real estate

Buying a home when you're not married

Bankrate Audio » Buying A Home When Not Married

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You're unmarried and in love -- with each other and your dream home.

Before you jump into homeownership with your partner, you need financial protection. I'm Janet Stauble with your Bankrate.com Personal Finance Minute.

Tackle the most obvious what-if: What happens if you break up? Get a homebuying prenup, or partnership agreement, in writing, so any disputes can be resolved without litigation. It should spell out who pays for what.

Also consider what happens if one partner becomes unemployed, dies or goes bankrupt.

If the deed is in both names, the mortgage should be, too. You don't want two people with an asset and only one bearing the liability. You can hold a title as joint tenants, where the home is owned equally, or as tenants in common, with each owing a percentage of the home. Track all home expenses. An agreement is useless if you can't prove what you've paid for. And it never hurts to consult an attorney.

Want to learn more? Log onto Bankrate.com. I'm Janet Stauble.

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