal list of all the parameters that would define your dream home. Include such things as location, style of home, lot size, waterfront or not, urban or suburban, number of bedrooms, landscaping, special features, condition (would you rather a place that you'll renovate to your liking or a home that's already up to snuff). With this list go as big as you want with all the things that you'd ideally want in a dream home. Now is your chance to get it all down on paper and rejoice!

But... here's the catch. The next step is to sit down with your partner and to share your lists. Try not to make comments, like, " Oh God no.... you don't want to live there, do you honey? Be respectful and initially just listen as objectively as possible to each person's list of dream home parameters.

From here you can start another list- together. Discover any points of commonality between your two separate lists and to list them under, "our dream home". There may only be a couple, or there may be quite a few. Once you have your list of common points, open up a friendly conversation about why you are both interested in these particular parameters. You may find that this dialogue progresses, and that you begin to find some other common desires. Make sure you jot them down as well.

Once you've established this positive connection, where you realize you have some common ideas from which to establish a framework, then go back and open up a discussion about the parameters that seem to be at odds. Let each person voice why they feel each of their parameters is important. The other can then explain why this is not important to them, or likewise can express that they may be willing to be flexible on this point. From here you can create another couple of lists. One can be called the "maybe our dream home", and in it you can put the points/parameters that may not be 100% aligned on, but where there seems to be some room for negotiation. The other two lists can remain as your individual lists, and these will contain the points/parameters that you can't seem to come to mutual agreement on- yet.

From here you need to decide that you want some of those "maybe our dream home" parameters to get on to the "our dream home" list. So have a thorough discussion of all the pros and cons on your "maybe" list and then see what seems to want to make the jump onto the "our dream home" list.

Pat yourselves on the back for making great progress. Next, you might consider going back to your individual lists and seeing what hypothetically would fit with your established "our dream home" parameters. Maybe one partner will become more flexible on certain points or features now that the initial vision has changed. Play around with the left over puzzle pieces and mutually see what can fit together to create your new idea of a dream home- an idea you've built together and can both love and enjoy.

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