STEP CAREFULLY IF PURCHASING A HOME TOGETHER BEFORE MARRIAGE
Perhaps you and your partner are not married and have been renting a space together. But now you’ve decided that you want to jointly purchase a house. It’s called taking a relationship to the next level, and it is a very big step with many financial components to consider.
For example, how are you planning on paying the mortgage? And while you may love your partner dearly, are you truly informed about his or her financial situation? One way you can both get a better sense of your shared potential for successful homeownership is to compare credit reports.
Be aware that when seeking mortgage loans, married couples are viewed as a single unit, but unmarried couples are considered two individuals applying for a loan together. Thus, if either of you have credit issues, it could affect your ability to secure a loan.
If you are able to get a loan, you and your partner should sit down and carefully map out the manner in which you want to assign rights and responsibilities regarding mortgage payments, equity percentages, insurance and other aspects of your home ownership. You also want to create contingency plans that cover what should happen in case you decide to go your separate ways. In doing so, you set yourselves up to succeed regardless of what life brings.
If you are planning to get married, then a prenuptial agreement can stand as your plan. Likewise, if you only want to live together for the time being, you can craft a cohabitation or partnership agreement. In either case, an experienced family law attorney can help you nail down the details. The attorney will be able to advise you on what should be included in your agreement and help you write it in such a way as to make it legally viable should you ever have to go to court for a dispute resolution.