Homebuyers have a lot of work to do. They need to research properties in their area and think about neighborhoods that they’d like to live in. Many buyers start saving for the down payment on a house while they’re making lists of amenities and deciding what items will be brought with them when they move.
Some couples opt to purchase a home before getting married. This is becoming more common nowadays. However, things can become complicated if the couple decides to split up after the home sale transaction has been completed.
Buying a home in Tennessee can take time. The entire process may not be completed for several weeks or months. There may be unexpected delays or issues that occur.
Different people will also become involved in the matter along the way. You should still be able to achieve your goal of becoming with a homeowner. It just takes an open mind, patience and a good game plan.
Here are a few things that people can do if they choose to buy a house before marriage:
1. Get pre-approved for a mortgage loan.
One of the first things that many homebuyers do is to get pre-approved for a home mortgage loan. Your lender will review your employment and credit history. If approved, they will then issue a pre-approval letter that has the dollar amount and terms that they are willing to lend to you.
A pre-approval letter doesn’t guarantee that you’ll be able to buy the house that you want. However, it does give you a distinct advantage over other interested parties who haven’t secured their financing yet.
Most couples tend to apply for home loans together. People tend to have a better chance of being approved for a home loan when applying jointly as opposed to individually. You may want to review your income and expenditures before meeting with a lender.
If there are any unnecessary expenses, now is the perfect time to eliminate them from your budget. Any outstanding credit card or loan balances should be paid off or paid down as much as possible. The less debt you have, the more favorable you will look in lenders’ eyes.
2. Decide on your home ownership designation.
Homeownership is based on the names that are on the property deed. This document is used to transfer and record the necessary title paperwork for the transaction. Homeownership can be selected in the following ways for couples:
- Joint tenancy – Joint tenancy means that both people in the relationship own the house. Their names are on the property deed and each partner owns an equal share of the home. They’ll have to come to an agreement if the decision is made to borrow against the property or to sell the residence.
- Sole ownership – In sole ownership situations, one person in the couple legally owns the home. That person is the only one obligated to pay the mortgage payments and other expenses associated with the house. The owner can decide to sell the home or borrow against it whenever they want.
- Tenants in common – Tenants in common arrangements are where both people have a share in ownership of the home. These shares don’t necessarily have to be equal. For example, one person could have a 70 percent share and the other person could have a 30 percent share. Each person can opt to borrow against their share if they choose. If one of the tenants should pass away, their share will be transferred to their heirs. That share does not revert back to the other tenant.
3. Consider a cohabitation agreement.
A cohabitation agreement can protect both people in case the relationship ends or things go wrong. A real estate attorney can help you draft the agreement. It should include language that determines what happens to the home if the relationship terminates.
Responsibility for retaining or selling the home as well as specifying who receives what portion of the net proceeds if the home is sold should be included. The document should also list which person will be paying the monthly mortgage, utility bills and property taxes as well as specifying who will be in charge of the property’s maintenance and repairs.
4. Think about the tax responsibilities.
There are certain tax liabilities associated with owning a home. There are homeowners tax credits and capital gains taxes that may apply when the home has been sold. Deduction amounts vary depending on whether you’re filing your taxes as an individual, a married couple filing individually, or as a married couple filing jointly. You may want to discuss these and other related concerns with your accountant or tax attorney.
5. Find a home!
After you’ve figured out the financing and ownership details, you can relax and start looking at homes. Take as much time as you need to compare and contrast different houses and neighborhoods. Make a list of the amenities that you want and start attending open house showings. When you’re ready, you can make an offer on a home. The seller can either accept your offer, reject it or offer to negotiate. If the owner accepts the offer, a purchase agreement will be drawn up and you’ll be on the road to home ownership.
Although some couples decide to wait until after they’ve bought a house to determine the ownership. Tax information and financing, it’s a good idea to think of those things ahead of time.
They can save you significant time, effort and stress in the long run. They may not be easy subjects to tackle, but they are a necessary part of the homeownership process no matter when you work on them.
Some couples even decide to get married in their new home! It can be a great way to celebrate with family members and friends. Homeownership is a major life decision for many people, so don’t feel like you have to rush into it. You’ll be homeowners before you know it and will soon start making memories in your new house with loved ones for many years to come.