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Should newlyweds buy a house?

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Realtors usually keep track of reputable mortgage brokers in your area, so be sure to ask your agent for recommendations. And ask if your Realtor is getting any kind of referral fee for the suggestion. In many states, it's illegal for Realtors to do so.

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Focus on getting the best mortgage interest rates and terms you can. But both Patrick and Bernard recommend steering clear of interest-only loans, which are often suggested to younger buyers.

In fact, the National Association of Realtors, or NAR, recently created a publication, "Shopping for a Mortgage? Do Your Homework First," that warns against these kinds of predatory loans. To download a copy, go to www.realtor.org and search for "specialty mortgage."

Once you've got your mortgage, don't worry if you get a letter that your loan has been transferred to another financial institution.

"Mortgages are financial commodities that are sold and traded all the time," says Patrick. "The terms of your loan won't change, no matter who buys it."

6. Discuss your timeline.
How long after your wedding you wait before buying a house is a decision that only the two of you can make. Patrick likes the idea of waiting a year after the wedding and giving yourself time to adjust to your new life together.

"On the list of life's most stressful events, getting married -- even though it's a happy occasion -- is right up there. So is buying a house. Are you sure you want both of those stressors within your first year together?" he asks.

Patrick also is in favor of sharing a rented or previously purchased home for a while before you commit to a new house together. That way, you have time to decide whether you really can share a sewing room/computer room, how much closet space you need and whether a small kitchen is fine (just one of you cooks) or you need a little more elbow room for the gourmet creations you whip up together.

Bernard, the Realtor, disagrees.

"In my experience, couples are pretty quickly in synch about what they want in a house -- it doesn't change after they get married," she says. "For instance, you may like to entertain, need room for visiting family members, or not. You know that pretty quickly. Plus, most younger couples buy a different home in three to five years anyway. Their first home is usually not their forever home."

7. Think twice about becoming a landlord.
If one or both of you already owns a condo or home, don't assume you should live in one and rent out the other. Think about it.

"Renting out a property is a whole other issue. Most people I've known who have tried to be landlords hated it," says Patrick. Also, not every home or condo makes a good rental property.

"If a couple can, I really advise them to start their together space fresh, rather than living in a previously purchased home," Bernard says. "And, in fact, that's what most of my clients end up doing."

Bankrate.com's corrections policy -- Posted: April 3, 2007
 
 
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