Safe as Houses
BY Advocate Contributors
March 10 2011 5:00 AM ET
The thought of jumping into homeownership today can be daunting, and with so much uncertainty about the current legal policies and specific rights, gay couples must make different considerations. A few simple steps (using Warren and Brian as examples) can ease some anxiety.
Divvy Up the Down Payment
Warren may make more money than Brian. If the down payment and closing costs total $65,000, and Warren puts up $50,000 and Brain kicks in the remaining $15,000, that’s OK. It doesn’t have to be equal amounts, because you are now going to begin keeping a running total of the money that each person kicks in from the day of your purchase — and that running total will help you decide each person’s share of the proceeds, should you sell or part ways.
Get the Mortgage With One or Both
While it’s great to have both of you share the responsibility of the mortgage, will the combination of both your financial pictures help or hurt the possibility of getting the loan? If Warren’s got great credit, but Brian has maxed out all his cards, then Warren may have to fly solo on the mortgage.
“Joint” at the Hip
How you “take title” is actually just the manner in which you determine the person, people, or entity that will legally own the house. I usually recommend you take title under both your names in joint tenancy. This allows you and your partner to hold title with equal rights, and if one of you dies, the other is granted ownership of the house. That way you won’t have to fight for it with your partner’s suddenly reappearing long-lost brother Barry. However you take title, find a lawyer, and put it in writing.
Get it Up Front or Dump Him
If you’re not able to have these discussions with each other and aren’t adult enough to draw up an agreement before you buy, then rethink building a nest with this guy or gal.