Should you buy property with your partner?

There comes a point in many people’s lives when they decide they’d like to buy a house. And if they’re in a relationship at that time, they might decide to buy property with their partner. It’s likely that this decision won’t be an easy one. There’s so much to consider. But living together before getting married isn’t the scandal it once was. Not only has that become the norm but an increasing number of unmarried couples are choosing to buy property together.

Is that a wise choice? Is it a risky move or a practical one? Here are some tips for you to keep in mind.

The positives and the negatives

The overwhelmingly positive reason to consider buying property with a partner is that it’s more affordable than buying alone. Property is expensive. If you are two income earners who’ll be buying the property together, suddenly your repayments are cut in half. In fact, not all bonds are a 50/50 split. You could also enjoy a 70/30 split if you or your partner earns significantly more than the other. This doesn't mean you both don’t own the house. It just means that should you split up, you’ll find it far easier to split any profits. It’s important at this point to be clear on who is going to be responsible for which bill. Are you going to split costs down the middle? Are you going to divide them by the same ratio as that of your bond? Are you going to pay some of the bills and your partner the others? These are not easy conversations to have but they are very necessary.

The negative is the obvious. It’s the elephant in the corner of your newly-bought home. As much as you’d like to believe that you and your partner will be together forever, the reality is that statistics don’t quite support that sentiment. The good news, though, is a marriage certificate is also not a guarantee of a successful relationship. In fact, you have to sign far more documents when buying a home than when getting married, so it could be seen as an even bigger commitment.

But, if you do break up once you’ve purchased the property, things are going to be a little more complicated than splitting up your DVDs and books. You’ll need to decide not only how to divide the actual property but all of the furniture and appliances. Let’s face it, those aren’t cheap. You’re going to need to decide who gets the dishwasher, microwave, washing machine and fridge.

Advice you should consider

If you want to buy property together, it’s important that you treat this as more than just a show of love or a step in your relationship. This is a serious financial decision and one which will impact you for the rest of your life.

It’s important that you’re familiar with the laws of property and home ownership. This might be a good time to study law guides around buying and selling a house. These will be able to provide insight into what you can and can’t do during this important transaction.

Even if you are planning on sharing the property equally, a cohabitation agreement is important so you know what’ll happen to the property in case of a breakup. Relationships do end and things can get messy. It’s important that you have this signed document available to settle any disagreements. You need to be sure if you or your partner will continue living in the house. You need to know if you or your partner will be able to afford to buy the other out. Or are you going to sell the house and split any profits according to the ratio stipulated in your property agreement.

It might seem awkward to have these conversations with your partner but they are essential. If you’re mature enough to buy property together, then you’re mature enough to have this talk. This is your chance to make sure you and your partner are on the same page about buying the property and your future finances.

Buying a property with your partner isn’t as scary or risky as you might have thought. People are negative about this without really knowing all of the facts. It could even be considered a smart and practical choice. What is important is that you’ve come to an agreement and have the details in writing.

Buying a property can be a sound financial choice. Buying it with someone you love can make it an exciting adventure.

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