Do’s and Don’ts of buying a home with your partner

Buying your first home with your partner is an exciting time and you’re likely spending all your weekends going to open homes, scrolling Instagram for décor ideas, and trying to find the ideal neighbourhood.

However, with all the fun and excitement, don’t forget this is a huge financial decision, and sometimes, life doesn’t always work out the way we plan.

It might sound boring, but there are a few do’s and don’ts to nail down before signing on the dotted line for that perfect home.

Do:

  • Be open and honest with each other about the commitment. A mortgage can be a 30-year financial commitment. What happens if one of you loses your job? Or takes time off to care for children?
  • Seek professional financial advice. Everyone has different ideas about money – how much to save, how much to spend, etc. Talk it through with someone who knows what they’re talking about.
  • Have an exit strategy – if something happens, will one person sell their share to the other? Or will you both sell up and walk away?
  • Avoid impulsive and emotional decisions. That fixer-upper looks charming now, but the renovations could cost more than you realise.

Don’t:

  • Assume you’re on the same page when it comes to managing money.
  • Don’t forget to consider all your financial obligations – is the property in both your names, or just one? Is one person putting in 60 per cent of the deposit, and the other 40 per cent?
  • Don’t neglect the paperwork. A financial agreement written up before purchasing your home can go a long way to sorting out any future issues.

Ways to own a home: joint ownership vs tenants in common.

Joint tenants mean both of you own 50 per cent of the property, regardless of how much each of you put into the deposit.

A tenants in common agreement will consider your different deposit amounts, and split property ownership accordingly.

However, buying as tenants in common still means you are jointly responsible for the loan and if the relationship breaks down, tenants in common largely becomes irrelevant, as family law comes into play.

Family law will consider contributions towards the home, assets you own together, future needs and earnings.

Experts often recommend couples have a binding financial agreement drawn up. The written document is drawn up by a lawyer and sets out how your assets will be divided if you decide to split.

There are different types of binding financial agreements, but in the case of property ownership, it can outline who will pay the mortgage and what will happen if you divide the property.

This can be a complex area of law, and it’s important you get the right advice. If there is a future change in the relationship or the relationship comes to an end, we can provide advice in relation to financial matters and assist with the process of property division.

Phone our office on:  (07) 3206 8700 or email: info@bimalaw.com.au to make an appointment.

 

 

 

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