Getting a mortgage together before you are married is a very bold, un-wise idea. Backed by excuses in the form of rationalization, a young couple wanting to purchase a home together will be quick to explain to you why it makes sense for them. Here are a just a few of the reasons that buying a house before walking down the aisle is a horrible idea.
Marriage makes things easy in terms of dividing assets, as there are set documents in place in the event of a divorce. The spouses do not have to worry and think about every possible event that might come up and how they will handle it. If you aren’t married, however, you can still get a written partnership or, cohabitation agreement drawn up. However, you are going to have to hire attorneys (note: you should each have your own). This agreement will protect you both from costs and legal fees if the cohabitation falls apart. Lawyers are not cheap, and to get a very detailed, precise cohabitation agreement will cost you a few thousand dollars.
The next most obvious reason buying a house together without a marriage license is a bad idea is that you could break up today, tomorrow, or in an hour. Then what? Who gets the house? What if one party can’t afford to buy out the other, but doesn’t have the money to get a rental at the moment? Do they just stay and continue living together post-breakup? How are bills split? These are things that you have got to think about.
Another great reason to avoid buying a home together is the title. How you title the house will decide what happens to your share of the home not only if you sell, but also should you die. If you die and your partners name is on the title, for example, your share is going to go to him. Not to your sister or favorite niece. Basically, it will mean that you have no legal rights to anything regarding the house.
Speaking of death, should your partner die, you’ll be stuck paying his or her half of the mortgage; what if you can’t make both payments? If you purchased the house together, it is likely that you needed both of your incomes in order to be able to afford it. You must think proactively when it comes to this situation.
In short, buying a home together before a wedding is not a good idea, and it will probably be hard for you to find a family member or friend who will disagree. Should you decide you want to go this route, please consult with a real estate attorney!