5 To Do’s When You and Your Mate Want Different Things in a Home
Early on in my real estate career, I noticed a recurring anthropological event among house-hunting couples. They would come into my office and sit down to tell me about what they were looking for in their next home. In about 75 percent of cases where one of them had expressed an interest in a fixer-upper, as soon as the wanna-be-weekend-handyperson excused him or herself to go to the bathroom, their significant other would pull me aside. Then, eyes desperately darting around in a sort of optical Morse code, sweat beads dropping from their brow, they would initiate what I came to call “The Restroom Conversation,” which always went something like this:
“Please help me. I do not want a fixer. My husband/wife/significant other will never do the work. I don’t want to live in an expensive hovel. SOS!”
The life-changing impact and bank-depleting dollar amount of a home purchase transaction renders it fertile ground for relationship discord. That said if both sides proceed consciously and with the intention of peaceful resolution, there are strategies that can help make sure the deal closes without destroying the relationship – and without one side being disgruntled that their needs are not being met.
Here are my five techniques for resolving differences of opinion with your loved one when you’re buying a home together:
1. Get everything out in the open. Surely by now, you’ve heard the saying about what closed mouths don’t get: fed. You’d be surprised at how many ‘restroom conversations’ culminated in an open conversation in which the fixer-averse member of the couple confessed to their mate that they didn’t share their Bob Vila fantasies for the very first time!
In this way (and many other ways, for that matter), real estate matters can reflect the deeper dynamics of the relationship. People who hate confrontation in the rest of their relationship tend to avoid vocalizing their disagreement with their partner’s real estate opinions, too. This, in turn, can lead to one person owning and paying for a property they simply dislike, or otherwise failing to have their real estate needs met. Over years of homeownership, this can fester and snowball into a relationship-ruining avalanche of resentment and rage.
If you have a strong disagreement with some of your S.O.’s real estate priorities, make sure you voice them – respectfully, of course. (See #5, below.) Biting your tongue can be both painful and costly, in the context of a home buying transaction.
2. Prioritize your conflicting wants and needs. Couples with a strong track record of reaching compromises and problem resolution may do this naturally, while newlyweds and other couples who tend to lock horns more frequently will find this to be a new approach. I recommend that each individual buyer sit down and write out their Vision of Home – what they want their lives to look like on a daily basis once they’re in the home they’re about to buy. Who all will live with you? What do you do in your spare time – scrapbooking or yoga or yard work or loafing – and where in or around the house do you do it? Do you spend your weekends at the home improvement store or hosting brunches?
From there, each person should begin to drill down into how their vision translates into a property. This is the time to get into the nuts-and-bolts stuff: how many bedrooms and bathrooms do you want or need? Where will this home be located? Are you wanting a townhome with a zero-maintenance exterior or a sprawling rancher on a few acres?
Once each individual is clear on their wants and needs, the members of the home buying couple should meet up, sit down, and review, surfacing where your wants and needs align seamlessly and also surfacing any disconnects or diverging priorities.
Then, take some areas of disagreement and prioritize them:
- Is your desire for a townhouse a deal-breaker, or could you make do so long as the landscaping of a standalone home is low-maintenance or your spouse agrees to handle it?
- Is your mate’s dream of investing sweat equity into a major fixer a must-have, or are they open to seeing other options?
I find it helpful to categorize areas of disagreement in terms of must-haves, would-likes, dislikes, and deal-killers. You might find that what seems like the makings of a major dispute ends up being resolved pretty easily once you get clear on how important each of the sticking points is (or isn’t, as the case may be).
3. Bring your agent into the mix. First, let me be clear: it is not an agent’s job to provide free therapy! I’m not suggesting that you look to your broker or agent to resolve your relationship differences (though many have extensive experience doing just that, in a home buying context). However, agents know more about the subject matter of your disagreement – homes – than either you or your mate, and an experienced agent might even have worked with other couples through the precise issue or stalemate you’re facing, in the past.
Letting your agent in on the disagreement and seeking their input can be a powerful step in the right direction of resolving an impasse:
- First off, your agent might know of properties or property types that can resolve your disagreement with little or no further negotiation. They might be able to instantly see some compromises or solutions that you would have no way to even think of!
- Second, your agent might immediately spot how one or both of your impasse-creating needs are infeasible in any event. For example, if you want water views and your spouse wants to live downtown, your agent might know for a fact that neither of these is feasible on your budget!
Agents are great at helping resolve differing house hunt wants and needs by reality-checking both partners with the truths of the market, including surfacing property-based solutions that hold the potential to make both sides happy.
4. View properties that meet either side’s wishes, as well as compromise homes. You’d be surprised how what we *think* we want in a home, in the abstract, changes up once we’re actually viewing real-life properties in the flesh (or, more accurately, in the brick, mortar, and stucco). Buyers with a die-hard commitment to fixing up a property have been known to shift their stance when they actually see the fixers in their area (which may not be discounted as heavily as they expected), or when they see a beautiful, move-in ready property in their price range.
And the reverse is also true: I’ve seen numerous buyers who wanted to do little or no work to their next home become willing to take some work on upon viewing a cosmetically-challenged but otherwise perfect property in the perfect neighborhood – at the perfect price.
My advice to buyers who find themselves at a stalemate with their mate is to split your first couple of showings with an agent roughly equally between homes that:
(a) meet one or the other spouse’s deal-making or -breaking priorities
(b) reflect your best efforts to compromise with the other, and
(c) reflect your agent’s opinion of the sort of property that will support the most prominent features of the lifestyle(s) you each envisioned, whether or not it’s precisely what either of you has described.
This way, you have the best shot at allowing the reality of the homes on your market in your price range to resolve the impasse for you, without further fuss or additional ado.
5. Don’t start or engage in power struggles. Wanna know what happens when people think their needs or concerns are being dismissed, disrespected, or minimized? They get entrenched and oppositional, and power struggles ensue. In a power struggle, the facts of the situation – the substantive disconnect between two people’s home buying wish lists – becomes completely secondary to the so-called “principle of the thing.”
Once that happens, there’s almost no solution, no compromise, or give-and-take that will satisfy the person who feels their needs are being overlooked. They might agree, begrudgingly, to a property, but express their martyrdom and resentment for years to come. Or they might flat out dig in their heels, being passively or aggressively obstructive to the home buying process by not bringing in documents as needed, making a unilateral purchase on credit, or otherwise sabotaging the deal, albeit unwittingly. This is not necessarily intentional game-playing, either; most people who are engaged in power struggles can’t see it while they’re in them. Only after cooling off, and only in retrospect, can they see the overarching relationship dynamics that got in the way of smart, proactive real estate decisions.
Accordingly, it’s essential that if you and your mate disagree on one or more major points of your house-hunting criteria list, you each treat the other’s position respectfully. Exercise class active listening techniques, like repeating back in your own words what the other person is expressing so that they see you are paying them the respect of listening, and asking questions to more fully understand why they have the priorities and concerns they do.
At all costs, avoid teasing or ridiculing your mate or their wish list, no matter how frivolous some items on it may seem to you. Instead, focus on the priorities that you do share, and engage in calm conversations devoted to determining what tradeoffs each of you is willing to make in order to achieve your common goal: a home that works for you both, for your family, and for your finances, for the long haul.
By Ask Tara@Trulia
Sea Glass Virgin Islands real estate statistics consist of MLS and non-MLS data for Sea Glass Companies.
#1. We finished #1. in sales in the USVI: $80,792,495
#2. We finished #1. in number of transactions in the USVI: 350
#3. We sold $38.6m more in real estate than the nearest STT/STJ competitor.
#4. We had 129 more transactions than the nearest USVI competitor.
#5. We added Holiday Homes of St. John, established in 1960, to our family.
#6. We sold 9 more properties over $1m than the nearest USVI competitor.
#7. We generated over 40,000 visits to our websites per month.
#8. We have over 50 homes listed above $1m.
I am blessed to be able to say I live in the US Virgin Islands all year around. As I sit in my office I can see tourists getting on a sailboat for a day trip snorkeling in the beautiful blue Caribbean waters that are less than 5 minutes from me at any time. I can see a cruise ship that hosts thousands of people – each one looking for a little bit of the beautiful sunny days I get to enjoy all of the time. I can see the gorgeous mega yachts with their spiffy crews always making sure the boats are clean for their owners. I have been on a few and they are just as wonderful inside as they are outside. I moved to the USVI over a decade ago to live in the sun and fun and I still love waking up every day looking at the blue sky and even more blue Sea. I have beautiful views even from my office window. Contact me if this is what is on your mind.
Spring Break is a great time to visit St. John. When the cold winter months are really beginning to wear on you, planning a warm, tropical getaway is a great way to hit the refresh button! St. John has gorgeous beaches – you could visit a different beach every day during a week long vacation and still not go to every one! With over 75% of our island being National Park, the beaches are pristine, protected and clean with crystal clear water! In addition to beaches, St. John has a great beachside bar and dining scene in Wharfside Village that will make for the perfect Spring Break vacation! Some of our favorites include:
– Joe’s Rum Hut: a great happy hour right on the beach, offering you the quintessential ocean front bar. Happy hour is from 4-6pm with $3 “you call it” (meaning anything on the menu or that you order is $3). Our favorite: don’t miss the Lime in Da Coconut frozen drink or a Dark ‘n’ Stormy!
– The Beach Bar: another low key spot right on the beach in Cruz Bay. Stop here for the sunset and pull up a chair on the beach, play some cornhole and enjoy what island life is about! Our favorite: the “Tuna Down Now” is a great snack or app and we love to order a Light Cruzan Rum and Ting (local grapefruit soda)! You can also view the live webcam here to help you get through those cold days until you are in paradise!
– Waterfront Bistro: Waterfront Bistro offers a beautiful beachside location, combining fine-dining with a laid back atmosphere. The wine list is extensive, menu is light and fresh with local fish and a number of gluten-free items! Our favorite: we love the local green papaya salad and the octopus tartine. The Swann is a great specialty cocktail!
Kick back and enjoy some time on the beach in Cruz Bay at some of these great bars and restaurants during your Spring Break!
If you are looking for some things to do on your spring break (or in general while on a vacation) you have come to the right place! Below is a list of top 5 things to do on St Thomas! As always feel free to post comments or questions!
1.) Start your trip off right with a visit to the world famous Magens Bay Beach located on the North side of the island. Click here to hear what others have to say about this beach!
2.) Do some duty-free shopping in downtown Charlotte Amalie! Our favorite thing to shop for is the beautiful jewelry!
3.) Hit the links at Mahogany Run Golf Course
4.) Play with Sea Lions and view colorful sea life at Coral World located at Coki Point
5.) Take the tramway up to Paradise Point and take in some truly spectacular views
by Chris Lampe
Why Choose Sea Glass? At Sea Glass Vacations, the number one priority is to make your vacation enjoyable, fun and a wonderful experience. That comes with impeccable planning and attention to detail on our part. As you may know, we have been busy shooting a number of videos for our villas (you can view a few here, such as Marea, Rivendell or Capri). Recently, a few of our staff got together to talk about what goes into making your vacation a memorable experience! Take a look here:
With a knowledgeable staff that has either grown up in the Virgin Islands or lived here for years, Sea Glass offers a local knowledge and approach to your vacation. We also pay attention to all the details, ensuring that nothing is overlooked during your stay! OR if you are a villa owner and want to effectively market your home, our team has the knowledge and expertise to put together great campaigns, stunning videos and other collateral to showcase your home in an eye-catching, professional way!
Reasons to Come to the Virgin Islands – Community!
This month we are sharing some of our top reasons to come to the Virgin Islands. The perfect white sand beaches, warm tropical breezes, beautiful views and crystal clear ocean waters are obviously at the top of the list! That said, there is so much more to these islands than being a tropical paradise. One of our favorite parts of living here is the sense of community that the Virgin Islands offers. Long-time residents, “snow birds,” new residents and even tourists see these islands as home and a place where one can make a difference, give back and get involved. The Virgin Islands are so small and we depend on community involvement for a slew of events, charities and organizations to function and operate. At Sea Glass, we understand the importance of giving back and being a part of the community and help in many ways with our Sea Glass Cares organization.
As a visitor or new resident of the Virgin Islands, there are so many opportunities to get involved and be a part of the community that allows our islands to thrive! Whether it is volunteering with the Friends of the National Park, helping to walk dogs at the St. John Animal Care Center or St. Thomas Humane Society, pitching in for a beach cleanup or donating your time to help St. John Cancer Fund, there are countless ways to get involved!
Sea Glass recently donated a 3-night stay at Sirenusa for a 3 bedroom villa to St. John Animal Care Center for their online auction. Have a look now and bid on this incredible villa, along with restaurant gift certificates, boat trips and more! If you are on island Saturday January 24, attend the winter gala fundraiser, The Buccaneer Ball at Eden’s Whim from 6-9pm.
As you can see, the Virgin Islands community really comes together to give back, get involved and make these islands a special place to live and visit. What more reason do you need to come to the VI?
With so much to do in the Virgin Islands (we will cover this throughout the blog)it is hard to get bored, and as a vacationer–I’d say it’s impossible. However, despite all of the excitement and beauty (no, we never get tired of the beauty), when you live here full-time –sometimes a change of scenery is, yes a luxury, but also much needed. Some people blame this on a conundrum they like to call “rock fever”. I’ve been here a little over a year and have yet to experience this query–knock on wood– but I’m still considered green. My reason is that with so many islands and cays nearby it’s so easy, so why not? We are all about adventure over here. Anyways, I digress, and as noted above, don’t worry–we have plenty of time to get to the meat and bones of everything you can do on your vacation in the Virgin Islands and what the islands have to offer.
Last week I decided to hop a plane with a co-worker and take a quick (20 minute flight!) trip to Old San Juan, Puerto Rico for a day and a half. Although we were there for such a short amount of time, we were able to pack in a lot of fun activities and had barely any down-time. Before I was approached with this trip, I was fully prepared to have a weekend strictly dedicated to R&R, errands, and work. Turned out, I was pleasantly surprised with this action packed, go-go-go weekend.
A couple San Juan “musts” if you are in the area.
1.) Castillo Del Moro
Located in San Juan, overlooking the entrance to San Juan Bay, you will find the Castillo Del Morro. The six level fort was built in 1539 and named after Spain’s King Philip II. Walking around this marvel and learning all about it’s history is a must!
2.) Nuyorican Cafe-Old San Juan
After a nice dinner on Fortaleza Street, the Nuyorican Cafe is a great stop. It’s near all the action, has a great vibe, and live music almost every night. We were able to watch some traditional salsa dancing which was impressive to say the least.
3.) Zip-lining in Orocovis at Toro Verde Nature Adventure Park
This was exhilarating for someone who is somewhat scared of heights. Let’s just say that my main piece of advice is that on the 8th zip, pay special attention to the instructors and take them very seriously when they ask you to “scrunch up into a ball shape”. Otherwise, you will get stuck hundreds of feet out…. like me. Terrifying. Otherwise, you may need to take advantage of the restaurant/bar post the adrenaline rush of your life, and try one of their coconut mojitos to chill you out.
4.) Plaza Las Americas
Abercrombie & Fitch, Abercrombie Kids, Adidas, Aerie, Aéropostale, Aldo Collection, Amado, Amado Salon & Body, American Eagle Outfitters, Ancestros, Ann Taylor, Antiques, Applebee’s, Arte Arte Arte, Madera y Cristal, Arte Religioso, Arts & Crafts, Atención Atención, A|X, Armani Exchange, Baby Gap, Bakers, Banana Republic, Banco Popular, Bared, Bath & Body Works, BCBG Maxazria, BCBGeneration, Bebe, Bellapierre Cosmetics, Bora Bora, Bose, Bostonian, Brooks Brothers, Brookstone, Brush Collection, Build-A-Bear Workshop, Burger King, Burritos, Caché, Candy Planet, Candy Planet, Caribbean Cinemas, Carla’s, Sweets, Carolina Herrera, Champs Sports, Charley’s Grilled Subs, Charlotte Russe, Chico’s, Chili’s, China Imperial, Chiquitín, Church’s Chicken, Claire’s, Clarks, ClaroClaroClaro, Coach, Cohen’s Fashion Optical, Colaito, Collector House, Disney Store, Eclectic El Botin del Coleccionista El Mesón, Everything But Water, Exentrix Jewels, Express, Express Men, First Bank, Foot Locker, Forever 21, Forever Crystals, Game Stop, Game Stop, Gap, Gap Body, Gap Kids, GNC, Godiva Chocolatier, Gordon’s Gravity, Guess, Gymboree, Hot Topic, Hugo Boss, Pollock, JCPenney, Journeys, Journeys Kidz, Karen Millen, Kelly’s Cajun & Grill, KFC, Kiehl’s, L’Occitane, La Favorita, La Fonda, La Gran Via La Parrilla Argentina, La Patisserie de France, La Placita en PLAZA, Lacoste, Las Corbatas, Le Petit Bistro Cafe, Lenscrafters, Lido Lids, Link Collection, Lucky Brand Jeans, Lugano Lunanativa, M.A.C, M.Q.Mundillo de Moca, Macy’s, Magritte Chocolatier, Mango, Manicurissima, Marciano Marki, Massimo Dutti, McDonald’s, Michael Kors, Microsoft, Mobi Gear, Modérnica (Apple), Mother Earth Spot, Motherhood Maternity, Mr. Pretzels Names & Plates, Naturalizer, Nine West, Novus Novus, Oakley, Obey Your Body, Obey Your Body II, Old Navy, Ondademar, Open Mobile, Oriental Palace, Origami Sushi Coming Soon!, Orogold coming soon!, Pac Sun, Pandora, Pasaportes y Servicios, Paseo Cultural Ricardo Alegría, Pashminas Pashminas, Payless Shoe source, Pearle Vision, Pequeña Ola, Perfumania, Pizza Hut, Playero Ponte Fresco, Pozzazz Preciosa, Pretty Girl, Puma, Qué Pasta, Radio Shack, Reinhold Reinhold, David Yurman, Relojes y Relojes, Rodeo, Romano’s Macaroni Grill, Santander, Sbarro, Scotiabank, Sears, Sears Automotriz, Sears Home Improvement, Security Shop, Sephora, Seven by lu, Shampoo Shop & Beauty Factory, Simply Nuts, Sony Spec’s, Sports Authority, Spy Gallery, Starbucks, Subway, Sunglass Hut, Sunglass Station, Sunny Planet, Sweet Talk, Sweet World, T-Mobile, Taco Bell, Taco Maker, The Cheesecake Factory®, The Children’s Place, The Hot Potato, The Pen Shoppe Company, The Shampoo Store, Ticket Center, Tierra del Fuego/Fueguito, Tobacco Shop, Torrid Totto Tous, Treats Triple, Valija, Victoria’s Secret, Vitamin World, Walgreens, West Elm, Wet Seal, Wet Seal Plus, White House/Black Market, YES YOU CAN Diet, by Alejandro Chabán, ZaraZen Spa.
There are almost too many to name and this list sounds borderline ridiculous, but even if you aren’t a big shopper, it’s a must-see. We ran out of time to stop in, but did get to run into the Premier Outlets in Barceloneta. Much smaller scale–but a nice variety!
What is the Carnival?
- The month of June and the week of July 4th, is an exciting time to be on St John. Experience the West Indian culture with its food fairs, music, races, parades and fireworks. You will get a feel for the culture and the island truly comes to life beaming with colors, sound and of course, delicious food!
History of the Carnival
- VI NOW explains the history behind the carnival “Carnival celebrations as we know them today in the Caribbean, including the U.S. Virgin Islands, are the result of various festival traditions being introduced, interpreted, invented, reintroduced, reinterpreted and reinvented – starting a few hundred years ago.
- In the mid-1600s and 1700s Europeans from countries such as Spain, Portugal, France, England and Denmark colonized the islands of the Caribbean. They brought with them the celebrations and festivals that were familiar and naturally tried to replicate the familiar in the New World. European celebrations included religious holidays and came in a variety of forms such as dress balls, parties, house to house visits and street processions. European nations sought the islands for developing plantations and the primary source of labor was enslaved Africans from West and Central Africa. They too brought with them the celebrations and festival traditions that were familiar and tried, often with difficulty, to replicate them. Their festivals were organized around certain deities or spirits, to mark a transition in life or in the community and in recognition of changes in seasons whether related to climate or to agricultural production. They incorporated a variety of forms, quite often including singing or chanting, drumming, masking and a form of street theater with performer and audience participation.”
When is the Carnival?
- The carnival starts in June and has its grand finale the week of July 4th.
- We hope to see everyone there for this fun celebration! –Sarah