Purchasing a Home as an Unmarried Couple in Ohio - What to Watch Out For and How to Protect Your Purchase

If you are planning on purchasing a home with your significant other, there are a lot of factors that the two of you should consider.  The main factor would be figuring out what would happen with the home if the relationship goes sour.  You may also have some issues if one of you has bad credit, which you can read about here.  

How to Structure the Home Purchase

You should not purchase a home with someone with whom you are not sure if your relationship can withstand the test of time.  But even with a rock solid relationship, the unexpected does happen and it is best to plan for possible contingencies with home buying before you actually purchase the home.  

There are different ways to structure the home purchase and ownership depending on your needs and the needs of the relationship.  You would purchase the house differently depending on if you want your interest in the house to automatically pass along to your partner upon your death (and vice versa) or if you want to be able to designate who inherits your interest in the home through a will.  If one of you is in a profession that has a high personal liability risk, then you may want to protect yourselves by having the home be completely in the not-at-risk party's name.  But then if you have the house solely in one party's name for liability reasons (or bad credit reasons), then you will also want protection for the non-named party's investment in the property.  This can be taken care of through contracts drawn up to protect the party who makes significant improvements in the house and puts money towards the house but is not listed on the deed. The way in which you purchase the home will depend on the facts and circumstances of your particular situation.  

Non-Marital Cohabitation Agreements

You should have a plan in place in case of a breakup on who will keep the house, whether you will sell the house, and how the equity is divided or the contributions to home repair compensated in case of a break up. A contract can be drawn up between non-married persons who are seeking to purchase a home together.  The contract can be tailored to your unique circumstances and will get both you and your partner on the same page about things in case the worst case scenario happens and you break up.  The break up will be much easier if both of you already know what is going to happen with respect to the home.  A good home buying contract between non-married persons will provide for what party moves out in case of a break up (if only one party is on the deed - then that party would stay), the contract could provide that the home be sold in the instance of a break up, or the contract could provide how the contributions of the party who is moving out will be paid back.  If you are planning on purchasing a home with your significant other, contact an attorney at Harris & Engler to have a contract drawn up specifically for your needs so that the two of you can purchase the home with confidence that everything will be provided for in case of a break up later on.

How to Title a Home as an Unmarried Couple

Unmarried couples basically have three options when it comes to purchasing a home together.  They can purchase the home as Joint Tenants with Rights of Survivorship, Tenants in Common, or neither.  When purchasing a home together as an unmarried couple, you must decide if you want the property to automatically pass on to your significant other if you die; or if you want to be able to bequeth your share of the property to someone else through a will or trust.  You must also decide if you want to purchase the home together with equal or unequal shares of ownership.  You can read more about how you should title the home you are purchasing as an unmarried couple here.  
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