Buying A Home Out Of Wedlock

It is becoming more common for people to buy a home before marriage. Many people want to take steps to set down roots, and when two people buy a house together, they could qualify for a larger loan. From a legal perspective, is it a good idea to buy a home with your boyfriend or girlfriend? If you do, you must take the proper steps to protect yourself. For example, imagine you’re in love with your significant other. You give your boyfriend or girlfriend thousands of dollars toward a down payment. Additionally, you pay money every money that goes toward the mortgage.

What happens if the relationship ends? If your name isn’t on the deed, then they can have you evicted regardless of how much money you have given. Has this happened? Absolutely, and this is why you need to proceed cautiously and deliberately.

Things to Consider 

There are laws in NY that extend to married couples when they buy a home. For instance, if one of them passes away, the other has the right of survivorship; they will inherit the house. Rights of survivorship can be applied to people who are not married, but there must be specific language on the deed that states it. When two people have a joint tenancy, they own the property equally. Not only will one person inherit the home if the other passes away, but neither person can sell it without the other’s permission. 

You must also understand the risks associated with sole ownership. This is when only one person’s name is on the deed (like the scenario we outlined in the first section). People may enter into this arrangement when their credit score is too low for them to apply for a home loan. The person’s boyfriend or girlfriend takes out a loan and then purchases the home in their own name. Even if you contribute financially, you are a guest in that home. If the relationship ends and you are asked to move out, you will likely have to do so. When the boyfriend or girlfriend sells the house, they are not required to share the profits with you. 

A pitfall that some people fall into is that they enter into a sole ownership situation with the hope that they will eventually be added to the deed. However, this is more challenging than it may appear, and you should speak with an attorney if this is something you want to do. When you closed on the home, the person responsible for the loan signed a Note. This is their promise to pay back the money they borrowed. Additionally, the lender will have them sign a significant amount of paperwork. Specific language may state the consequences of adding someone to the deed. For instance, you could be subjected to transfer taxes. There is also the possibility that the lender could call in the loan. 

Protect Yourself by Speaking with an Attorney 

As a firm with significant experience with real estate and family law, we understand your home’s importance to you. It is your most important asset, and we never want it to be taken from you. Before you buy a home with your boyfriend or girlfriend, make sure you understand your level of ownership in it. If you are getting divorced, contact us so we can ensure you receive what is rightfully yours. Your first consultation is free, and we look forward to working with you.

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Andrea L. Gamalski Attorneys at Law

Andrea L. Gamalski understands how important it is to have a compassionate and empathetic family law attorney who fights hard for their clients in the courtroom–mainly because she’s been one of these clients herself.

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