house buying

Tips for Buying a Home with your Partner

In recent times, It is becoming increasingly common for young unmarried couples to prioritise buying a house before an engagement ring as rent prices in highly populated cities in Ireland are so expensive. Buying now rather than delaying home ownership makes sense for any unmarried couple.

While buying a house before getting married makes practical sense for many, it is also the biggest financial decision a couple can make. This is why it is extremely important to organise, plan and consider the logistics of entering a mortgage with your other half.

If we compare married couples versus unmarried couples, two people who are married are more protected when it comes to co-owning a house should their union dissolve. In the case of an unmarried couple, the law is less clear, and it can be difficult to break up the ownership of a house. To prevent misunderstandings, Flanagan & Co recommend following these three tips when entering the buying process with your partner:

1. Get a Co-Ownership Agreement
You may think having a contract is all you need when buying a home with your partner. However, it is critical that you also have a legally binding agreement that protects you financially should something go wrong. Remember, this is the largest financial decision you might ever take in your life! A Co-Ownership Agreement will cover who is contributing financially, the mortgage repayments and it will also address what happens if you sell the house or if your partnership dissolves.

2. Consider how your property is registered
Unmarried couples typically have 3 ways for registering title. One person can hold title as sole owner, or both can hold title either as joint tenants or as tenants in common. Holding the home as joint tenants means you and your partner own the property equally. Should one of you die, the other automatically becomes the owner of the deceased owner’s share. If you have a title that is tenants in common, this means that you and your other half will spell out what percentage of the property each of you holds. In this case, you would need to spell out what interest is passed on in a will or in a living trust. It is also possible for one person in the relationship to become a sole owner which can make sense in some instances, should the other person have a bad credit history or if one person is contributing the most to the mortgage repayments.

3. Protect yourself!
No matter how you decide to buy your home, it is always advisable to consult with an experienced solicitor first. This will ensure that you are knowledgeable and aware of the agreements and contracts associated with buying a new home. A solicitor will advise you on the best approach so that the title of your home reflects your current situation. Buying a home is one of the biggest milestones in people’s lives – we just want to ensure that should you choose to enter this milestone before you marry your partner, that you are protected and informed on the decisions you are making.

If you have any questions, feel free to reach out to us here at Flanagan & Co, where we have a team of highly skilled conveyancing solicitors.


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