Should You Buy A House Before Marriage?

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Are you an unmarried couple buying a house? If so, don’t worry because this situation occurs regularly, and there are three main concerns you need to address.

A Legal Agreement

Married couples don’t necessarily need legal agreements when they purchase property, because state laws cover a lot of eventualities, but if you are unmarried you should have a legal agreement between the parties. This will cover who owns what percentage, who is responsible for repairs, what both of you would like to happen in case one of you dies, who is responsible for the mortgage and other issues. Be sure to contact a good real estate lawyer in your state that can help you sort out the various scenarios that unmarried home ownership creates.

You Both Should Qualify for the Mortgage

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Banks and lending institutions will be more likely to lend loan money for an unmarried couple buying a house if both buyers can individually qualify for the loan. Two substantial incomes along with solid 700+ credit scores can pave the way for quick home ownership.

Note: If you do have trouble financing your home, be sure to consider alternative methods like MN contract for deed. A good contract for deed lender can sometimes look past issues like foreclosure and even recent bankruptcy in order to get you into a home. Contract for deed has its own set of requirements, but these can be less stringent than those of a traditional mortgage lender. And hey, if you do need some extra cash, check out the best survey sites and work to make a bit of extra money each month.

Title It Correctly

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There are two main ways to title your property. Married persons usually appear on the title as joint tenants. Rocket Lawyer tells us that:

Joint tenants (JT), or joint tenants with rights of survivorship (JTWROS), are the forms of ownership most commonly used by married couples. In general, this means that both parties own 100% of the property and there is no divided interest as there is with TIC (tenants in common) The “rights of survivorship” clause means that the property passes directly to the other party outside of the will. This is an excellent benefit to ensure that the property does not go through probate. Unlike TIC, however, one tenant cannot sell their interest in the property, because they have an undivided 100% interest. Any sale has to have the consent of both parties. Joint tenancy is not restricted to married couples, but if you choose this form, make sure you know what it means.

An unmarried couple buying a house would probably choose tenants in in common. Rocket Lawyer explains:

This means that each “owner” has the right to their interest (percentage) of the property, but to their interest only. For example, if you purchase a cabin with a business partner, and you put up 70 percent and he puts up 30 percent, you own 70 percent of the property. If anything happens to you, your 70 percent passes to your heirs, not to your partner or his heirs.

This arrangement is beneficial for unrelated parties, because you call the shots about who inherits your property. It may have to go through probate, but if you’ve left clear instructions about your wishes, it should not be a problem.

An additional benefit is that you can sell your share any time you want, without the consent or approval of your partner(s). You also have the right to mortgage, transfer, or assign your interest–and so do your partners.

As you can see, there are some complex issues to discuss with your legal team regarding proper structuring if an unmarried couple is buying a house, so again, make sure you get qualified legal advice as you proceed.

For more info, check out our blog here. Tons of awesome content that will help you in your home buying journey!