So you and your partner have been dating for some time and now you want to take that giant leap. I am not talking about getting married or having babies … I am talking about buying your first property together. Should you? Or shouldn’t you?
To tell you the truth, there isn’t a right or wrong answer to this question. I can only share with you the lessons I’ve learnt from buying four properties with my partner, and you need to use your head (not just your heart) to decide what works best for you.
10 tips for buying a property with your unmarried partner
1. Spend time living together; the longer the better. You need to determine if you are both compatible in a confined environment, and understand how each person deals with conflict. I wouldn’t buy a property with a person who is vengeful, argumentative, irresponsible and bad with managing money.
2. Ensure you share the same core values with your partner; this is the key to a long lasting relationship. If your values and future paths are not shared, then owning a property is not going to hold you together.
3. Split your property deposit and repayments equally and list all bills in joint names. Now I know this is not always possible, especially if one partner has a higher salary or is the stay-at-home parent, etc. But, IF possible, I would ALWAYS suggest you follow this tip as it limits power imbalances and stops one partner from saying “this is my house because I paid more money for it!”
4. Agree on the same property investment strategy. Are you a person who likes to buy and sell properties, or do you prefer to buy and hold onto your properties? How will you both earn money to pay for the property? A winning investment strategy only works if both partners are on the same page. If you can’t agree on an joint investment strategy, then it may be best to buy your properties separately.
5. Will your property be a family home or will it be an investment property? It’s crucial you both agree on how the property will be used. Managing a home and an investment property requires a different level of mental and emotional tolerance.
6. Make sure all the home ownership documents are under both names. At the time of buying our third property, I was not listed as a joint legal owner because my visa was expiring. However, we consulted with our solicitor to ensure that my name would be added to all the documents once my UK residency got approved.
7. What if you or your tenant falls behind on the repayments? You both need to have an agreed plan on how to deal with cash flow problems. If you cannot cover the cost of one partner or your tenant failing to pay rent for at least three months, then you need to consider whether you are financially ready to be a property buyer or investor.
8. What happens if you break up? Discuss this before you buy a property and not after your break up. When tempers and emotions soar, rationality often flies out the window when fighting for the property ownership.
9. Now in point 3, I stated that your finances should be split equally, but you should also have your own money to spend on yourself. Life is no fun if all your salary goes into the mortgage repayment. Take time to enjoy your life; you deserve it.
10. Be confident with your choice and accept the risks. My partner and I have been together for 10 years. We started buying properties together four years into our relationship. I believe we will be together forever, but the future cannot be predicted. However, I am confident with the choices I have made and am willing to accept the risks associated with buying a property with my unmarried partner (Note: After buying four properties and 10 years together, we finally got married on June 2017).
Please note, though I own a few properties, I am not a legal, financial or professional property expert. I’ve written this post to share my personal experiences and would love to hear your opinions and views.
So, have you bought a property with your unmarried partner or a friend? If so, what advice can you share with us?
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