Buying a Home before You Ger Married : Should You Wait until after the Wedding

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Before my husband and I were married, we bought our first home together. I say “together,” but I really credit him with saving up the $6,000 or so we needed as a down payment on the $160,000 starter home.

I would’ve been content to keep living in our three-bedroom luxury apartment; I was so unfocused on buying a home at that stage in my life. After all, we were still around 28 years old. I’m so grateful we were blessed to buy that home, however, and others since that time.

The Top 5 problems People Face When trying to Buy a Home

 

SHOULD YOU BUY A HOME BEFORE YOU GET MARRIED?

Once we moved into our new home together, I’d heard it through the grapevine that the woman across the street had criticized the fact that we were living together. It wasn’t due to her having a belief about living together without the benefit of marriage being non-ideal (something I’ve learned to believe in now) but she was more concerned about the financial and legal aspects of living together unmarried.

I wanted her to mind her own business. I knew my man and I were committed to one another, and thankfully, we stayed together, got married and had kids.But what about those concerns of buying a home when you’re not married to your mate?

THE CAREFUL CONVENIENCE OF BUYING A HOME BEFORE YOUR NUPTIALS

Although lots of couples buy homes these days before they get married because they find it more convenient to do so – or even share rent expenses just to defray the cost of existence – experts warn about taking the plunge without the legal documents that marriage provides.

Some simply want to have their homes ready to move into when they return from their honeymoon. A matter of home and furnishing styles come into play as well. With my husband and I, we benefitted in terms of common tastes, because both of us preferred modern houses with a minimalist sort of styling. It helps if you like the same types of homes to make the process go smoother.

For example, if the wife is all into French country with a lot of ruffles and light and airy colors while the husband is into a sleek bachelor style of black lacquer, that could be a problem.

Also, it helps to both fall in love with the same surroundings, like when both of us grew to love the quiet peace of suburban atmospheres – with the predictable drone of lawnmowers and snow-blowers acting as background noise on the weekends.

Or perhaps you’re both city folks, who prefer the noisy party atmosphere and hustle and bustle of a busy metropolis. As long as you both are attuned to the spot you love, it makes it easier.

Pricing, of course, is also an additional concern. You don’t want McMansion tastes with a tenement budget.

THE VARIOUS WAYS OF HOLDING TITLE

It matters a great deal the way you hold title in the home, especially when you’re not marred. Titles matter when someone dies, and even matters in terms of taxes. Consult a lawyer to learn your individual state’s laws – because in some states, only married couples are allowed to hold title as community property, so this is an issue of utmost concern.
The three most common ways to hold title are as joint tenants, tenants in common, or sole and separate.

HOW ARE YOU GOING TO PAY FOR THE DOWN PAYMENT AND MONTHLY MORTGAGE?

Decide on who is going to pay what, whether you’re married or not. Like I said, my husband came up with the full $6,000 down payment for our first home from saving his earnings.

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Later, by the time we’d married and I’d had time to save funds, I used $25,000 from my lump-sum distribution from my 401(k) plan to put towards the down payment on a $320,000 home we purchased in California.
In cases like this, couples can assign how much of a percentage and base ownership their income has contributed to the down payment of the home and mortgage payments. Some couples decide to pay a 50-50 split, while others have arrangements based on whose income is greater.

Many cases might reflect my own household workings, with my husband paying the mortgage just like my dad paid the mortgage on my childhood home while growing up. My mom paid for other incidental bills: credit cards, groceries, etc.

Other home situations, whereby the wife might make the lion’s share of the income, may use more of a design whereby the money is pooled into one account and used accordingly, without much emphasis on the percentage splits. Do what works for you as a couple.

MAKING DECISIONS ON YOUR MORTGAGE TOGETHER

Another big decision when entering into a mortgage decision as a couple is to figure out your level of risk and reward. My husband always preferred the safety of fixed-rate mortgages – and oh my God, I surely thank him for not signing us up for one of those wild adjustable-rate ARM mortgages all these years later.

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Of course, some people can also choose from FHA loans, VA loans and all sorts of hybrid mortgages as well, so do your research before signing on the dotted line.

THINKING OF WHAT COULD GO WRONG

Yeah, I never liked to think of what could go wrong when making the leap of buying a home together before marriage. And thankfully, I didn’t have to worry about it.
Pundits advise couples to decide what they would do if something did go wrong, and to enter into agreements that would cover such situations.

If you broke up, who would keep living in the house? Who would move out? Would you simply sell it and for how much?

No one likes to think of these things, but it’s best to try and cover all angles when emotions and home-buying are tied together.

Tag : buying a home , buy a home , buy homes

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Buying a Home before You Ger Married : Should You Wait until after the Wedding
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