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Factors to Consider When Buying a Home as a Couple

A study conducted by an agency a few years ago reported that 58% of home buyers are couples who are married while 1% comprises of unmarried couples. Many unmarried couples purchase homes to build equity and avoid rent payment. They need to decide whether one partner should purchase the home or they should purchase it jointly.

Home buying is probably one of the largest investments that most adults make and it’s always better to consider all legal and financial angles before making a purchase as a couple. It is advisable for the couple to discuss all issues openly and clarify the contributions of each partner towards down payment, utilities, mortgage, and maintenance of the property.

Going in for an agreement related to the home buying partnership will help in protecting the interests of both partners.

Down Payment

Because of the financial crisis in recent times, most banks require bigger down payments for home purchases – sometimes even 20% of the total value. Banks often insist that the down payment be made from the money earned by homebuyers; and incomes from sources like gifts or inheritance are not acceptable. If a couple is jointly buying a house and can afford a bigger down payment, they might be eligible for better terms.

Mortgage

Sometimes couples decide to procure a mortgage loan based on a single income when a partner is unemployed, ill, or has a poor credit rating. When the mortgage is in a single partner’s name, better deals are often possible. However, some lenders may insist that both homebuyers be included in the mortgage deed. Also, the partners may prefer the security of including both names and taking joint responsibility for repayment.

Title

It is of utmost importance to have a clear title to a home. This expresses the details of legal ownership along with the method of property transfer if either partner passes away. Couples who are married can automatically get title and rights under certain circumstances. However, unmarried couples need to specify this matter clearly so that the living partner’s rights are protected.

Usually unmarried couples hold title as tenants in common or joint tenants. If a single partner is named on the title or mortgage, the other might have very few rights if the named partner dies or the couple splits. These things should be decided before buying the house.

Home Buying Partnership Agreement

For unmarried couples, it is important that all financial agreements be put in writing to protect both partners’ interests. A knowledgeable real estate lawyer could make a partnership agreement for home buying which clarifies the handling of finances. This agreement includes the contribution of each partner towards down payment, mortgage installments, maintenance, and repairs.

Additionally, this agreement should identify the equation if the partners decide to part ways. Make sure to include factors such as who keeps the home if there’s a split, the listing agent selection procedure, the way the selling price will be determined, and the manner in which sale proceeds will be divided and action to be taken if the home doesn’t sell for long.

Whether you are part of a couple, you are married, or you are single, the value of the home that you ultimately decide on is essential for you to know. You can rely on Neighborhood IQ for a detailed home value report absolutely free!

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