Considering buying property with your partner?

These days many couples are delaying a trip down the aisle to invest that money in their first property. Of course, making a joint commitment like a property purchase without the protection of marriage can be risky, so how do you tell if it’s a good idea for you, or if you’re letting yourself in for a world of trouble? Well here are 6 questions you need to ask yourself before you invest into a joint property venture with your partner.

  1. You’re already living together

This will be more difficult to agree with for traditional people but one of the best ways to see if you’re ready to own a property together with your partner, is to live together first.

As you never really know someone until you’ve seen them at their best and at their worst, and experienced all their little habits in full on a daily basis. Therefore If you buy a home together, you’re going to be constantly in each other’s space, so you need to be sure that you can deal with his snoring or the great clumps of her hair that seem to breed in the shower. If you’ve lived together happily for at least a year or two, you can be fairly confident that you’ll survive a more long-term commitment. If a weekend away leaves you ready to tear your hair out, however, you might want to give yourselves a little more time before buying property.

  1. You are 100% committed

Commitment comes in many forms, and while you certainly don’t need to be halfway down the aisle to buy a home with your partner, you do need to be secure in your future together. The responsibilities of homeownership are far more likely to widen existing cracks than to cover over them if you are doing this for the wrong reasons, as it is not an easy role if you are not 100% committed.  If things don’t work out, you can choose to sell but that generally results in a poor return on your investment.

Timing is important with property sales and selling within five years of purchase does tend to eat into any growth your investment has had. It’s far better not to commit to purchasing any property together if your relationship is not stable.

  1. You both have a stable income

One of the main reasons couples buy property together is to take advantage of having two sources of income, twice the affordability with half the risk. This is only true if both partners have a stable source of income. It’s very important to have career stability when taking on a big financial commitment like a property purchase. As a couple, you may have a little bit more room if something goes wrong, but it’s unlikely that one party will be able to shoulder the full monthly bond repayments for long.

It’s far better to wait until you’re both confident that your careers are on a positive trajectory before signing up for a joint financial commitment that could limit your financial and professional flexibility.

  1. You want the same thing

Compromise is healthy, but there’s only so much compromise you can do and still keep everyone happy. If you can’t decide on man cave or a craft room, suburb or city, apartment or house then you both need to think twice about making a joint purchase.

It is advisable for couples to draw up separate ‘must-have’ and ‘nice-to-have’ lists that detail exactly what they hope to find in a property because if your lists are totally different, you may need to take some time to consider whether you’re on the same page for your planned future. As a couple you will also need to talk about responsibilities like who will take care of the pool or maintain the garden. You might both love the idea of a clean lawn, but if neither of you is willing to mow it, it could become a sore point in your relationship and will be especially be bad for your investment.

  1. You stick together under pressure

 Homeownership has its fair share of benefits and securities, but it also comes with challenges which have a habit of showing up at the worst of times. Rising interest rates, unexpected maintenance issues, security scares or even décor disasters can all put a strain on a relationship.

You definitely need to be able to work as a team and support each other during crises if you’re going to be successful co-owners. If you crumble under pressure, or play the blame game when you’re stressed, your relationship is going to suffer and that could put your investment at risk.

  1. You don’t let romance cloud your judgment

We all want our own version of “happily ever after”, but smart couples realise that life has no guarantees. No matter how strong and wonderful your relationship is today, you need to protect yourself against the possibility that it might not always be that way.

Nobody likes to plan for worst case scenarios, but it’s always better to be safe than sorry.

It’s a simple process to get your conveyancing attorney to draw up a contract that outlines each person’s contributions to the investment and ensures a fair division of the asset if the relationship ends. It might not be romantic, but it is the responsible thing to do, and it’s a good way to make sure your decisions are being made with your head and not your heart.

By: Randles Attorneys

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