Breegan Jane Reveals the No. 1 Mistake Couples Make Buying a House
The designer Breegan Jane helps couples achieve two challenging feats at the same time: pay for a wedding, and buy a house.
Jane, who starred in HGTV’s “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition,” is hosting a new Discovery+ show that premiered in June, “The House My Wedding Bought,” where she teaches couples that it’s entirely possible to budget for both at once.
But it’s definitely not easy—which is why we sat down and had a candid talk with Jane about the biggest mistakes couples make, and her best advice for anyone hoping to buy a house, whether they’re flying solo or partnered up.
Did you have a memorable experience budgeting for a home and wedding?
Yes. When I got married, I also decided to purchase a home. I also had a remodeled home, under construction, that I had planned to be my first home flip. And at the same time, my son was born—three months after my wedding day!
I learned so much about balancing it all and making choices about things I wanted. Looking back, I’m very happy with how I budgeted, although there are some things I might have done differently to save, here and there.
But I have no regrets, because the lessons were invaluable. I use them to help guide new couples each week on the show. Plus, I got amazing hands-on experience with real estate and enjoyed the intimate beach wedding I wanted. All wins!
Why is it so important for a couple to make a home investment together?
When you choose to live and make a life together, you’re ultimately trying to create “home” in all aspects of your union. Buying and choosing your first home as a couple, whether it’s a small apartment or million-dollar mansion, is the first step to creating that new life. Your togetherness will exist in whatever four walls you pick, so it’s important to decide together what space and elements will best facilitate nurturing the life you want to have as a family.
Houses are expensive these days. What are the best ways to cut your home budget?
Stop trying to achieve perfection!
A home is something you can grow into slowly, over time. Most people feel like they have to move into the perfect home. But one of the best parts about being a new couple is creating that perfection together—not necessarily paying for it upfront.
That could mean replacing a countertop that you don’t prefer or tile that isn’t to your liking. Handles, paint colors, flooring, you can easily change those things yourself. Consider the things you won’t be able to change, like the neighborhood you want to raise kids in, or the functionality of the space layout in a home. Those things matter more. I’ve seen too many couples settle for undesired neighborhoods or longer commutes to work because they loved small accents in a home. That’s not the wisest way to think.
Do you have any tips for setting your home-shopping budget?
Couples should be extremely honest with themselves about their budget, and realistic about financial preparation for life’s circumstances. Most people plan for what they’re willing to spend without preparing for the “what ifs” in life. People lose jobs. Medical emergencies happen. Those potential circumstances should be considered, especially in budgeting for home purchases. Don’t fall into a bad decision because you want “more” in a home.
Do you have tips for new couples who are home shopping together?
Be willing to compromise, but don’t compromise on everything. Think about the two or three nonnegotiable line items you want for the home and for the wedding. Then, honor the few absolute nonnegotiables your spouse wants. Allow each other those things, and let everything else go.
How do you know you’ve found the right house?
Couples should see and feel themselves in the space. Finding a new home is like finding your perfect mate: When you know, you know. You feel it. You can easily see a future in it. Be open to that feeling if a home checks off the two or three nonnegotiables.
What’s the most common mistake couples make when buying their first house together?
Couples tend to pick homes with their eyes, and that can be deceiving sometimes. They love the bathroom, the backsplash, or some shiny feature. But those things can blind them to bigger considerations they shouldn’t look past, such as the home layout or use of functional space.
I’m a huge proponent of owning land if it’s in the budget. I’ve worked with couples who have had money in their budget to buy a nice fixer-upper home with a beautiful yard that could potentially have a greater property value in the future. I encourage couples to think beyond the moment, because most do not.
Can you share your favorite episode?
I loved the episodes where we got to see their weddings. Our shooting schedule didn’t allow us to see all of the couples get married, unfortunately. But it was always fun for me to see the culmination of love and visit the homes the couples picked. Those were the most rewarding parts of the show for me.
The housing market has been crazy since the pandemic, making it a difficult time to buy a house. Do you have any tips for couples looking to buy this year?
Don’t be overly stressed about the market’s lows and highs. The market will change and flow forever. If you’re making good financial decisions within your budget and moving into home ownership, that will be rewarding regardless of where the market is. You’ll never regret buying a house.
Source: Jillian Pretzel (Realtor.com)