Buying A House Before Marriage May Not Always Be A Smart Move


Many couples in North Carolina decide to live together without getting married. While some of these couples choose to rent a house or apartment, others may decide to jointly buy a home. Unfortunately, buying a home with a non-spouse can be a risky financial move.

The desire to buy a home is understandable. Many people would rather apply their housing payments to home equity rather than their landlord’s bank account. However, unmarried couples who are living together often lack the kind of protections that the law provides to spouses. Should the cohabitating couple break up, sorting out what happens to the home as well as other entangled finances can be very difficult.

In addition, legal language used when drawing up a home sale contract may be different for a cohabitating couple versus a married couple. One partner may find him or herself taking on a greater burden of financial responsibility for the home, even though it is technically owned by both partners. It can also be difficult to sell the home without the consent of both parties after the couple splits. Family law addresses these conflicts for married people, but an unmarried couple may not have this kind of protection.

Individuals who are considering purchasing a home with a partner may benefit from speaking with an attorney. The lawyer may be able to make recommendations to the client regarding written agreements that address financial responsibilities and what should be done with the home if the couple breaks up. Having such a written agreement may help prevent a drawn-out financial struggle at the end a relationship.