Metro: Buying a home with a partner

ended 06. July 2021

A journalist at the Metro is looking for experts to give advice on how to make your finances water-tight when buying a house with a partner. Also just general tips on how to protect your finances when embarking on big financial decisions with a partner.

Deadline is again pretty tight. No more than a paragraph please.

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8 responses from the Newspage community

Star Quote
"It's not nice to consider the possibility of a relationship turning sour, especially when buying a property together, but unfortunately it does happen, so it's sensible to be prepared. There is no need to obtain separate legal representation from your conveyancer, but it is a good idea to do so. It will be an extra cost but it will give you peace of mind over what would happen to each individual's deposit contribution and any equity gained in the property if the worst case scenario were to play out."
"Love brings feelings of fuzziness and warmth that are hard to beat and no one wants to be the individual to potentially shatter this. However, buying a property with a partner brings with it financial risks and problems. For example, how much deposit is being provided by each party? Who has a stronger income profile? What happens if the love bubble bursts?" By taking some precautions before rushing to purchase couples can help protect themselves. Deeds of trust can be used to protect equity stakes and discussing the situation with a broker can help illustrate what each party is bringing to the table in terms of affordability for the mortgage.
"There are a lot of different things you can do to prepare when buying a house with a partner. It is always prudent to check your credit file to make sure there are no issues or nasty surprises that need resolving. We have seen an increase in clients who have missed payments since the pandemic. These can significantly reduce their mortgage options."
"Relationships and lovey-dovey emotions can make most people do things without thinking about the implications but when it comes to possibly the biggest purchase most people will ever make in their lives, going in with your eyes and ears wide open is a must. "Buying a property comes with financial risks, but when buying with a partner, it's essential to understand how each party can protect themselves, especially if one partner is putting in more deposit money than the other or if one partner's income profile is stronger than the other partner. "Have an open and honest conversation with your partner before committing to taking on a mortgage and also understand who is going to be responsible for what once you are in the home. "Deeds of trusts to protect equity stakes and looking at the types of ownership is also essential. For example, tenants in common is used where one partner is putting in more money to allocate shares fairly as always speaking to a professional about your options is essential."
The most important thing is to ensure you are sensible with your finances. Do not overspend, ensure you remain out of your overdraft and ensure any transactions on your bank statements are clear about what they are - we all have that friend who thinks its clever to transfer you money with a less than clever reference! Pay off any outstanding debts you may have, close old dormant bank accounts and credit cards as this will boost your credit rating and affordability. The more you can simply your finances, the easier your life will become. A joint bank account for your mortgage and bills is a very advisable thing to do, with each person contributing equally to this. If you are putting in different amounts for your deposit, there are very simple yet clever ways to protect your share of the deposit in the event you do not remain together. Any conveyancer or solicitor who handles property purchases can advise you on this during the house buying process. Hopefully this will not dampen the excitement of buying your first home together, but it is certainly prudent to protect your own interests if you are not married.
"The best way to protect your finances when purchasing with a partner is to open a joint bank account. Wait until after the mortgage has completed then open an account that all your house expenses go through. These may be the Direct Debits for the mortgage, gas, electricity etc, and perhaps even other household costs such as food. "The benefit of this is that each partner can contribute a proportion of their income into the account every month to make payments fair and to ensure budgeting is easier. Frequently, homebuyers lose track of their expenditure on their home."
"Before you even think about putting an offer in on a new home together, I would highly recommend getting comfortable talking about money with one another. Spend time with your partner reviewing what comes in every month and exactly what goes out. Be honest about the secret credit card you use for Christmas and birthdays, and if the engagement ring was bought on finance now is the time to admit it. "Lenders are not looking to catch you out, conversely if you tell them the truth on day one you stand a far better chance of acceptance than if you attempt to disguise your spending."
"Get rid of any debts you have. It's no use robbing Peter to pay Paul if you want to get onto the housing ladder. "Make sure you check your credit score and be sure to pay all your bills on time. You don't want your gym membership to compromise your chances of owning a home. "And finally, avoid betting and pay day loans on your bank balance. That's a sure fire way to delay buying a house."