Thursday, January 16, 2014

Joint ownership of real estate by unmarried couples

According to a story in today's Globe, married couples account for 62% of all homes that are jointly owned.  Unmarried couples account for nearly 8% of jointly owned homes.  The Globe story mentions some considerations for unmarried homeowners prior to purchasing real estate.

One obvious decision mentioned briefly in the story is the form of joint ownership.  Unmarried couples may hold real estate as joint tenants (which provides a right of survivorship) or as tenants in common (which would have no right of survivorship). 

The story wisely recommends that the co-owners draft a contract that clearly defines in advance such matters as how much each person is to contribute to the purchase, the mortgage payments, property taxes and upkeep.  Another thing to address is how any equity in the home would be split should the place be sold.  As we approach tax time, another item would be who takes how much of the mortgage interest and property tax payments as income tax deductions.  The story covers much else and is worth reading.

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