Unmarried couples saying “I do” to home purchase reaches record high

Local News

(WKRN) — It’s an unconventional, but growing trend–unmarried couples saying ‘I do’ to their own home.

According to the National Association of Realtors, the percentage of first-time buyers purchasing as an unmarried couple is at a historic high of 17 percent.

It shows. Local realtor, Blake Propsts, sold to three unmarried couples within the last 365 days. He says millennials, specifically, are taking advantage of Nashville’s hot market now and waiting for marriage.

One of those couples is Mackenzie Cook and Jamison Merritt, who closed on their first home Valentine’s Day of this year.

“Rent in Nashville is going up crazy,” Cook said. “The mortgage for this is $140 more, which is something we could absolutely do.”

With rising rent and home prices, buying a house with someone else may seem like a smart financial decision. But before you make that jump together Propsts and RE/MAX Advantage are offering the following tips:

1.    Be open about your financial history. You can have a long relationship without really knowing a lot about a person’s financial history. It is imperative to be honest about any credit challenges in your past, student loan debt, salary, savings or anything that could impact your ability to qualify for a loan.

2.    Meet with your Realtor together. While one party in the transaction may be the natural person to serve as the lead contact or most comfortable discussing housing, both parties need to hear how the process works, ask questions and work with their Realtor together. Your Realtor will explain market conditions and timelines, and both parties need to hear this personally.

3.    Create a “must-have” list. You love your significant other, but you may not love the same things in the home. Each individual should create a list of what they desire in a home. This can include everything from the style of home to the location to features they want the home to have.

4.    Create a “don’t want” list. As much as you know what you want in a home, get clear about what you don’t want. Don’t want a house on a corner, don’t want a bi-level home or a home that backs to a busy street? Put it on the list.

5.    Understand you have options. If one party has poor credit or another challenge to getting approved, it is possible for one party to secure the mortgage, but both be listed on the deed. Consult an attorney to determine what options work best for you. If you are buying as an unmarried couple you can buy the house in one person’s name or can be joint tenants or tenants in common, but it is important to get a prenup to protect all parties if the relationship doesn’t last.

6.    Be patient.  Buying a home is a process and when you are blending two people and their wants and needs it may take a little time to find where you agree and find the right home.

​If the relationship turns sour, Propsts has some advice:

​”If you do have to sell, it’ll sell fast in a big market,” Propst said. “One of the people can keep the house they would have to refinance and put it in their name it would be like buying a house again, you’d have to get approved, interest rate, credit scores everything, debts.”

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