Nine Tips For Buying a Home With a Partner

Buying a home with your partner (or someone else) can be a huge help to get on the property ladder.

If you’re not married and buying a property with your partner it can be tricky if things don’t work out. Luckily, some simple planning can protect you both financially if you go your separate ways. Here are 9 tips to help you...

  1. Identify priorities. What are you both looking for in a property? Buying together means compromises are inevitable, so agree on your priorities and be open to some give and take.
  2. Agree a type of ownership. Discuss how you’ll share your ownership - there are two options: Joint tenants or tenants in common. As joint tenants you would have equal rights to the whole property and if you die the property automatically goes to the other owner. As tenants in common you can own different shares of the property. If you die you can choose who your share goes to.
  3. Check your credit report. As soon as you decide to buy both of you should check your Experian Credit Reports to see if they paint the best possible picture of you, or if there is room for improvement before you make your mortgage application. The better your credit rating, the better your chances of securing a mortgage at the best rates. Lenders will also look at information in your application form, such as your salary, employment details and any dealings you may have previously had with them.
  4. Calculate the true cost of buying. Aside from the initial cost, buying a home comes with many additional fees. These can include mortgage arrangement fee, legal/conveyancing fees, surveys, valuation fees, removal costs, stamp duty, potential repairs and furniture/extras.
  5. Seek financial help. From autumn 2015 first-time buyers can get up to £3,000 from the government through a Help to Buy ISA. By saving £200 each month, the government will add 25%, You can also save an extra £1,200 when you first open it. More information here
  6. Apply for a joint mortgage. When applying for a joint mortgage remember that your credit reports will become linked. Therefore when you apply for credit in the future lenders can see who you’re linked to and may also take their credit report into account.
  7. Make an exit plan. If your partner decides to move out or sell, but you don’t agree then problems could occur. Solutions include: mediation, selling the home, buying them out of their share, going to court to settle the dispute.
  8. Draw up a living together agreement. This records what each person will contribute to the household. Once drawn up by a solicitor and independently witnessed, it will be legally binding. It should cover personal finances, children, property details, endowment policies, ownership of personal possessions and contents, pensions, savings, transitional arrangements or ending the agreement, household expenses and debts.
  9. Make a will. If a joint tenant dies their share passes to the other owner. However, if you’re unmarried tenants in common you’ll need to draw up a will. Otherwise your share would go to your next of kin - meaning your partner might have to leave your home. 

Buying a property together can be a daunting process. But, with a little research and preparation, you can take the plunge with peace of mind.