Should You Put A Ring On It Before Buying A Home?

Is it any riskier for unmarried couples to buy a house together than married couples? Umm, maybe, maybe not.

Laws governing property rights of unmarried partners can vary from state-to-state. However, in general the law isn’t as well-defined as it is for married couples. Real Estate lawyers admit that there are more complications for unmarried property owners than there are for married property owners, but that’s more about when the relationship ends.

Although it’s not a blissful subject unmarried partners should take extra precautions before they purchase a home by discussing the points below. It is advisable to consult your lawyer and/or financial adviser before purchasing a home. To be safe you may want to draw up a document that clearly states what will happen should you split for any reason.


• How will the title to the property be held — joint tenants, tenants in common or living trust?

• Should both names be on the mortgage?

• Should you enter into a legal “partnership agreement” before buying the property?

• How does domestic partner registration in our state affect property ownership?

• Should each person keep records of individual payments — and their proportion of the total — toward the mortgage, utilities, taxes and other expenses related to the property?

• If there is a break-up, how easily could the property be divided?

• If one partner died, how easily could the property be distributed?

There are some title types that come with consequences from a tax perspective.  Some states have restrictions on holding title, however, and one of those is that married couples only can hold community property, like a home.  Other ways to hold a title together without marriage include tenants–in–common, joint tenancy, and sole and separate ownership.

You will also need to discuss making a down payment together, and paying closing costs.  In these situations, most people make a fifty/fifty split of the costs.

Many people buy homes together and live happily ever after. If this is your dream, you can make it happen by thinking it through.

For more information on home buying and mortgages visit a Home Loan Consultant at Coors Credit Union. Also look into our RedSide First-Time Homebuyer Loan.


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