Ignite FB Tracking PixelWhat You Need To Know About Buying A Home As An Unmarried Couple - Chris Heller
Chris Heller
Chris Heller, Keller Williams RealtyPhone: (800) 800-2978
Email: [email protected]
What You Need To Know About Buying A Home As An Unmarried Couple

by Chris Heller 04/07/2019

Unmarried couples often find themselves surprised at the additional steps it takes to buy a home compared to their wedded friends.

This guide will help you prepare for buying a home together as an unmarried couple:

Banks will assess you differently than they would a married couple.

Whereas they look at a married couple as a single financial unit, you and your partner will be assessed individually. This certainly has its pro’s and con’s. Know that if one partner has a significantly lower credit score it can affect your eligibility for a loan as a couple.  

Legal ownership of the title will be different.

Unmarried couples have three options when it comes to title ownership: sole ownership, joint tenants and tenants in common.

Tenants in common is the most popular. The difference between tenants in common and joint tenants is this:

  • In a joint tenancy ownership is 50/50. If one partner were to become deceased, ownership of their half of the property would carry over to the other partner.

  • Tenants in common ownership can be disproportionate to reflect each partners level of investment.  If one partner were to become deceased, their living trust would inherit ownership of their portion of the property if another option is not otherwise specified in their will.

  • Sole ownership is just that. One partner owns full legal ownership of the property. This option can have tax benefits and increase your financing eligibility if one partner has a higher income or better credit score than the other.

It’s highly recommended for unmarried couples to sign a property, partnership or cohabitation agreement when buying a home together. This is a legal precaution to safeguard both partners in the future should anything happen.

If your finances are separate it is ideal to at the very least create a joint checking account from which to draw the down payment and mortgage installments. This is especially true if both partners are contributing to these payments. It create a clean, clearcut payment process each month.

Know each other's finances.

Discuss your credit scores, debt burden, savings, investments and financial goals. Get clear on where you each stand and how these factors will influence your buying process. Create a budget together as a couple to ensure you can take on not just the responsibility of a mortgage payment but also closing costs, homeowners insurance, property taxes and maintenance costs. Plan for savings like retirement, nest egg, family planning, future vacations, and emergency funds.

Buying a home together as an unmarried couple is a different process than that of married couples. However, that doesn’t mean it has to be harder. With an understanding of what to expect ahead of time and a plan in place, the process can be a smooth one.


About the Author

Author
Chris Heller

Chris Heller has built one of the most successful real estate teams in the United States. From his selection as Rookie of the Year in 1989 to being the top-producing agent in San Diego County and the #1 Keller Williams associate in all of North America, Chris has earned the respect of colleagues and clients for the exceptional results he delivers.

Under Chris' leadership, the Chris Heller Team has sold literally thousands of homes. In fact, he has sold more than 100 homes a year every year for the past two decades. During a five-year stretch of one of the most challenging real estate markets in history, his sales volume totaled more than $450 million.
Chris has succeeded in a highly competitive marketplace through his leadership, drive and ability to assemble and empower high-performing teams. The specialized members of the Chris Heller Team provide unrivaled market knowledge and client service.

Chris also serves as the owner and operator of several Keller Williams market centers and has helped build Keller Williams into one of the largest and fastest growing real estate franchise operations in the world. In 2011, Chris was asked to lead Keller Williams Worldwide. Under his leadership, Keller Williams has expanded into more than a dozen countries, including Dubai, Indonesia, Mexico, Portugal, Turkey, South Africa, the United Kingdom and Vietnam. Chris' deep connections to real estate leaders throughout the world provide his clients with a unique global perspective and exposure to international buyers and sellers.