Gift giving is an art form, especially when you add in the element of surprise and, say, a $4 million dollar contract. Such was the case for Motasem Khashoggi, a lawyer who wanted to surprise his wife for their 20th anniversary with a 17th-floor condo at The Carlyle Residences in Westwood. His story was one of many pointed out by a recent article, What Happens When Your Husband Buys a House Without Telling You, published by the Wall Street Journal, and even came with a happy ending: his wife was moved beyond words when he handed her the keys. Yet not everyone gets their happily ever after.Screen Shot 2014-11-21 at 10.35.23 PM

Whether a brownstone in South Carolina or an apartment on Manhattan’s Upper East Side, secretly purchasing a home comes with risk—much more than surprising her with a piece of jewelry or spontaneous trip. If you’re thinking of taking the real estate plunge for that special someone, here are a few guidelines to consider:

Most importantly, have a clear idea of your partners tastes and preferences, including what kind of lifestyle they want to lead outside the home. Experienced agents also witnessed that if a home is a fixer-upper rather than a turnkey, it has a better chance of surviving that “aha” moment. Perhaps this is because the couple can still dream up and collaborate on how their finished home will look instead of every detail being finalized from the get-go. In addition, agents noticed that success is more likely with vacation getaways than it is for private home. Lastly, well-intentioned spouses should let their significant others in on the secret before the deal is final. You’ll thank us later.

Read the full article here.