The notion that newly-wed couples will move from their childhood home into their first home together is as outdated as dial-up-internet. According to the 2015 Stats SA report, the average marriage age for men is 34-years-old and 30-years-old for women. Chances are high that both individuals in the couple will be living in their own place long before the question gets popped. The next question newlyweds will have to ask is: whose place goes and whose stays?
“Choosing where to live can have profound implications on the future happiness of the couple. That is why it is often best, where possible, for couples to move into a new place together where they can both feel equally at home rather than to move into the other person’s property. That way, they can avoid some of the arguments that inevitably occur when moving into somebody else’s home,” says Adrian Goslett, Regional Director and CEO of RE/MAX of Southern Africa.
According to Goslett, this is a relatively easy thing to achieve if both parties are renting, but the process can become more complicated if one party owns the property in which they’re currently living. “In these cases, it is advisable that, rather than sell, the owner becomes a landlord and rents out his/her home. Eventually, this asset will become an investment for the newlywed couple that – once the bond is repaid – will bring in a monthly recurring income.”
The trickiest newlywed situation is where both individuals own property. “Managing tenants and bond repayments on two different properties can become a bit of a juggling act – especially when you’re trying to adjust to the new roles and responsibilities of being married. In these cases, it is best to sell one of the properties if the couple plans on moving into a new home together, and get a tenant to occupy the other. If, however, they choose to move into one of the homes they already own, then they can keep the other property and use it to generate rental income. As an added benefit in this scenario, both individuals maintain the legal rights to their own properties if ever the marriage breaks up,” Goslett suggests.
But, if a couple chooses not to deal with the hassles and risks that come with being a landlord, and they’re caught between which of their two properties to sell and which to keep, then Goslett suggests three factors that need to be considered in making this decision: financial benefits, practicalities, and sentimental flexibility.
“Financially, couples need to decide which home will be the better long-term investment. Arrange to have a property valuation done on each home. Then, you need to consider the potential growth value for each property – how much will this value increase over time? A good estate agent will be able to provide some insight into this. The property which promises to increase in value at a higher rate is the property which couples should keep.”
The next factor Goslett adds to this decision-making equation is the practicalities of each home. “It is no use selling the two-bedroom home in the suburbs in favour of the one-bedroom apartment in the city bowl with higher investment value if you are planning on expanding your family in the near future. You will also need to decide which home offers the best location in terms of the daily commute for both you and your spouse.”
“The last thing to consider is the sentimental attachment both might have to their properties. It might seem counter intuitive, but whoever is least attached to their home should be the one who gets to keep it. If the property means too much to a spouse, then they’re unlikely to allow any changes to be made. In order for it to feel like home for both parties, the one owning the home needs to be flexible enough to allow their spouse their own say in the how the house is run – after all, it does not belong just to one person anymore,” Goslett concludes.
Issued by RE/MAX of Southern Africa