What is the best way for an unmarried couple to purchase and hold ownership in a house?

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What is the best way for an unmarried couple to purchase and hold ownership in a house?

My boyfriend and I are purchasing a home. We are both 60 years old. I am not putting anything towards the down payment. I will contribute towards the bills. The deed will include both our names. I don’t think my boyfriend can qualify for this loan on his own. I will not own this house. I will be living in it with his 2 children, 9 and 11 years old. What happens if our relationship doesn’t work out? I would want to move out and buy a house on my own. I will have some money from the sale of my current home. If this should happen and I would want my name off the deed, how would I go about doing so?

Asked on December 3, 2010 under Real Estate Law, New Jersey

Answers:

M.T.G., Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 11 years ago | Contributor

While I do not want to discourage you from entering in to anything with your boyfriend, I have to say that you do not seem very optimistic as to the matter in the first place.  So I need to get this straight in my head:  you are not putting any money down on the house out of the sale of your house or otherwise.  You will merely be a renter of sorts paying bills.  You mention something about not being able to qualify for the mortgage alone.  Are you on the mortgage application and that is why you will be on the deed?  May I just say: don't do it.  Getting your name off a deed is not so difficult.  You execute a quitclaim deed to your boyfriend, file it and you are done.  But getting off the mortgage is not so easy.  He would have to refinance to get you off and he could be denied.  If he defaults after you leave then there goes your credit rating and the hopes of buying another house.  Think about this again.  And seek legal help.  If you insist you would hold the property as joint tenants or tenants in common.  Then there is the issue of rights of survivorship.  Get advice from someone local.  Good luck.


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