If you’re in a committed relationship but nuptials are on the back burner, your dream of buying a home doesn’t have to be.
Sixteen percent of first-time homebuyers in 2017 were unmarried couples, according to an annual report by the National Association of Realtors, the highest share the organization has recorded since 1981.
Many couples don’t realize how risky buying a home with an unmarried partner can be, however, there are precautionary steps couples can take to mitigate these potential issues. Here’s how to deal with these risks using some planning, a good lawyer and a slightly awkward conversation or two.
- Sign a prenup for the home. Renee Bergmann, a real estate attorney and owner of Bergmann Law in Westmont, N.J., says couples must have a conversation about potentially breaking up if they want to be co-homeowners. Using help from a legal professional, she says coupled clients should establish a co-ownership contract before closing day. Do not “wait and see what happens”—without a written agreement, Bergmann says, things could get messy very quickly.
- Choose the right title. Ownership titles are different in various states, but usually these titles include: sole ownership (one person has the full ownership), joint tenancy (a 50-50 split ownership, with one tenant’s share transferring to the other in the case of death), and tenants in common (allows unequal ownership, such as a 75-25 split). All three approaches have pros and cons, but Bergmann says your clients should consider revising the deed to reflect their new legal status, using a “quitclaim deed,” if they decide to get married after buying.
- Leave parents out of it. Younger couples often get their parents involved during the stressful homebuying process and final transaction. But doing so may cause more confusion, so it may be best to leave the parents at home, says Danielle Moy, an agent with Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage in Orland Park, Ill. When parents show uncertainty about the situation, it causes “a bit of an emotional roller coaster when they’re looking at homes,” according to Moy. The chosen home and the final decision will ultimately be left in the clients’ hands, Moy says, so be sure to help your partnered clients become aware of what they can agree on and what they want for their homeowning future.
The Opland Group Specializes in Real Estate Sales, Luxury Home Sales, Short Sales in; Bexley 43209 Columbus 43201 43206 43214 43215 Delaware 43015 Dublin 43016 43017 Gahanna 43219 43230 Grandview Heights 43212 Hilliard 43026 Lewis Center 43035 Marysville 43040 43041 New Albany 43054 Pickerington 43147 Powell 43065 Upper Arlington 43220 43221 Westerville 43081 43082 Worthington 43235