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Titling a home owned with a partner

On Behalf of | Nov 15, 2017 | Residential Real Estate

Delaware residents who buy a house with a spouse may have legal protections. However, those who buy a home with someone they are not married to may not have many options if something goes wrong. According to a 2013 study from Coldwell Banker, roughly 25 percent of millennial couples owned a home together. Low mortgage rates and tax advantages were among reasons cited for making such a decision.

One issue that those living together will need to resolve is how to handle the cost of owning a home. It is rare that costs can truly be split 50/50, and it may be necessary to determine that repairs or other housework have a monetary value. The couple may also need to decide who holds the title. If only one person holds the title, the other will essentially pay rent even if both call the house their home.

It may be possible to hold a home as tenants in common, but this may cause problems if one partner dies. This is because his or her share passes to that person’s heirs. Those heirs may be able to force a sale of the home after which the proceeds would be split based on how ownership was divided. If a couple opts for joint tenancy, ownership of the home passes directly to the surviving partner when the other dies.

Prior to buying a home with a partner, it may be a good idea to discuss deed or title issues either privately or with an attorney. This may make it easier to determine who owns the property and how much of an ownership interest each person may have. An attorney may also be able to review any agreements an unmarried individual makes prior to buying property with a partner.