Buying a home can be a fantastic investment, but it also comes with its fair share of responsibilities, obligations, and financial strains, especially if you’re considering purchasing a home with someone else. While it’s very common for married couples to purchase homes jointly, it’s also not uncommon for people to purchase homes with those they aren’t married to, though this does have pros and cons. Here are some helpful questions to ask yourself when considering buying a home with a significant other, friend, or relative.
How will you split costs?
The first (and perhaps most important) thing to consider when buying a home is budgeting your funds. How will you split costs with the co-owner? Before you even purchase the home, you will need to come up with the money for a down payment and closing costs. And from that point onward, you will have to cover property taxes, utilities, maintenance and other bills, and mortgage if needed.
Even though buying a home can be a good investment, navigating the costs along the way can be difficult. So you’ll want to make sure that you and your potential co-owner are on the same page about every expense going into the buying decision so that the costs don’t cause issues down the road.
As a reminder, there can be credit risks with owning a home with someone else, so be sure to have discussions of finances early on before you decide to buy. Because both of your names are on the mortgage, your credit score could fall if your co-owner is late on payments in any way. If possible, make sure you are purchasing a home in the most financially responsible way and you are both committed.
How do you hold title to the property?
While one person can hold the title alone, many people looking to purchase a home as an investment property prefer to both hold the title together.
Keep in mind that two or more people can hold title to a home as tenants in common, and the percentages of ownership don’t have to be equal. The two or more people who hold title do not have to be married or related in any way. Each person can also allocate their share of the home to an heir of their choice upon their passing, as well. Joint tenancy is more common among married couples than unmarried couples, but it is still an option for those who are unmarried or unrelated.
What happens if you your relationship ends?
If you purchase a home with a significant other, a relative, or friend, and your relationship eventually becomes, complicated, strained, or even ends, it can be difficult to decide if you will continue to own the home together, if one of you take full ownership, or if you will sell it.
For this reason, if you are unmarried and purchasing a home with someone else (whether it’s your partner, friend, family member, etc.), it’s recommended to draw up a legal document that details the process you will go through if your relationship ends in any way (or if one co-owner eventually may want to sell their share). As hard as it may be, it’s important and responsible to have these discussions early before you buy a home together so that you have a plan in motion should things fall through unexpectedly.
Buying a home is a big decision no matter who you decide to own it with, so consider these helpful tips in order to purchase your home as responsibly as possible. Your new home could be the biggest purchase you make in your lifetime, so be sure to make the decision with someone you trust who takes the purchase as seriously as you do. While it can be great to share the responsibilities of home ownership with someone else who can help alleviate the monthly costs, it’s also important not to rush the decision and take your time to make sure it’s the best step for you and your co-owner to take.
This post is intended for informational purposes only and should not be taken as professional advice. The point of view and opinions expressed in this post are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the position of Realty Executives International. This post was written by Bailee Abell. Bailee Abell is a writer born and raised in California. A graduate of University of California, Santa Barbara, she loves reading classic literature, sipping warm beverages, and visiting theme parks every chance she gets. Find her at baileeabell.com.