How An Unmarried Couple Buys a Home Together

  • November 7th 2023

by UrbanTurf Staff

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For many couples, the decision to buy a home together can be an exciting and meaningful step towards building a life together. While traditionally, purchasing property has been associated with marriage, an increasing number of unmarried couples are choosing to take this significant step together. In this article, UrbanTurf will explore the considerations and steps involved in buying a home with a partner when marriage isn't on the immediate horizon.

When unmarried couples buy a home together, they have a few legal options for how to structure the ownership. The two most common ways are "joint tenancy" and "tenants in common."

  • Joint Tenancy: This form of ownership means that both partners have equal ownership of the property. In the event that one partner passes away, the other automatically inherits the property.

  • Tenants in Common: This option allows partners to have unequal ownership percentages, and each person's share can be passed on to their heirs. It provides more flexibility in terms of how ownership is divided.

It is advisable to consult with a real estate attorney to understand the legal implications of each option and choose the one that best aligns with your individual circumstances.

A detailed financial plan outlining how costs such as the down payment, mortgage payments, property taxes, utilities, and maintenance expenses will be split should be created before the purchase moves forward. 

While no one wants to think about the end of a relationship, it's also important to have a plan in place for what happens if you and your partner decide to part ways. While there are well-established laws that govern property division for divorcing married couples from state to state, no such laws exist for unmarried couples. Consider scenarios like selling the property, one partner buying out the other's share, or renting out the property to cover mortgage costs.

Once you've settled on a property, it's essential to have a legally binding agreement put in place. This agreement should outline ownership percentages, financial responsibilities, and what happens in various scenarios (e.g., if one partner wants to sell, if one partner can no longer contribute financially, etc.).

Have an article topic that you want UrbanTurf to cover about something real estate-related? Email us at editor(at)urbanturf.com. 

This article originally published at https://dc.urbanturf.com/articles/blog/how_an_unmarried_couple_buys_a_home_together/21663.

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