Often the next logical step in a committed relationship is to buy a house with your partner. Unfortunately, it takes more than love to buy a home successfully. If the happy life you want to build with your partner includes a new home, there are a few critical discussions you should have before you start actively looking at houses.
Couples should discuss some critical points before purchasing or even looking at homes. It would be best if you had a plan for the following:
- How will ownership be split?
- What is the best way to title the property? Will it protect both parties?
- How will we split costs? You will likely have upfront costs, monthly fees, as well as repairs and improvements.
- What will happen if one person wants out?
- What happens if one of you dies?
- Will the mortgage be in one name or both?
- Is debt an issue? Debt load will impact your buying power when you apply for lending.
- What location and how long will you be there? You should have a general idea of what area you want to live in and how long you’ll stay. If you’re unsure of what region, list what you want and need from the neighborhood. Your agent can help you with narrowing down locations.
- Do you anticipate a significant change in the future? These could be a major job change, having children, or becoming caretakers of an aging family member. It’s essential to list the possibilities now so that you can stay long enough in the home to recoup the costs associated with the purchase.
- What happens if we break up? It can be an uncomfortable conversation, but it’s crucial to talk about what happens if the relationship ends. To protect both parties and to prevent potential future aggravation, I suggest having a legal agreement drawn up that outlines how your assets should be divided in case of a break-up.
Buying a home is often one of the most important financial transactions in your life. A bit of planing in the beginning can save you from huge headaches later on.