At one time couples always tied the knot before buying a home together. Today, buying a home is something that couples do both before or after getting married – there’s no real norm.
Either way, homeownership as a couple is a big step. A lot has to be considered, and both people need to be on the same page in a lot of ways to make the experience positive. Let’s take a look at some ways the scenario differs depending on whether or not you’ve gotten married.
Buying a Home Together Before Marriage
Prefer to invest your money in a home rather than a wedding? The Millennial generation is making home buying before marriage a regular thing. Today, the median age for first marriage is 30 years old, but many couples don’t want to wait that long to start building wealth by owning real estate.
If you’re in that group here are a few things to consider before your home search begins.
It’s a life-changing experience that can bring you closer to getting married.
Buying a home together shows a serious commitment to the relationship. Even though it can get stressful, many couples see it as a natural step towards getting married.
Have a discussion about finances first.
Regardless of how you split the bills, both people on the loan are going to be responsible for the mortgage. Who will pay what has to get worked out before buying a home. You may want to have a real estate lawyer draw up an agreement just to err on the side of caution.
Marital status won’t affect your loan.
When two people buy a house together the mortgage company is going to underwrite each person separately. That means your interest rate and qualification is the same regardless of marital status.
A split up could complicate ownership.
To be fair, a divorce would also complicate matters, but there are state laws and protections that make the outcome more predictable for married couples. Not having legal obligations could be a benefit or a drawback. Typically, if a break up occurs one person has to buy out the other, or the home has to be sold and the proceeds split.
Type of title is important.
The title designates ownership of a property, and for unmarried couples, it can get complicated. If you want ownership to pass to the other person in the event of a death you’ll need to select joint tenancy with rights of survivorship.
Buying a Home Together After Marriage
If you decide to wait until after a wedding to buy a home you’re in the majority. TD Bank’s annual Mortgage Service index found that 74% of homebuying couples are already married. The Urban Institute has also found that marriage increases the likelihood of homeownership by 20%.
The following factors often come into play when you buy a home after getting married.
You’re probably already sharing financial responsibilities.
After marriage, most couples merge their finances if they haven’t already. This makes homeownership a lot easier since financial responsibilities are already shared.
You’ve already made a serious commitment.
Marriage is a lifelong commitment. Even longer than a 30-year mortgage. If you can take the plunge into marriage a mortgage isn’t as intimidating.
You have safer title options as a married couple.
The title of the property is affected by whether or not a couple is married. State law may determine whether married couples hold title as community property or as tenants in entirety. Regardless, a surviving spouse has reassurance. Typically, if one spouse passes away the other takes full ownership.
Homeownership can strengthen the bonds of marriage.
Realtor.com notes that 80% of married couples say buying a home strengthens their relationship like no other purchase.
Ultimately, the factors that go into deciding whether to buy a home before or after marriage is unique for each couple. Married and unmarried couples can get help finding new home plans and communities and at myHouseby.com. myHouseby takes the stress out of the home building so couples can enjoy the experience together.