Unmarried couples buying homes

On Behalf of | Nov 16, 2017 | residential real estate

People who purchase a home are undertaking a significant financial commitment. If they decide to become a homeowner with someone to whom they are not married, they should be aware of the risk it carries.

When married couples who own a home decide to get a divorce, there are protective laws with regard to the dividing assets, including the home. There are no legal protections in place for unmarried individuals who purchased a home together and have decided to go their separate ways.

Despite the risks it presents, according to a 2013 study, 25 percent of unmarried millennial couples purchased living dwellings together. Factors such as steadily increasing rents, mortgages with low rates, the tax break that comes with deducting property taxes and mortgage interest, and the fear of not being able to afford a home in the future have all contributed to the trend. However, there are some issues that these couples should address before jumping into homeownership together.

One matter that has to be resolved is how the costs will be divided. In addition to the submitting a down payment and covering closing costs, there are also utilities and taxes to consider as well as expenses related to maintenance and repair. It is often difficult to have those financial obligations divided precisely in half.

The title of the property is another issue that should be addressed. One party can have their name on the title, or both parties can hold the title as tenants in common. However it is done, each situation has its own complications.

An attorney who practices real estate law may assist individuals who want to purchase a new home. The attorney may be able to help resolve issues regarding zoning or titles. Additional legal services might include a review of contract terms and assistance with real estate closings.