Buying a Home as an Unmarried Couple
By Heath Myers
Attorney at Law
The decision to buy a home is an exciting one. Purchasing a first home is a major milestone in a person’s life and buying a home with your partner can be a bonding experience and a fun adventure to enjoy together. More often, we are seeing couples who want to achieve their dream of home ownership prior to marriage. While buying a home as soon as it is practical has its benefits, below are considerations and discussions that are important to have with your partner prior to making this potentially lifelong commitment.
Before sitting down with a prospective lender, have a discussion with your partner and set a realistic budget considering your income and expenses. You each should have a complete understanding of the other’s current income and existing debts and obligations. This information is used to determine with your lender whether it is more feasible to apply for your loan jointly, or, if one partner is more financially qualified than the other, to apply individually. If you choose for the individual with better credit to apply for the loan solely, both partners can enter into a written legal agreement for the non-borrowing partner to commit to sharing the monthly cost of the mortgage payment. It is also possible for both parties to appear on the Deed and Mortgage, even if only one party is on the lender’s Note.
After deciding whether you and your partner will apply for the loan jointly or individually, it is important to discuss who will be shown as the owners of the home on the Deed. If both partners are to be listed on the Deed, how they are listed is particularly important. The wording of the Deed impacts whether one partner can sell their ownership in the property to someone else without the other partner’s consent. The language in the Deed can also determine who inherits the property if one partner dies.
Although unmarried couples can buy a home together, consulting a knowledgeable real estate attorney is critical to ensuring the right legal agreements are in place and the Deed reflects ownership in a way that meets the goals of the owners. If you have questions about the purchase of residential real estate, contact any of the Real Estate attorneys at Morton & Gettys. We can help you navigate the legal issues to help you achieve your dream of home ownership.
Heath Myers is an attorney with Morton & Gettys Law Firm in Rock Hill, SC. He can be reached at (803) 366-3458 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Information or interaction on this page should not be construed as establishing a client-attorney relationship or as legal advice. For advice about your specific situation, please consult one of our attorneys.